Selected for 63 scholarships from among nearly 24,000 applicants, Indian students were the second largest beneficiaries after Brazil of the European Union (EU) funded Erasmus Mundus scholarship programme. They will be studying for joint masters degrees in Europe and will have all costs of study covered for about two years. About 1,345 students from all over the world have been awarded the scholarships in 2017.
Erasmus Mundus started as a mobility scheme for higher education in 1987 with just 3,200 students in the first year. It now benefits 300,000 students per year.
An EU report released recently said the 2017 awardees were selected from nearly 24,000 applicants. EU students and others from five countries that have signed up and pay to take part in the Erasmus programme will get 25% of the scholarship. The remaining 75% will go to students in partner countries. Scholars from over 120 countries will benefit from the EU-funded scholarships.
Brazil leads the sending countries with 79 scholarships, followed by India (63), Iran (59), Bangladesh (58) and Mexico (49). The US, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Philippines and Ukraine also figure prominently in the list.
Currently, there are 100 Erasmus Mundus joint masters degree programmes on offer, involving 513 institutions. Each programme is offered by a consortium of at least three higher education institutions.
The programme provides opportunities for study periods and traineeships or apprenticeships for both higher education and vocational education and training, youth exchanges, volunteering and staff exchanges in all fields of education, training, youth and sport.
Around 5,000 Indian students from all parts of India have been recipients of the Erasmus Mundus Masters scholarships between 2004 and 2016, making India the single largest beneficiary of the programme.
About 40 new Masters programmes will be added to the Erasmus Mundus programme this summer. Existing offers include a wide range of subjects, including astrophysics , economics, nanotechnology and business.
The application period for the next selection round will run from October 2017 to January 2018.
There are about 33 countries currently participating in the programme. These include all the 28 EU member states as well as Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
One of EU’s main programmes supporting higher education, training, youth and sport up to 2020 is the Erasmus+ . It has a budget of €14.7 billion with an additional €1.68 billion reserved for third country beneficiaries via the EU’s external action budget. India is a partner country of the Erasmus+ programme, which means that most awards, particularly in the fields of higher education, are open to India, Indian students and Indian higher education Institutions.