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Launch of scoreboards monitoring how students and learners are encouraged to go abroad

08/12/2016 Aerial perspective of several students with focus on a girl with a rucksack

The Commission launched its first learning mobility scoreboards for initial vocational education and training (IVET) and higher education (HE) today on the occasion of the European Vocational Skills Week.

The scoreboards show how well different EU countries are managing to create a favourable environment for learning and studying in another country, and can help spur improvement.

Results

For higher education, no country scores consistently strongly across a spectrum of six indicators (such as recognition of qualifications, …), which means that for learning abroad there are issues to improve everywhere in Europe.

  • For example, the indicator on recognition of qualifications reveals the greatest need for progress in most European countries. Only six countries apply automatic recognition practices to all European country qualifications, and only an additional seven systems use such practice in recognising qualifications from some European countries.
  • The indicator on the possibility to use national public grants and loans for studies abroad (i.e. portability of student support measures) reveals that only nine higher education systems offer unrestricted portability of all domestic student support measures.
  • The scoreboard also reveals gaps in information and guidance services for students to go abroad. While central strategies or initiatives enhancing the visibility of mobility opportunities are widespread, quality assurance of such services is often lacking.

For initial vocational education and training, the initial results indicate a mixed picture of policies and structures to support learners to go abroad. For instance, what concerns recognition of skills and knowledge acquired abroad:

  • 12 countries already have sufficiently broad systems to recognise various types of learning components and outcomes,
  • 19 countries do not offer any or only very lengthy recognition procedures (three months or longer),
  • 18 countries do not provide information to learners on where to address inquiries on recognition of their learning.

Scoreboards

The higher education scoreboard builds on a 2013 pilot study and takes stock of policies and structures in place in countries to support students going abroad.

The initial vocational and education scoreboard comes after a feasibility study carried out by Cedefop, the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training in 2015. Also in 2016, following the adoption of the Skills Agenda, an increased political attention is being paid by the European Commission, the European Parliament and the EU Member States to encouraging vocational students and apprentices going abroad and to focusing on policies promoting and facilitating this.

Background

Studying and training abroad helps people build valuable skills and experience – as millions of past Erasmus students and trainees can demonstrate. The European Union, with the aim to reduce and to better match the workforce skills to labour market needs, has promoted opportunities to study and train abroad through various policies, programmes and tools, notably Erasmus +, for many years. The EU's Erasmus + programme, which has helped five million people to study, train, gain experience and volunteer abroad, celebrates 30 years in 2017.

In 2011, the Council also set the twin goal that, by 2020, at least 6% of all 18 to 34 year-olds during their IVET and at least 20% of higher education graduates would have undertaken a learning experience abroad.

In the same year, the Council of the European Union adopted a Recommendation encouraging Member States to promote the learning mobility of young people. Through this Recommendation, Member States commit to promoting and removing obstacles to learners' mobility. In addition, it advocated the creation of a tool – a ‘mobility scoreboard’ – which would ‘monitor (…) progress in promoting, and removing obstacles to, learning mobility’ in Europe.

The scoreboards (developed by Cedefop and Eurydice, the network to support European cooperation in the field of life-long learning) are also presented on a common on-line platform.


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