The Erasmus Programme was created in 1987 as a large-scale European student exchange program. Although its scope and objectives broadened through the years, the main idea remains the same: to develop international cooperation between universities. Name ‘Erasmus’ refers to the one of the Dutch philosopher, theologian and humanist, Erasmus from Rotterdam (1466-1536). It is not without a reason. Erasmus, and other prominent people of the Renaissance, was educated in many academic centers in different European countries, and his idea about education was deeply permeated with deep humanism. From the 90’ the program included other forms of cooperation among universities from different countries in Europe and quickly became the largest and best-known community program for European universities and higher education institutes. In 1995 program was included into ‘Socrates’ - the European Cooperation on the field of education, which ended in the academic year 2006/07. Nowadays Erasmus enter a new phase as part of a new complex program of the European Union "Whole life learning". In the first year of its existence 3,244 of European students participate in Erasmus Programme. Currently, each year there are more than 150 thousand of scholars.
Poland participates in Erasmus since 1998. Until 2005/06 more than 42 thousand students from our country participate in program, and our universities welcomed over 7.5 thousand of foreign scholars. There have been over 7.4 thousand trips of Polish teachers and more than 4.5 thousand arrivals of foreign teachers who conducted classes in the host universities. In the academic year 2006/07 over 200 of our universities participated in program.
The Erasmus+ program came into life on 1st January 2014 and replaced the existing programs: "Learning for life" (and its sectoral programs - Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Comenius and Grundtvig), the action Jean Monnet, the "Youth in Action" and five other programs (such as Erasmus Mundus and Tempus).
For the first time in the history of educational programs of the European Union there will be support for sports related initiatives. The implementation of the program is planned for seven years, ie until 2020.
Countries participating in the Erasmus Programme:
27 countries of the European Union;
3 European Economic Area countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway;
2 candidate countries: Turkey and Croatia.
To participate in the Erasmus program universities are obligated to own the Erasmus University Charter awarded by the European Commission. This is a kind of certificate, which allows universities to apply for funding for specific actions included in the program. Higher education institution which wish to take part in Erasmus Program in the coming years are required to submit an application for the Erasmus University Charter to the European Commission. The Charter is conferred for a long-tem period.