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PLOTEUS is an acronym of Portal on Learning Opportunities Throughout European Space, meant to connote πλωτηρ (ploter) which means "navigator" in ancient Greek. It is a European Union web portal, coordinated by the European's Commission Directorate-General for education and culture,[1] that aims to help citizens find out about education and training opportunities,[2] throughout the countries belonging to the European Union, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Turkey,[3] though the latter did not participate in PLOTEUS at its launch, as it was not a member of the Leonardo da Vinci programme yet.[4] According to France 5, the portal offers an "easy access" to an "excellent source of information" from primary school to postgraduate education.[5] PLOTEUS has been prioritised as a "project of common interest" by the European Commission (Commission Decision of 23 December 2002, article 8.2.c).[6][7] The European Parliament and the European Council have confirmed in 2006 their "support for transnational web-based services such as PLOTEUS".[8] The portal is run by the Euroguidance network,[9][10] financed by the Leonardo da Vinci programme, and is interconnected with EURES, the European Commission's portal on job mobility information.[11][12] Both PLOTEUS and EURES are considered as examples of "pan-European services".[13] After the launch of PLOTEUS and EURES in 2003, the Bologna process drive to favour student mobility in Europe wa further expressed in 2004 by the launch of the Europass program,[14][15] which is accessible from the EURES portal, as well as PLOTEUS.[16]

Genesis of the project (2000–2003)

The project was initiated in 2001,[17] further to the conclusions of the Lisbon and Stockholm European Councils (March 2000 and March 2001),[18][19] as part of the Bologna process,[20] with the purpose to put into effect the right to freedom of movement for European citizens by providing the necessary information on learning opportunities called for by the Conclusions of the 2000 Lisbon Council and making national service inter-operable throughout Europe.[21][22] It was developed by Atos.[23][24] The total development cost was €849,000,[25] while the yearly running cost was initially estimated at €250,000.[26]

PLOTEUS I (2003–2005)

The portal was officially launched in March 2003[27] by Viviane Reding,[28] the Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth, Media and Sport, during an informal meeting of the ministries for education in Athens.[29] According to the European Commissioner, the project "makes it easier to find the necessary information to study and train in another part of Europe"[30] It provided information on education systems, qualifications, grants and tuition fees in the EEC countries.[31] It also provided practical help on matters such as finding a place to stay, living costs, the legal aspects of studying abroad, taxes, and social security[32] as well as facilitating exchange programmes and the process of moving from one Member State to another.[33] In this first phase, the portal provided access to about 5,000 links available in 11 languages.[34] Approximately 60,000 entries were registered by the end of 2003.[35] People with disabilities were prioritised as a target group.[36] At this stage, it did not directly provide information about single courses but pointed the user toward websites and/or databases, where the required information could be found.[7] The disadvantage of this solution was that it required the user to access different websites with different user interfaces, and of course different classification systems, languages and educational models.[7] In a report of January 2004, the European Commission stated PLOTEUS I was "only the first step, to be followed by a service which will offer citizens direct access to information on learning opportunities, by making national services inter-operable throughout Europe. After discussion with the competent national authorities, a tender has been launched and the development work will start early in 2004."[37] The number of visits, estimated in June 2003 at between 1,500 and 2,000 per day,[38] reached 60,000 per month in 2005.[39] According to 2004 external evaluation, the PLOTEUS portal was considered by 2 thirds of the users[40] "useful for their work".[41] Nevertheless, according to a paper published in 2006, though "laudable in its aims to help citizens find out information about studying in Europe", the PLOTEUS portal "presents learners with a bewildering assortment of learning opportunities, each leading the enquirer to the vagaries of providers’ websites [and] none of the information offered to learners is standardised or predictable, making it difficult to determine which goals can be reached by which routes".[42] Another paper criticised the fact these "important instruments" did not exist everywhere and were not completely available in English.[43]

PLOTEUS II (2006–2008)

The aim of the second phase was to make it possible to query directly the content of national databases through the interface of the European portal, and thus to obtain in PLOTEUS direct answers to specific queries about single courses.[7] In order to interconnect national databases in the European portal, a common protocol was developed by member states,[44] using clusterpoint.[45] The site provided as of December 2006 more than 7,000 links to existing information resources in 31 countries and was available in 24 languages.[46] As of 2009, it received, depending on sources, between 800,000[47] and over 1,000,000[25] visits per year. In 2010, its promotion was incorporated in the Youth on the Move campaign launched by the European Commission to extend opportunities for learning mobility to all young people in Europe by 2020.[48][49] The EEC council recommendation of 28 June 2011 stated member states should "cooperate with the Commission to further develop and update the PLOTEUS portal on learning opportunities, namely by increasing the number of national information resources that citizens can directly access through the multilingual Ploteus interface".[50]


