The National Agency for Community Programs in the Field of Education and Vocational Training (ANPCDEFP) leads Romania’s efforts in improving education, training and youth sectors through EU funded projects. Formed in 2005 through the combination of two previous agencies, ANPCDEFP was mandated by the European Commission to manage EU-funded programmes geared to education, training, lifelong learning and youth for the period 2007 to 2013. Since 2014, ANPCDEFP has been managing the ambitious EU Erasmus Plus programme in Romania. Monica Calota, Director, discusses Erasmus Plus and the agency’s activities.
European Times: What is Erasmus Plus?
Monica Calota: The Erasmus Plus programme combines the EU’s “Lifelong Learning” and “Youth in Action” initiatives into one programme focusing on education, training and youth. We launched the program in Romania in 2014 and the current period runs to 2020. When I evaluate Erasmus Plus after more than two years of activity here in Romania, I think that the main results that make us proud are the organisational changes we have made and the high EU-funds absorption rate we have achieved; the rate is an impressive 98.5%. Erasmus Plus is a user-friendly, flexible program and we strictly apply the rules of the European Commission while also making things as simple as possible for the program’s beneficiaries.
European Times: What do governments need to do to help support programs like Erasmus Plus?
Monica Calota: Decision-makers and policy-developers should look carefully at the results of programs to determine which ones achieve the best results so that they can design policies that will support these best practices in the future. Education administrators and inspectors should avoid creating unnecessary barriers to innovative programs and should support their own teams of educators, who are working hard to implement new projects.
European Times: What is your personal message to young people who could benefit from Erasmus Plus in Romania?
Monica Calota: My message to potential beneficiaries is to come to ANPCDEFP and let us help you. Our mission is to transform Romania through learning. To universities abroad, my message is that they should send their students to Romania, because students will discover a beautiful country with a strong academic system. I urge university administrators here in Romania to find ways to take advantage of all the opportunities Erasmus Plus offers.