The EU's Erasmus programme has been very successful in allowing university students to do parts of their studies abroad. A group of experts called together by the Commission from various sectors has now presented a set of recommendations on how to build on this success and to make learning mobility an opportunity not only for students but for all young people.
Mobility for learning can take many forms: besides the typical Erasmus scenario, in which students do parts of their studies in another European country, there are opportunities to go abroad for a traineeship in a company or as a volunteer. But to support learning mobility can also mean helping a young artist perform abroad or assisting a young entrepreneur in networking with other companies across Europe.
Besides the positive effects learning mobility can have on the personal development of young people, there is a more general dimension to it. Mobility does not only help exchange and circulate ideas. It can also break down barriers between people and groups and so add to a sense of European citizenship.
The expert forum therefore recommends to radically increase mobility opportunities for young people in the mid-term. By 2020, the report says, at least 50% of all young people aged 16-29 should be offered the opportunity to engage in some form of cross-border mobility at some point. This offer should be irrespective of their social background and cover a wide range of learning contexts including school, university and vocational training as well as other formal and informal learning environments.
The forum calls for strategic action to address barriers to mobility and to engage on a new partnership - of the EU, Member States, regions, education institutions, business and civil society - to boost mobility.