Without a doubt, Indian students seem to have become the flag bearer of Erasmus scholarship! Tomasz Kozlowski, the ambassador of European Union on the auspicious day of Erasmus’s 30-year anniversary on 23rd August 2017 in New Delhi, declared “Europe was an excellent destination for international students. Indian students are the largest recipients of scholarships for higher education through European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students (Erasmus).”
The Erasmus Program is a European Union student exchange program established in the year 1987. Erasmus+ or Erasmus Plus is the new program combining all the EU’s current schemes for education, training etc. There were only 3,200 students admitted in the first year of Erasmus. Ever since then, the program has developed into an important scholarship program, offering over 3 lakh scholarships to students per year. Presently, there are about 33 countries involved in the program.
For the past 13 years, 5,300 Indian students have been honoured with Erasmus+ Masters or Erasmus Mundus scholarships. During the last year, around 62 Indian students received their approved scholarships for doctoral and masters degrees. This placed India on the second rank among other Erasmus beneficiaries; very much close to Brazil which received 79 scholarships in the same duration.
In the present year, the Indian students grabbing the scholarship rose by 20% to 74, showing ‘25 percent of the overall mobility flows selected for funding from 2008 to 2012 in Asia‘.
A statement issued by the Delegation of EU to India said, “With over 5,300 students from all parts of India having received Erasmus Mundus or Erasmus+ Masters scholarships between 2004 and 2017, India is the overall single largest beneficiary of the program.”
The female participation ratio was 33% in the years from 2008 to 2012 which now has increased to 43% in the present year. The statement from EU Delegation further reported that 90% of Indian beneficiaries have returned. Considering the subject-wise distribution of scholarships, Engineering accounts for 25% of the scholarships, while around 13% students pursued natural sciences and 10% pursued business, economics and management.
As informed by the Union Ambassador, “Since 2004, Erasmus was thrown open to third countries. Indian students have been the number one beneficiaries of this scholarship. Europe offers high-quality education in a broad range of courses as well as there is an additional benefit of its closeness to Asia and wealth of campus life.”
One of EU’s major aim is to improve higher education, training, youth and sport by the year 2020. It has a budget of €14.7B with an additional €1.68B reserved for third country beneficiaries. Since India is a partner country of the Erasmus+ program, it assures that most of the awards, particularly in the fields of higher education, will be available for Indian students and Indian Higher Education Institutions.
Note- The upcoming applications for the next selection will be available from October 2017 to January 2018.