Going abroad to learn – the Commission's Green Paper on learning mobility for young people
How to make the exception the rule?On 8 July 2009 the European Commission published a Green Paper on "Promoting the learning mobility of young people". The aim is to open up a debate on how best to boost the opportunities for young people in Europe to develop their knowledge and skills by spending time abroad.
Going to another country for studying or learning, for work experience or volunteering is one of the fundamental ways in which young people can broaden their horizons, and strengthen their future employability as well as their personal development.
The benefits are just as evident for schools, universities and businesses: more young people on the move will help them become more international and update their education and training programmes.
And Europe's economies will profit from a workforce with better and broader skills which is better prepared for rapidly changing labour markets.
But rather than being the exception, as is currently the case, going abroad for learning should become a natural feature of being European and an opportunity open to all young people in Europe.
With this Green Paper the Commission has launched a public consultation inviting all interested parties to comment on the issues and questions raised:
- How can we convince more young people to spend time abroad?
- What obstacles to mobility do we have to overcome?
- How can all players involved – governments, education and training institutions, NGOs – join forces in a new partnership for learning mobility?
What does the EU do to support learning mobilityThe EU supports young people who want to go abroad for learning within its programmes for Lifelong Learning, Youth, Culture and Citizenship. The best known of these programmes is Erasmus, which, in the 22 years since its creation, has enabled two million young Europeans to undertake part of their university studies abroad.
Other actions within the Lifelong Learning Programme such as Leonardo da Vinci (for vocational training), Comenius (for schools), and Grundtvig (for adult learners) similarly support such moves. With the Erasmus Mundus and Tempus programmes the EU promotes mobility in higher education vis-à-vis the rest of the world.
Beyond the world of education EU support is available in the Culture, Youth in Action and Europe for Citizens programmes, the Marie Curie actions for researchers and Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs.
In December 2007 the European Commission set up a High Level Expert Forum on Mobility to look into ways of strengthening and promoting the mobility of young people beyond what is presently done within these programmes. The Forum brought together 11 mobility experts from 10 EU Member States covering such wide-ranging fields as higher education, youth, vocational training, employment, culture and music.
In their final report of July 2008 "Making Learning Mobility an Opportunity for All", members of the Forum presented a set of recommendations on how to build on the success of Erasmus and to make learning mobility an opportunity not only for students but for all young people.
- European Commission Green Paper "Promoting the learning mobility of young people"
- European Commission: Public Consultation on learning mobility of young people
- Full text of the report: "Making Learning Mobility an Opportunity for All" (Annexes, Summary )
- Presentation "Promoting the learning mobility of young people"