by Elisa Briga, Advocacy and Project Coordinator, European Federation for Intercultural Learning

On 21 March the European Federation for Intercultural Learning (EFIL), the umbrella organization for AFS in Europe, and EEE-YFU organized an event titled Towards more exchanges for pupils at the European Parliament (EP), thanks to the support of the European Parliament Member Emilian Pavel and the EP Youth Intergroup of which he is Vice-Chair.

The agenda of the event featured two panel discussions, one on recognition of school study periods abroad and one on more pupil mobility in the future Erasmus+ program. The panels served to promote the campaigns that EFIL and EEE-YFU have been running together on these topics since last year, and the related studies and policy papers, as well as to get the EU institutions’ position and foreseen next steps. Both these topics are included as top priority in the European Commission’s initiative ‘European Education Area’ launched in November 2017.

We had the honor to hear from the two main political groups of the European Parliament, that they will endorse any further initiative for supporting Member states in creating frameworks for recognition of school study periods abroad. Moreover, Petra Goran from the European Commission outlined that they are working on a proposal for a recommendation to be adopted by Member states, which calls on an automatic recognition of school study periods abroad based on learning outcomes, and not subjects, and will encourage peer learning among Member states. OBESSU, representing school students unions, expressed full support to the initiative to advance inclusive education and the promotion of intercultural learning.

We also had the pleasure to hear from MEP Zver that the Parliament will support an increase of funding for pupil mobility in Erasmus+, easier application procedures and the possibility for non-profit organizations expert in mobility to join forces with schools to run pupil exchange projects. The Head of the School Unit at the European Commission, Michael Teutsch, confirmed that the plan is to boost mobility of pupils in general school and vocational training as from 2021, with a particular focus on short-term mobility in order to increase outreach. The Chair of the Education Council of the EU, Yasen Gyurov, shared that Member states fully adhere to the above-mentioned proposals advanced by the European Commission.

To learn more about our claims on both topics, you can visit the related websites and access the policy papers:

The event was attended by 50 stakeholders, namely representatives from Member states’ Ministries of education (Romania, Sweden, Austria), NGOs, teachers, teacher educators, European Platforms such as the European Youth Forum, the Lifelong Learning Platform, Eurodesk.

The European Commission will release the proposal on recognition of study abroad on 2 May and the proposal for the new Erasmus+ on 29 May.

Join us in advancing this agenda by following and posting #pupilmobility and #recognisestudyabroad on social media.