SOCRATES Programme

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1994, when first phase adopted by Council of the European Union. Second phase adopted in 2000, by Council of the European Union and European Parliament (EP). Administered by European Commission (EC). Many elements of the previous programmes Community Programme in Education and Training for Technology (COMETT), European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students (ERASMUS) and LINGUA are included in Socrates activities, 'ERASMUS' and 'LINGUA' under their original acronyms. Ceased to exist 2006, when replaced by Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP).


Promote a Europe of knowledge through developing the European dimension in education and promoting lifelong learning based on formal and informal education and training; support the building up of knowledge, skills and competence likely to foster active citizenship and employability. While fully respecting responsibilities of member states, contribute to developing quality education by: strengthening the European dimension of education at all levels and facilitating wide transnational access to educational resources; promoting equal opportunities throughout all educational fields; promoting quantitative and qualitative improvement in the knowledge of languages in the European Union, particularly those languages less widely used and taught, so as to lead to greater understanding among peoples of the EU; promoting the intercultural dimension of education; promoting cooperation and mobility in the field of education, in particular through encouraging exchanges among educational institutions, promoting open and distance learning, encouraging improvement in recognition of diplomas and periods of study, developing exchange of information and helping to remove obstacles in this regard; encouraging innovation in development of educational practices and materials including, where appropriate, use of new technology; exploring matters of common policy interest in the field.

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Action 1: Comenius - /School Education/ - Encourages transnational cooperation among schools; contributes to professional development of staff directly involved in the sector; promotes language learning and intercultural awareness, through:

 • Multilateral school partnerships which may also involve teacher training establishments, local institutions and authorities, businesses or cultural establishments and parents', pupils'and other relevant organizations;

 • Multilateral projects in initial and in-service training of staff;

 • Networks related to school partnerships and staff training.

Action 2: Erasmus - /Higher Education/ - Encourages transnational cooperation among universities, boosts mobility in the sector and seeks to improve transparency and academic recognition of studies and qualifications. Participating universities conclude 'institutional contracts' with the Commission covering all approved Erasmus activities:

 • European inter-university cooperation, including development of innovative projects (organisation of mobility, development of joint curricula, development of intensive programmes, extension of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), to facilitate academic recognition);

 • Mobility of students and university teachers;

 • Thematic networks enabling groups of universities (together with learned societies, professional associations and socio-economic circles) to cooperate on topics related to one or more disciplines so as to disseminate innovation, facilitate spread of good practice, encourage discussion of qualitative and innovative aspects of higher education, improve teaching methods and stimulate development of joint programmes and specialized courses and courses. These include: ESSENCE Thematic Network of Environmental Sciences; European Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Education Network (EC2E2N); European Civil Engineering Education and Training (EUCEET); Thematic Network on Teacher Education in Europe (TNTEE).

Action 3: Grundtvig - /Adult Education and Other Educational Pathways/ - Through enhanced transnational cooperation, encourages the European dimension of life long learning, contributes to innovation and improved availability, accessibility and quality of other educational pathways and promotes learning of languages so as to increase intercultural awareness, employability and capacity to progress in education of people at any stage of life through formal or non-formal education or autonomous learning.

Action 4: Lingua - /Teaching and Learning of Languages/ - Supports transversal measures which promote and maintain linguistic diversity within the Community, improve the quality of language teaching and learning and facilitate access to lifelong language learning opportunities tailored to individual requirements.

Action 5: Minerva - / Open and Distance Learning, Information and Communication Technologies in the field of education/ - Supports transversal measures relating to open and distance learning (ODL) and the use of information and communication technology (ICT), including multimedia.

Action 6: /Observation and Innovation/ - Contributes to improving quality and transparency of education systems and furthering educational innovation in Europe through exchange of information and experience, identification of good practice, comparative analysis of systems and policies and discussion of matters of common educational policy interest. Supports innovatory initiatives responding to emerging needs.

Action 7: /Joint Actions/. With other Community programmes, in particular the Leonardo da Vinci and Youth programmes.

Action 8: /Accompanying Measures/. Actions which are part of the Programme within Action 6 -

 • Information Network on Education in Europe (EURYDICE);

 • National Academic Recognition Information Centres (NARIC);


Instrumental in setting up:

 • Heads of University Management and Administration Network in Europe (HUMANE).


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Members in 31 countries
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Type I Classification

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Type II Classification

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Subjects *

  • Education
    • Education
    • Further Education
    • Distance Education

UN Sustainable Development Goals **

GOAL 4: Quality Education



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* Subject classification is derived from the organization names and aims.
** UN SDGs are linked to the subject classification.

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