According to a paper by Ignaco Criado in 2011, the PLOTEUS project is "one of the most relevant" example of "pan-European eGovernment services" developed during the last years in the EEC : it "has enabled the retrieval of comparable data from different national data sources, which required a common protocol for categorization approved by the Commission and member states. On the basis of the follow-up study of this program, an interconnection of national databases has been implemented using web services as a technical solution. Thus, data are updated at national level, and the PLOTEUS portal accesses national databases for information required to answer citizen requests".[51] Another paper considers the project as an example of "convergence and europeanization of public administration".[52] Nevertheless, another paper suggests PLOTEUS does not play an important role in students' decision-making process in case of exchange programs.[53]

See also


  1. ^ Financial Report. European Commission. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. 2004. p. 43. ISBN 9789289474443.
  2. ^ "New web site to help citizens find schools". European Report. 20 March 2003.
  3. ^ "PLOTEUS : a one-stop shop for information online". European Commission. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  4. ^ "PLOTEUS – The European Internet Portal on Learning Opportunities". European Commission. 5 November 2002. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  5. ^ "Le site européen Ploteus : Un portail sur les opportunités d'études et de formation en Europe" (in French). France 5. 22 October 2007. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  6. ^ "2003/8/EC: Commission Decision of 23 December 2002 implementing Council Regulation (EEC) No 1612/68 as regards the clearance of vacancies and applications for employment". Official Journal of the European Union. 10 January 2003. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d "Global Implementation Plan" (PDF). European Commission. 2005. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  8. ^ "Decision No 1720/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2006 establishing an action programme in the field of lifelong learning". Official Journal of the European Union. 24 November 2006. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  9. ^ Strietska-Ilina, Olga (2007). A Clash of Transitions: Towards a Learning Society. Peter Lang. p. 35. ISBN 9780820474762. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  10. ^ "PLOTEUS porté par le réseau Euroguidance" (in French). Europe et formation. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  11. ^ Growth and jobs: working together for Europe's future : a new start for the Lisbon strategy. European Commission. 2005.
  12. ^ "Q and A on the new employment package : towards a job-rich recovery". States News Service. 18 April 2012.
  13. ^ "Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions : The Role of eGovernment for Europe's Future" (PDF). European Commission. 26 September 2003. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  14. ^ Brown, Sally; Jones, Elspeth (2007). Internationalising Higher Education. Taylor & Francis. pp. 188–189. ISBN 9780203945964. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  15. ^ Dollat, Patrick (2008). La citoyenneté européenne: théorie et statuts. Pratique du droit communautaire (in French). Bruylant. p. 349.
  16. ^ Banfi, Dario (2006). Trovare lavoro con Internet (in Italian). Apogeo Editore. p. 58. ISBN 9788850325078. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  17. ^ "End term evaluation of the IDA II Programme" (PDF). European Commission. 2004. Retrieved 14 June 2012. [permanent dead link]
  18. ^ Goncalves, Jorge (19 August 2007). "PLOTEUS – Portal on Learning Opportunities Throughout Europe". Learning Online Info. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  19. ^ "La Comisión Europea lanza un portal para estudiar en 30 países europeos". El Pais (in Spanish). 4 March 2003. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  20. ^ Zgaga, Pavel. "Bologna process between Prague and Berlin" (PDF). Bologna Process. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  21. ^ "Lifelong Learning Program". European Union Programs Agency. Archived from the original on 30 May 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  22. ^ "Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on a single framework for the transparency of qualifications and competences (Europass)". EUR-Lex. 2003. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  23. ^ "The European Commission Chooses Atos Origin to Design, Build and Run European Internet Portal". Instranet. 2003. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  24. ^ "En bref : France". Le Journal du net (in French). 2 April 2003. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  25. ^ a b "PLOTEUS: A Portal on Learning Opportunities Throughout the European Space". IDABC. July 2009. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  26. ^ "L'enseignement européen visible en ligne" (PDF). L'Etudiant (in French). 10 March 2003. Retrieved 16 June 2012. [permanent dead link]
