EEE-YFU Calls to Strengthen Pupil Mobility in Erasmus+
With the previous “Comenius Programme” (Individual Pupil Mobility) being integrated in the broader Erasmus+ Programme framework, pupil mobility is now a less visible and certainly not prominent possibility offered as part of Key Action 2 – Strategic Partnership.
Currently individual pupil mobility can only be included in a project if it provides added value to the strategic partnership between schools. This reduced focus has resulted in an overall lack of resources, support, and enabling measures put in this mobility scheme, which are instead necessary to provide quality, accessible, and inclusive secondary-school exchanges.
The mid-term evaluation of Erasmus+ Programme – initiated in 2016- represents a unique opportunity to invert this trend and foster secondary-school exchanges, thus recognising that investing in the development of the young individual and in the acquisition of key competences that are vital in our inter-dependent, inter-connected world, is crucial for European integration. The outcomes of the mid-term evaluation will also serve to prepare the reflections about the future generation programme.
EEE-YFU, together with EFIL and OBESSU, calls for:
Build on the lessons learnt from the past and current Comenius strand of Erasmus+ and on the experience of exchange organisations
Beyond just expanding the current pupil mobility strand (which currently only benefits from 15% of the Education and Training budget of Erasmus+), it is important to structure it in a way to ensure learning and safety standards to students and schools and cost efficiency. These solutions need to be based on a sound evaluation of the individual pupil mobility scheme run between 2010 and 2013 and between 2014 and 2016 under KA2 of Erasmus+, which from our understanding are not available.
Moreover, the solutions need to take into consideration the expertise and outreach of non-for profit organisations which have been running secondary school exchanges for a long time.
Open-up to partnership with non-formal education providers
In the current Erasmus+ scheme, mobility of secondary school students can be promoted only through partnerships among schools, who are the only actors involved in the organisation of the exchange programme.
Partnerships should be implemented also within the secondary school sector, by allowing formal and non-formal education providers to work in synergy and benefit from each other’s competences. Non-profit organisations can be crucial partners in managing administrative and organisational aspects of exchanges, as well as in providing quality educational support.
Support schools in the process of internationalisation
Schools often do not have the human resources and capacity to apply for funding and managing an EU-funded project. Solutions should be investigated to provide support to all schools, in order to make mobility programmes accessible to all secondary-school students and not only those enrolled in schools which have the capacity to engage in complex EU-funded projects such as the current E+ KA2 Strategic partnerships.
Cooperation with non-formal education providers and the management of E+ funded mobilities by non-for profit pupil exchange organisations, could contribute to supporting schools in their process of internationalisation.
Consider fiscal advantages for host-families
The voluntary engagement of host families is a crucial component that helps foster intercultural learning both for pupils and host-families. Financial contributions to host families have proven to be counterproductive, thus shifting the focus of the hosting experience from the learning component to the financial component.
Nevertheless, financial incentives such as tax reduction for host families (by including the host pupils in the family group for fiscal purposes) should be considered in order to make sure that all families willing to open up their homes and host pupils can benefit from adequate support to engage in this mutual learning experience.