Mobility in the European Union
Going to another Member State to follow a course of study or professional training: hundreds of thousands of students, teachers and workers have already discovered the professional and personal benefits of such an experience.
The European Union is proposing a new programme for 2007-2013, “Lifelong education and training”, with a budget of seven billion euros, which succeeds the Socrates Programme. It unites all the existing provisions (Comenius, Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Grundtvig, Jean Monnet, etc.) and enables the accompanying of mobility and training projects from infant school through to adult life.
A range of programmes for pupils, students and teachers
Since 1995, the Comenius Programme has been envisaging reinforcing the European dimension in the area of education by particularly promoting mobility and cooperation between educational institutions. Comenius follows several objectives: improving the quality of education and training of teachers, developing basic skills and teaching languages, promoting the use of information- and communication technology (ICT), improving the teaching of mathematics and science and developing active citizenship.
More than 12,000 schools benefited from Comenius scholarships in 2005 in order to participate in school partnerships. The action also supports educational projects for training personnel as well as school education networks. Comenius thus aims at improving the quality of education, consolidating the European dimension and promoting language training and mobility. It has been allocated more than one billion euros for 2007-2013.
The Erasmus Programme has been encouraging transnational cooperation between universities since 1987 and stimulates student mobility in the EU. It enables improvement of transparency and full academic recognition of studies and qualifications within the Union. In 2005, the percentage of European universities cooperating in this programme in thirty-one countries (the twenty-five Member States and Bulgaria, Rumania, Turkey, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) reached 87%. Today, almost all universities in France take part as well as most higher education institutions. Erasmus has a budget of 3.1 billion euros for the period 2007-2013.
In order to enable students from modest backgrounds to undertake training stays in Europe or elsewhere, the French Government relaunched the mobility grants system in 2002. They are accessible to students receiving grants on social criteria and managed directly by the higher education institutions. The institutions can thus develop a mobility policy by encouraging more students to undertake studies outside our borders.
By autumn 2006, a total of 45,000 mobility grants had been issued to 135 higher education institutions enabling more than 15,000 students to undertake mobility courses lasting three months. The grants are for 389 euros and can last from three to nine months.
The Erasmus Mundus Programme has been promoting the mobility of students and teachers from all over the world through the providing of grants since 2004. It implements a network of cooperation between European- and third country universities. This concerns all the disciplines from post-secondary education up to doctoral level.
The spotlight on adult education and trainingThe Grundtvig Programme has been allocated 358 million euros for 2007-2013 and is financing projects for enabling the improvement of quality and the European dimension of adult education. Its objective is facilitating access to life-long learning for all European citizens. It promotes the exchange of experiences at the European level in all domains of general adult education. Grundtvig supports cooperation projects, apprenticeship partnerships, adult educator courses and adult education networks.
The Leonardo da Vinci programme enables the acquisition of professional qualifications recognized in all EU Member States. It offers young people access to training and apprenticeships with a view to improving their chances of finding jobs requiring better qualifications. It also aims at improving professional training for persons of all ages by helping them acquire other life-long skills and to adapt to new demands such as the use of information- and communication technology.
For 2005, a total of 3,015 Leonardo projects have been selected across Europe for a total of 70,000 work experience courses. Almost 300,000 persons benefited from Leonardo da Vinci grants from 2000 to 2005. The programme will receive 1.7 billion euros for 2007-2013.
Via labels and subsidies, the Jean Monnet community initiative encourages universities and higher education institutions to integrate new courses on Community law, European economic integration and political integration and the history of European integration into their programmes.
In order to complete theses programmes, the EU has implemented several systems that also facilitate mobility, including Europass and Euroguidance.
A new initiative launched on 1 February 2005, Europass helps European citizens to have their knowledge and qualifications recognized throughout Europe. It enables them to develop all their skills whether they have been validated by a diploma or acquired during professional or personal experience (for example, in the framework of an associative obligation, work experience, research or personnel work, trade union activity or active participation in social life). In concrete terms, Europass takes the form of a portfolio of five documents: the curriculum vitae, the language passport, the supplement to the Europass certificate, the supplement to the Europass diploma and the Mobility Europass.
Created by the European Commission, the Euroguidance network brings together sixty-five centres in over thirty countries. Its objective is developing the European dimension in vocational initiatives. The centres inform the career guidance professionals and other citizens as to the possibilities for study, training and mobility in Europe and the various national educational and training systems. They also facilitate the exchange of information between career guidance services in the various European countries.
Erasmus celebrates its 20th anniversarySince its creation in 1987, 1.2 million students of whom 240,000 were French have completed courses of study abroad thanks to Erasmus. A total of 2,199 higher education institutions from 31 countries currently participate in this very popular programme. Large numbers of students come from Germany (21 %), Spain (16 %), Italy (13 %) and the United Kingdom (10 %).
In 2005-2006, a total of 22,650 French students set out on Erasmus Mobility courses of whom the majority was registered on management courses (30 %) as well as languages (16 %) and engineering (13 %). Most of these set out on Mobility courses mainly during the third year of their studies (36 %) but also during the second or fourth years of post-bachelor training and are mainly registered at university (60 %).
All students receive an average Community grant of 106 euros plus frequent supplements from relevant groups and ministries. The average duration of the Mobilities is seven months but these periods can be spread over three-to-twelve months.
Academic recognition of study periods is facilitated by the ECTS (the European Credit Transfer System). An agreement between the respective institutions must be arranged in advance. On their return, the students validate the credits received abroad for their studies in France.