The current situation
The 30th anniversary of the Erasmus and the mid-term evaluation of Erasmus+ represent a great opportunity to celebrate achievements, but also to look for improvements of the current framework.
In the current Erasmus+ Programme, mobility of school students is a poorly visible and certainly not prominent possibility offered as part of KA2 Strategic Partnerships. Pupil mobility is organised by schools, which have to create partnerships among them in order to allow school students to go on exchange. This has resulted in an increased burden for schools willing to submit project applications, which lack the resources, support, and enabling measures necessary to provide quality, accessible, and inclusive exchanges.
As European organisations (EEE-YFU, EFIL, ESHA, and OBESSU) representing respectively pupil exchange associations, heads of schools, and school students, we would like to provide our contribution, in view of an improved Erasmus+ Programme. In our joint position paper we call for more investments in pupil mobility, and for greater involvement of non-for-profit organisations expert in this field in the management of pupil mobility schemes within Erasmus+.
More investments on pupil mobility
Indeed, under the calls 2014-2015, “Strategic Partnerships for Schools Only” represented only 4,5% of the overall Erasmus+ budget. We assisted to a 54% decrease in the number of mobile school students, in comparison with the previous Individual Pupil Mobility strand of Comenius programme.
We therefore call for more investments in school students’ mobility. In order to double the numbers of the previous Comenius Programme, the funds for school students’ mobility in Erasmus+ need to be multiplied at least by four times.
Opening-up to exchange organisations
In addition, we believe that non-profit organisations who have decades of experience in running mobility programmes can be crucial partners in supporting a variety of schools in applying for and managing Erasmus+ pupil mobility. Cooperation with non-formal education providers for submitting and managing Erasmus+ projects on school students’ mobility would provide support to schools in their process of internationalisation, thus making quality mobility programmes accessible to more school students and not only to those enrolled in schools which have the capacity to engage in complex EU-funded projects.