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Value of teachers mobility through the European Programs to their personal and professional
development. Education in the Lisbon Strategy: assessment and prospects


Since its formal inception in 1976, EU cooperation in the field of education has known a number of major
landmarks: the launch of the Erasmus programme in 1987, the inclusion of education for the first time in
the Treaty (Maastricht, 1992) and, last but not least, the role given to education and training in the new EU
10-year economic and social strategy launched in Lisbon in 2000.The inclusion of education in the Lisbon
strategy was a major step forward 10 years later, and in an historical perspective, is possible an
assessment,although globally positive, underlining not only the role played by the Lisbon strategy in
relaunching and consolidating EU education cooperation, but also the weak implementation and ownership
at national level that hindered its success. At the dawn of the recently launched new strategy for the next 10
years (EU 2020), many are the challenges to be met to close the gap between policy ambitions and

Eurydice Overview - Staff Mobility in Higher Education National Policies and Programmes


By mobility we mean individuals (children, adolescents or adults) moving from one environment to another
for short or long periods of time. Mobility in language education is important as it provides students and
teachers with opportunities to spend time studying, training or working in another country and to improve
their language skills and develop their intercultural competences.
Mobility programmes ( such as Erasmus+ ) give students and teachers opportunities for travel and
professional development and this enhances their employability. Mobility can be either physical or virtual.
Both of these types of mobility help individuals to acquire new skills and to develop existing competences,
through face to face interaction or Internet.


Intercultural learning involves individuals becoming aware of the similarities and differences between
cultures and learning to embrace them, to reflect on and evaluate their own thoughts, feelings and behaviour
in order to enhance their self-awareness, acting as cultural mediators to interpret and explain different points
of view to individuals from different cultural backgrounds
Why are mobility and intercultural learning so important?
Competences developed and enhanced through mobility increase the individuals self - awareness and
awareness of others. Each of these competences is particularly important for the individuals future personal,
academic and professional development.


The simple experience of leaving your own environment is an educational experience; this is reinforced
when it means using another language and encountering new rhythms of daily life and new approaches to
learning. However, the learning experience can be enhanced by a structured approach. The use of research

tasks and learning scenarios can enrich the contact with hosts and develop intercultural skills with more
focus and more questioning. There have been experiments where ethnological research case studies have
been included as part of Erasmus years abroad (Celia Roberts, Language and Cultural Issues in
Innovation, Addison Wesley Longman, 1998).


Promoting staff mobility has become an issue of increasing importance in European higher education policy.
Mobility and internationalisation are key aspects of the Bologna process, and staff mobility is integral to the
overall objectives.

This is exemplified most recently in the 'Mobility Strategy 2020 for the European Higher Education
Area' adopted by the Ministers of the European Higher Education Area countries.

Yet despite the political attention to the topic, surprisingly little information about staff mobility is
available at European level. Part of the reason for the lack of information is conceptual.

Mobility and culture

Mobility is by no means a new feature of human behaviour. On the contrary, it has given birth and shape to
civilisations throughout the times. However, nowadays we feel the need, probably more pressing than ever,
to equip citizens with a set of competencies, at both a personal and a professional level, enabling them to
fully explore the opportunities of a world that seems to, all of a sudden, have become wide open to them.
Why do we bother? Do we not become naturally intercultural by being physically mobile? Why do we dare?
Can we be interculturally mobile without being physically mobile?

Mobility has lately been a keyword in transnational programmes both in Europe and beyond. While 2006
was designated by the European Commission as the European Year of Workers Mobility, the United
Nations Secretary Generals Special Representative on International Migration and Development,
Peter Sutherland, stated in his speech at the 7th meeting of the Commission on Population and
Development that The world was moving from an era of migration to one of mobility since countries
were no longer divided strictly into sending and receiving countries, but were increasingly sending,
receiving and even transit countries (Sutherland, 2006). The difference in terminology migration and
mobility does not simply address the apparent difference between groups of people moving only one or
both ways.

The positive connotations of terms such as expatriates (or foreigners in some languages) and negative
connotations of the term migrants depends on the attribution of the term immigrant to a particular group
is influenced not only by the host countrys perceptions of the immigrants country of origin, but also by
his/her socioeconomic status.

The common feature of both migrants and expatriates, that is, of all mobile people, is that they are both
carriers and producers of culture. They carry their cultural baggage(s), and they adapt, accommodate, resist
and create culture, although not in a linear manner.

Communicating across cultures or intercultural communication is communication on the basis of respect for
individuals and equality of human rights as the democratic basis for social interaction (Byram et al., 2002)

Drawing a parallel between intercultural communication and effective interaction, Guilherme (2000:
297-300) defines success in intercultural communication as accomplishing a negotiation between people

based on both culture-specific and culture-general features, that is on the whole respectful of and favourable
to each. For Cohen (2004), negotiation is an exercise in language and words and concepts are equally
understood by all participants.

Three main sub-components have been identified as being an integral part of the competences that allow
communicating across cultures: non-verbal communication, verbal communication and language awareness.
Non-verbal communication occupies a relevant position in this paradigm.

Communication does not exclusively depend on language; as Revell and Norman (1999: 91) indicate
communication is more nonverbal than verbal Non-verbal aspects may reinforce the message expressed
verbally or, interestingly, they may contradict it. Even though most of them are not explicitly contemplated
in the foreign language curriculum or syllabus, non-verbal aspects such as body language, eye contact,
gestures, proxemics (interpersonal space), appearance, dressing style or haptics (bodily touching) seem to be
highly significant in cross-cultural communication.

