Lesotho commemorated the 35th anniversary of the European Union (EU) Erasmus programme at the event held in Maseru on Wednesday.

Erasmus is the European Union’s programme for education, training, youth and sport for 2021-2027 and funds scholarships for students and academics from all over the world to study and teach in 27 European countries.

Speaking at the event, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Mr. Tšeliso Kalake said Basotho youth are faced with a myriad of challenges as they navigate life especially post COVID-19 pandemic.

He said their studies were interrupted, study opportunities especially abroad were not possible to access and job opportunities were dwindled, saying the Erasmus programme is worth celebrating.

He said education is a tool that increases knowledge, enlightens and provides skills that produce well-rounded individuals that are able to positively continue the growth and improvement of the society and its livelihood.

“It is through the assistance of friends like EU that we are able to provide this much-needed education to our youth,” he said.

He, therefore, emphasized the need for the country to ensure that more Basotho students get access to the Erasmus programme by supporting them during their application process as some of Basotho do not have access to devices that are used to apply.

Speaking at the same event, EU Ambassador to Lesotho Ms. Paola Amadei said Erasmus remains one of the EU’s most popular programmes that supports education, training, youth and sport in 27 member states of the EU.

She said the programme allows students and other beneficiaries, notably professors and staff of higher education institutions to further their education and expertise as well as to appreciate the diversity of the EU, establish useful contacts for their future careers or learn new languages.

She added that the programme offers the opportunity for higher education institutions to send their students and staff to Europe to teach, train or study at participating institutions, saying Universities in Lesotho can, in turn, host incoming European students and staff from abroad, adding that even individual Basotho students can directly apply to Erasmus Mundus Master Programmes.

In another issue, Ms. Amadei said the Russian invasion of Ukraine comes at a time when the world was managing to reign in the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the new challenges are more dramatic and sadly man-made.

She, therefore, emphasized the need for youth education, promoting international exchanges and partnership as the involvement of young people and a robust academic community will be crucial in the process of rebuilding after the war, saying they are determined to support students, teachers and educators in these challenging times.

Meanwhile, May is Europe month and Erasmus programme commemoration formed part of activities aimed at commemorating Europe month including Europe day which is commemorated annually on May 09.

Source: LENA 10/05/2022


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