By Norec staff
Latest update: 31.03.2020
The Norwegian Agency for Exchange Cooperation (Norec, fmr. FK Norway) has already cancelled all trainings for exchange-participants during the spring 2020. Tuesday 17 March, Norec-partners were informed that all exchanges scheduled to start between April and July are postponed until further notice.
– We know that travel has contributed to the spread of the virus. This is a simple measure which can contribute to reducing the risk of adding to the burden in our partner-countries, says Marit Bakken, Norec’s Programme Director.
The postponed exchanges were supposed to be both between countries in the North and South, as well as countries in the South.
– With border-closings and cancellations of flights worldwide, planning exchanges for the coming months has become difficult, Bakken adds.
Many have returned home
Several exchanges have been stopped due to the coronavirus outbreak. As per Tuesday 31 March, 243 participants have returned to their home countries. More are likely to follow.
– It is our partners that employ the participants. It is for them, in collaboration with the participants, to decide whether the exchange should be stopped or not due to the outbreak, says Bakken.
Financial support to postponed exchanges
For some partners, the postponement of exchanges leads to budget-adjustments:
– Some participants might have resigned jobs or cancelled rent agreements because they were supposed to go on exchange for a year. We will make it possible for them to be compensated for this for a period until July.
Exchanges for autumn will go as planned
Norec-staff are continuing their follow-up of partners who are cancelling or postponing their exchanges. Meanwhile, applications for new projects keep coming in.
– For now, all exchanges for the coming autumn will go as planned. Our staff members are working online from home, and we will continue to receive project proposals, says Bakken.
This is however all contingent upon how the situation will develop in Norway and the 25 partner-countries. Norec is following the situation closely and will continuously assess if more changes to activities are necessary.