Erasmus+ Teacher Academies building the future of teacher education in Europe
The European Commission granted a total of 22.5 million euros in funding to the 16 new Erasmus+ Teacher Academies for a three-year project period. The maximum grant per project was 1.5 million euros.
The selected Teacher Academies represent a total of 313 organisations (including 136 non-funded associated partners) from 30 EU Member States and third countries associated to the Erasmus+ programme.
Among the funded organisations are six Finnish organisations, which are participating as partners in four different projects. These projects are coordinated by higher education institutions from Austria, Germany, Denmark and Estonia. One of the projects has particularly strong Finnish representation with three Finnish organisations among its partners.
The total amount of project funding granted to the six Finnish organisations is approximately 935,000 euros.
Funding and applications increased over the course of the two calls
Two calls for proposals have so far been organised under the Erasmus+ Teacher Academies action, with the more recent 2022 call having ended on 7 September 2022.
The 2022 call for proposals resulted in some fierce competition, with the total number of applications submitted being 105. This was nearly double the number of applications submitted under the 2021 call.
The acceptance rate of the applications was 14% (2022), slightly lower than in the previous year (2021), when it was 20%.
Besides the number of applications, the amount of funding available also increased significantly, from 15 million euros (2021) to 22.5 million euros (2022).
This increase was driven by the European Commission's target of creating 25 Erasmus+ Teacher Academies by 2025. This target was achieved in record time, as following the two calls organised in 2021 and 2022, the total number of Erasmus+ Teacher Academies is now 27.
Finnish organisations participating in one in four Teacher Academies
Finnish organisations have assumed an active role in Erasmus+ Teacher Academies, participating in a quarter of the 27 Teacher Academies created so far.
Under the two calls, funding has been granted to eight Finnish organisations: Tampere University of Applied Sciences, the University of Helsinki, the University of Oulu, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, the University of Jyväskylä, the City of Kokkola, Avoin yhteiskunta ry and the University of Eastern Finland.
These Finnish organisations are involved in the Teacher Academies primarily as partners. One organisation, Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK), is serving as the coordinator of a Teacher Academy project.
TAMK: “Reaching mutual understanding in an international project requires a calm yet firm approach”
The Academy for Sustainable Future Educators (EduSTA) project coordinated by Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) was funded under the 2021 call for proposals and officially launched in summer 2022. The project is aimed at strengthening the sustainability competences of vocational teachers.
The first year of the project has been a fruitful learning process for project coordinators Eveliina Asikainen and Ella Kallio.
“Reaching mutual understanding in an international project requires a calm yet firm approach. You need to patiently make sure that everyone is aiming for the same things, after which you also have to make sure that you are all working on the same things,” they reflect.
The special characteristics of cross-border cooperation have also become apparent in the scheduling of the project, which has required flexibility and precise planning.
“Finns and Europeans have different notions about the summer holiday season. The project started in June, which was perhaps a bit odd [from a Finnish perspective]. We had only just gotten to work before the summer holiday season was upon us. On the other hand, we were able to get the ball rolling again quite smoothly in the autumn.”
According to Asikainen and Kallio, coordinating the project has required a great deal of foresight, but so far they have not run into many surprises that would have forced them to re-think their original plans. One positive issue has been the overwhelming need for communication resources.
“The theme of the project has proven to be important and interesting at both the European and global level, so communicating about the project has taken up a lot more resources than originally expected. That being said, we are of course pleased that the project can already be said to be making an international impact.”
Asikainen and Kallio’s resolve to keep pushing forward is strengthened by the fact that the project is progressing despite occasional setbacks.
“We consider it an achievement that the project is making progress towards its goal mostly on schedule despite the fact that nearly all of our project partners have faced unexpected difficulties that we as project coordinators have been unable to help with.”
When asked to summarise their experiences working on the project so far, Asikainen and Kallio emphasise the building of strong cooperation as their greatest achievement.
“In short, our greatest achievement so far has been the successful networking at the European and global level. The EduSTA project has opened doors to panel discussions focusing on climate education and offered us membership in a European Commission working group that promotes sustainable and responsible digital education in the EU.”
The remaining two years of the project look promising, and Asikainen and Kallio are eager to continue developing cooperation relations and expanding the impact of the project.
Next application round possibly coming in 2024
In 2023, no application round was organised under the Erasmus+ Teacher Academies action.
The action is managed by the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA, Brussels). Further information on the potential next application round will be provided this autumn when the 2024 call for proposals is published.
Between application rounds, organisations interested in the action can familiarise themselves with the Erasmus+ Programme Guide and current Teacher Academies projects, as well as gather enthusiasm to develop ideas further.
Follow the Finnish National Agency for Education’s international program mailing lists to get up-to-date information about application rounds!