  27. ^ The History of European cooperation in education and training: Europe in the making, an example. Office for Official Publications of European Communities. 2006. p. 231. ISBN 978-9289489867.
  28. ^ "L'Europa dell'istruzione a portata di mouse". Il Sole 24 Ore (in Italian). 7 March 2003. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  29. ^ "PLOTEUS (Navigator) for learning opportunities in Europe". National Documentation Centre. 1 April 2003. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  30. ^ "Europe of learning opportunities through the click of a mouse". Education and Training. 45 (4/5). 2003. pp. 291–292.
  31. ^ Krechowiecka, Irene (11 March 2003). "Soundbytes". Guardian. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  32. ^ "Rise Masters Class: Flying the flag for Euro courses: Erasmus exchange scheme offers postgraduates a passport to studying abroad". Guardian. 18 June 2005.
  33. ^ "New web wite to help citizens find schools". European Social Policy. 20 March 2003.
  34. ^ "La Comisión Europea inaugura el primer portal comunitario de información para estudiar en 30 países europeos". El Pais (in Spanish). 4 March 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  35. ^ New Era in Education. 85. World Education Fellowship. 2004. p. 96.
  36. ^ "Equal opportunities for people with disabilities: a European action plan (2004–2010)". Summaries of European legislation. 30 October 2003. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  37. ^ "Report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Report on the follow-up to the Recommendation of the European Parliament and the Council of 10 July 2001 on mobility within the Community of students, persons undergoing training, volunteers and teachers and trainers". EUR-Lex. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  38. ^ "PLOTEUS : The A to Z of educational opportunities in Europe". IDABC. June 2003. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  39. ^ Frischknecht, Eric (5 February 2011). "Die Datenbank " PLOTEUS " : WAB-Datenbank mit 30 europäischen Ländern "verlinkt"" (PDF). Panorama (in German). Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  40. ^ d4ascenzo, Fabrizio (2006). "Strumenti ICT per l'orientamento" (PDF) (in Italian). Ministero del Lavoro e della Previdenza Sociale. Retrieved 17 June 2012. [permanent dead link]
  41. ^ Spangar, Timo; Arnkil, Robert; Rissanen, Pekka; Teppo, Teresa; Vuorinen, Raimo (2004). "External Evaluation of the Euroguidance Network" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 December 2011. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  42. ^ Tattersall, Collin; Janssen, José; van den Berg, Bert; Koper, Rob (2006). "Modelling routes towards learning goals" (PDF). Campus-Wide Information Systems. 23. doi:10.1108/10650740610714071. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  43. ^ Wächter, Bernd (2006). "Asia–Europe cooperation in higher education: state of play and challenges". Asia Europe Journal. 4 (3): 317. doi:10.1007/s10308-006-0071-5.
  44. ^ Guijarro, Luis (September 2007). "Frameworks for fostering cross-agency interoperability in eGovernment initiatives" (PDF). Epractice. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  45. ^ "Database platform for data cross-platform interoperability and human- and machine readability". Clusterpoint. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  46. ^ Moorney, Brian (5 December 2006). "Questions Answers &". Irish Times.
  47. ^ Martin, Cătălin; Strunga, Alexandru. "Flexicurity Dynamics and the Lisbon Strategy in Romania". Journal of Educational Sciences. 11 (2): 109–115.
  48. ^ Official website
  49. ^ "Youth on the Move – Strengthening Support to Europe's Young People". States News Service. 15 September 2010.
  50. ^ "Council Recommendation of 28 June 2011 : 'Youth on the move' — promoting the learning mobility of young people". Official Journal of the European Union. 7 July 2011. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  51. ^ Criado, Ignacio (2011). "Interoperability of eGovernment for Building Intergovernmental Integration in the European Union". Social Science Computer Review. 30 (1): 37. doi:10.1177/0894439310392189.
  52. ^ Bianchi, Massimo (2011). "Life long learning and mobility for the creation of European Identity in local governments. Experiences and perspectives". Academic Public Administration Studies Archive. 297. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  53. ^ Sobkova, Lucie (2011). "An analysis of students' decision-making process in case of exchange programmes" (PDF). Central European Review of Economic Issues. 14 (4). doi:10.7327/cerei.2011.12.04. [permanent dead link]

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