The launch of ´eTwinning Plus´ will enable these countries to join a massive virtual classroom in which pupils and teachers can learn more about their counterparts and take part in interactive projects focused on language learning or maths, for instance. It is also an opportunity for youngsters to discover different cultures and traditions– as well as to find out what they have in common.
eTwinning Plus is a pilot project initiated as part as the EU´s Neighbourhood policy, under the ´Contacts between people´ Eastern Partnership platform which aims to enhance dialogue with Eastern partners. The Commission plans to gradually roll out the scheme to Southern neighbourhood countries, starting with Tunisia. To start with, the eTwinning Plus platform will use English and Russian as its main languages, with French and Arabic to follow at a later stage. As well as serving as a meeting point for pupils and teachers to share ideas, it will also enable schools to find partners for joint projects.
To help establish the network, a partner support agency has been set up in each of the neighbouring countries involved. These organisations will promote eTwinning Plus at the national level, ensure it meets the needs of schools and organise training sessions for teachers. They will select participating schools on the basis of their computer equipment and knowledge of languages. They will ensure that rural and urban schools, as well as children from different socio-economic backgrounds, are involved.
The budget for eTwinning Plus is € 834 000: around half of this sum will be invested in developing the new online platform and coordination work, with the remainder allocated to co-funding the partner support agencies. The allocation by country is as follows: Armenia € 64 000, Azerbaijan € 80 000, Georgia € 64 000, Moldova € 80 000 and Ukraine € 96 000.