On Wednesday, September 20, in Warsaw, education ministers and ambassadors from 15 countries signed an agreement to extend the Central European Exchange Program for University Studies (CEEPUS) for another seven years, covering 2025 to 2032.
The CEEPUS program, in operation since 1995, promotes academic exchanges among its member nations, helping students, researchers, and faculty foster collaborative research and experience diverse teaching environments. Over 30,000 Polish students and scientists have benefitted from the program to date. The current member countries of CEEPUS are: Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Czech Republic, North Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, and Hungary.
Poland's Minister of Education and Science, Przemysław Czarnek, emphasized the program's importance during a post-signature press conference, remarking, “CEEPUS is the second-largest academic exchange program in Poland, after the Erasmus program. Having been among its founding members 30 years ago, Poland has steadily become one of its leaders, if not the leader in recent years.”
Minister Czarnek also highlighted Poland's continued commitment to support Ukrainian scholars and students. Notably, of the 34,000 Ukrainian students and academics currently in Poland, over 20,000 have arrived since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
Czarnek revealed plans to expand CEEPUS, stating, "We have decided to propose extending our CEEPUS organization to the three Baltic countries: Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. While they aren't members now, we hope that after high-level discussions, their citizens too can benefit from CEEPUS in the near future."
Hungary's Minister of Culture and Innovation, János Csák, harked back to the program's origin in 1993, noting that with the fall of communism, Central and Eastern European nations sought ways to better understand and learn from one another. Csák asserted that the CEEPUS program has been a success.
Eligible applicants for the CEEPUS program include students, researchers, and faculty, with opportunities ranging from academic internships within Academic Networks to "Freemover" internships and summer school scholarships.
Poland stands as a principal participant in the program, evident from the number of academic internships and the institutions involved. Annually, about 300 foreign students and faculty visit Poland under this program, totaling around 550-600 internships. Every year, over 600 Polish students and faculty collaborate with peers from partner countries.
Administrative tasks associated with facilitating student and academic staff exchanges have been coordinated by the National Academic Exchange Agency (NAWA) since 2017.
Source: Nauka w Polsce