It seems to me that competition within the Erasmus + program of the EU becomes tougher year by year. Many of those who had been involved in the previous Comenius program shook their heads when Erasmus+ Key Action 1 was launched in 2014. Before Erasmus+ the EU courses had been regulated. Licenses were allowed to those course providers who had merited in EU activities.Suddenly there was a full liberalisation. The market of course providing was freed from all restrictions. The course providing was opened to practically anybody without any preconditions, quality control or selection.
Some results can be seen after three years of Erasmus+ KA1. There has been an explosion of offer for courses, whose number has multiplied in School Education Gateway SEG, the official online platform for KA1 courses. The latest number I heard was 6000.
The more items, the better situation for the customer. This is how the ancient market logic said. But, seeing the matter from the view of a school, is 6000 courses really more favorable than for example 4000 courses? How can a school be sure they will find just the right course among the big number of courses? Is it so that more and more courses bring me better and better quality? Or, to ask an even more fundamental question: how do course providers know what the situation of my school really is? Are they capable to tailor courses just to my need?
The titles and descriptions in SEG don’t indicate much about the reality of the courses. My opinion is that among the multitude of courses there are ambitious and great courses, but also a big amount of bulk. Schools applying for Erasmus+ KA1 courses need to be careful if they want to find proper courses for their purposes.
There are no convincing methods to evaluate courses on the SEG platform, actually. It’s not a big challenge for a course provider to manipulate the assessments. And if the reputation of the courses risks to be too notorious, the provider can simply stop the old one and start a fresh one with a different name.
The whole conceipt and the program can be copied from some other course, from the original one, or from some other which was also copied and so on. A copied course can hardly be any ‘matter of heart’ to any course provider. How much ambition and professional pride can there be in a course that is fake?
I represent the Finnish course provider Euneos Corp., which organises EU courses since 2006. Ludo Mateusen, a well-known expert of European educational programs designed and started to run one of our most favoured courses “How to make your school more international” . It happened in 2014, at a time when Erasmus+ program was launched.
Later, when I checked courses offered on the SEG platform, I wondered why Ludo had changed the title into “Let’s make your school more international”. Soon I noticed that it was not Euneos’ course at all, but somebody else had published a course with the same name, except for the first word.
What a coincidence 😉