Erasmus + and its successor programme
An “Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Albania on the participation of the Republic of Albania in "Erasmus+": the Union programme for education, training, youth and sport” has been signed in 29 June 2014. So Albania has been entitled from January 2014 to participate in some centralized actions such as Capacity building projects or Ex Tempus projects, Jean Monnet, some Credit and Programme mobility actions and in some networks such Europass, EQF, Euroguidance, Eurydice, E-twinning.
Moreover, the National Tempus Office was transformed into National Erasmus+ Office (NEO) as requested by the Directive EAC/Dir C/D(2014) of DG Education and Culture (European Commission) and as established by the Decree of Council of Ministers no 821, 26 November 2014 „On some amendments and addenda of Decree no. 639, date 7.9.2011, of council of ministers, “On reorganization of National Tempus Office.”
The National Erasmus+ Office has covered all supporting and promotion activities related to the new Erasmus+ Calls for proposals in Higher education open Partner countries. Currently Albania is negotiating with the EU regarding the accession fo post 2020 Erasmus Programme.
Erasmus Plus University Cooperation
Cooperation in student and teacher mobility and project activities with Member States of the European Union are carried out within the framework of the Erasmus Plus Programme. The higher education institutions receive students based on bilateral agreements.
Higher education institutions in Albania have been participating in many Erasmus Mundus projects, especially in that part of the programme which supported the academic cooperation and exchanges of students and academics through the establishment of exchange networks between higher education institutions from the Western Balkans and the EU. The Erasmus Mundus partnerships have had a systemic impact on international cooperation of Albanian universities.
The most active HEIs involved in Erasmus Mundus action 2 partnerships are the University of Tirana, Agricultural University of Tirana, Polytechnic University of Tirana, University “Aleksander Moisiu” of Durres, University “Aleksander Xhuvani” of Elbasan, University “Fan Noli” of Korça, University “Luigj Gurakuqi” of Shkodra, University “Eqerem Çabej” of Gjirokastra, University “Ismail Qemali” of Gjirokastra and European University of Tirana. Seven university exchange networks have been funded (some of them are still running): BASILUES, JoinEU-SEE, SIGMA, ERAWEB, EUROWEB, TECH-WB and SUNBEAM.
From 2014, there are two new partnerships (exchange networks) with the participation of institutions from Albania: TECH-WB and SUNBEAM, while two previously existing networks, SIGMA A and EUROWEB, acquired funding for an additional period. During the last years, around 268 Albanian students have benefited from mobility exchanges in the framework of the above-mentioned programmes, at Bachelor and PHD level and around 80 academic and administrative staff have benefited from mobility for training purposes.
In addition, during the past ten years, more than 140 students from Albania were awarded scholarships to attend Erasmus Mundus Joint Master and PhD courses at prestigious EU universities.
CEEPUS Student Mobility Programme
The CEEPUS Programme (Central European Exchange Programme for University Studies) aims to enable higher education institutions (universities, colleges) of member countries to receive visiting professors, to exchange students, to organise language and professional courses, summer universities thus strengthening professional and personal relationships among Central European scholars empowering and developing Central Europe. The programme is based on the cooperation of higher education institutions in the member countries. The costs of the CEEPUS programme are paid by the governments of the host countries by covering the costs of living and the grants of CEEPUS grant holders. Within the framework of the programme, all members define quotas (scholarship months) in every academic year; that is, they declare the number of months for which they host foreign students and teachers.
Within CEEPUS programme Albania has at its disposal 130 months of mobility for students and teachers.
Central European Initiative
The Central European Initiative (CEI) is the oldest and largest intergovernmental forum for regional cooperation in Europe, with an observer status in the General Assembly of the United Nations. The initiative gathers 18 member states.
The CEI University Network (CEI UniNet) is a contribution of the CEI to higher education in order to enhance cooperation among universities and other institutions of higher learning in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe. This is done through the mobility of students and teaching staff at post – graduate level. Mobility is promoted through the implementation of Joint Programmes such as PhD and Master's courses, financed through annual calls for proposals. Summer schools, Seminars and Workshops are also supported provided that they envisage a teaching element, a minimum duration of one week and an awarding certificate.
Academic Staff Mobility
Within the framework of the Erasmus Plus Agreements for International Credit Mobility approved in the first and second rounds of the 2015 call, students and the staff of Albanian universities have continued the implementation of short term Exchange projects for study purposes (from 3 to 12 months) and teaching or training exchanges (5 days to a month) at EU universities.
Other Teacher Mobility Pogrammes
Numerous teacher or researcher mobility programmes are provided internationally by universities or private foundations. These include for example, the Fulbright, Soros scholarships as well as programmes for visiting fellows based on agreements between universities. The Jean Monnet Programme of the Community programmes supports the mobility of excellent university professors in the topic of finances and economics. As already mentioned, the CEI University Network also provides opportunities for the mobility of teaching staff.