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The Euroguidance Network

April 2010

In this edition:

Mobility for whom and why?

Swedish EU presidency conference on mobility

Mobility has been one of the key words of several European policies for the past many years and is seen as one of the four cornerstones of the European Union.  But what is meant by this buzz word? Who is supposed to move where, why and what good should come out of it and for whom?

These were some of the questions discussed at an international conference "Learning by leaving" in Uppsala, Sweden, in November last year. According to the title of the conference, “Learning by leaving” it was obvious that mobility was seen as a tool for the individual to learn something (s)he would not do at home.


Workshop discussion on "how to reach young audiences."

The conference was to feed into a debate which is currently undergoing in the EU on the learning mobility of young people. In a Green Paper published last year by the European commission it is stated that “Learning mobility, i.e. transnational mobility for the purpose of acquiring new skills is one of the fundamental ways in which individuals, particularly young people, can strengthen their future employability as well as their personal development”.

Taking a part of one’s education and training in another country is to be seen as the norm, not the exception. Representatives from all the mobility networks supported by the European Commission, i.e. Eures, Europass, Eurodesk and Euroguidance were present. A joint response from the participating networks to the EU Green paper was created out of the workshop discussion results.

More mobility opportunities for "multipliers"

There are many obstacles in the way of those who wish to be mobile. Barbara Nolan, a Head of Unit in the Education and Culture Directorate of the Commission stated that students taking part of their university degree abroad had gone down in recent years. The current economic crisis may increase this even further.

At the conference, it was evident that guidance counsellors were among the groups seen as mobility “multipliers”, with teachers and youth workers. But as Amelie von Zweigbergk, a State Secretary at the Ministry of Education in Sweden pointed out; if these “multipliers” are to carry out this important role, they themselves should have some experience of learning abroad. For most teachers this is however not the case. In a workshop it was therefore emphasised that the “multipliers” would need more opportunities of taking part of their own education in another country.

Not only "the brightest and the best" should be mobile

If learning abroad is to be the norm for all European citizens, some group will need special attention. Until now, it has been “the brightest and the best” who have gone abroad for studying while people with learning difficulties, physical or mental disabilities and lack of self esteem have stayed at home.

Søren Kristensen

Søren Kristensen
, director of the Danish National Centre for the Development of Vocational Education and Training pointed out that these might be the people who would benefit most from a mobility experience; they might experience that they were indeed not just a part of a small group with certain difficulties but parts of a much bigger world where they could contribute with their skills and knowledge. 

An important aim of the conference was also to explore how the mobility networks could cooperate in order to help their clients.
All presentations and key messages from the workshops are available on www.programkontoret.se/learningbyleaving.

Dóra Stefánsdóttir, Euroguidance Iceland