Verbal communication has no doubt been the central element of most foreign language programmes, with
the first one out of the four main competences identified by Canale and Swain (1980 ) extensively studied
and practised:
1 grammatical competence (the knowledge of lexical terms and rules of morphology, syntax, sentence-
grammar, semantics, and phonology);
2 sociolinguistic competence (made up of two sets of rules: sociocultural rules of use and rules of
3 discourse competence (how to combine grammatical forms and meanings to achieve a unified spoken or
written text in different genres);
4 strategic competence (verbal and non-verbal communication strategies that may be called into action to
compensate for breakdowns in communication due to performance variables or to insufficient competence).
Furthermore, paralinguistic features such as stress, rhythm and intonation play a fundamental role in verbal
communication (for example, the tone used in a particular community such as the Spanish of Spain may
seem aggressive in another Spanishspeaking community and may cause misunderstanding even though the
linguistic code is shared).
When negotiation takes place across different languages and cultures, the scope for misunderstanding
increases. . Accordingly, communication across cultures presents the problem that the selection of a lingua
franca does not ensure an efficient under standing.

The intercultural continuum

Intercultural mobility is viewed here as a horizon, which may be described not only as a goal at which we
always aim yet never fully reach but also a recurrent starting point. Intercultural mobility entails, therefore,
an ontological and epistemological turn where we also look for the other in ourselves. However, the term
mobility here, especially if applied to professional settings, can be misleading if understood as to be applied
mostly to short-lived and superficial intercultural encounters.

On the contrary, following Byrams line of thought, such encounters, even if brief, are valuable to our study
if they aim to establish and maintain relationships which, in this project, are not necessarily personal but
cannot help being social and professional, rather than aiming at the mere communication of messages and
exchange of information or simply direct, detached interaction (Byram, 1997).
In relation to this idea, Byram identifies five main factors, which he calls savoirs and which account for the
development of intercultural communicative competence, since it is also assumed that they develop within
the use of a foreign language. They are: savoir / savoir comprendre / savoir tre / savoir faire / savoir
sengager (Byram and Zarate, 1997; Byram, 1997). Although Byram conceptualises the five savoirs for the
purpose of formal schooling, we believe that they can also be applicable to the development of intercultural
competence for professional mobility
Intercultural mobility may also be perceived as a frame of mind which allows a crosscultural encounter
to turn into an intercultural one in that it transforms both parties and which enables both, through
languaging, to embark upon new journeys of self and social discovery. It is a journey into intercultural
being (Phipps and Gonzalez, 2004 ) Intercultural mobility happens across various levels: (a) global, (b)
national, (c) local and generates intercultural dialogue between different systems of beliefs, values and
attitudes. Any individual can, in principle, travel through these levels, unintentionally, inadvertently and
unchanging, yet aware of the differences. That is, this individual can be mobile, have multicultural
experiences, perhaps have a pluralistic political position by accepting and enjoying difference, yet never
quite reach an intercultural stage as defined above.
It is possible for an individual to accept, enjoy, and live diversity, to adapt and be personally and
professionally successful in a multicultural setting. This individual can even live through ontological and
epistemological change and, surprisingly, the engaging and languaging stages. Such an achievement
would require her/him to go through a critical cycle, that is, a reflective, exploratory, dialogical and
active stance towards cultural knowledge and life that allows for dissonance, contradiction, and
conflict as well as for consensus, concurrence, and transformation (Guilherme, 2002: 219).
In addition, this process would entail the experiencing of a series of operations gathered in three main
moments: (a) when one approaches and responds to culture(s) experiencing, exploring, wondering, and
speculating; (b) when one engages with and embarks on (inter)cultural observation, research and
interpretation appreciating, commenting, comparing, reflecting, analysing, and questioning; and (c) when
one performs (inter)cultural acts and transforms cultural life hypothesising, evaluating, negotiating,
deciding, diffrant, and acting (Guilherme, 2002: 221).
Such operations should nevertheless require a cognitive and emotional endeavour that aim[ed] at individual
and collective emancipation, social justice and political commitment (Guilherme, 2002: 219).
Intercultural mobility in the workplace, as we define it and if we are to consider its ontological,
epistemological, methodological and civic dimensions, certainly depends on individual vision and
commitment, on work group dynamics as well as on organisational structure and culture. However, it is also
shaped by a national legal and political framework that is multicultural and stimulates the individual to act as

an intercultural citizen (Kymlicka, 2003) In sum, intercultural mobility demands and stimulates an
intercultural ethos at all levels.

Overview of national policies and measures concerning staff mobility in higher education

Staff mobility tends to be seen as an element of human resources development and as a way to improve
the quality of higher education and research at national higher education institutions. National policies
therefore are designed to encourage staff of national higher education institutions to spend some time
abroad (and to return to the home country afterwards) and/or to facilitate the recruitment of highly qualified
foreign lecturers and researchers

Language competence is an effect but simultaneously a prerequisite for mobility, and this implies that
mobility needs to be a part of the learning process. Mobility and exchange programmes are crucial
ways for language learners and teachers to improve their language skills and develop their
intercultural competences. The ECML (European Centre for Modern Languages ) provides resources to
help learners and teachers make the most of mobility and ensure such programmes are truly meaningful.

Crucial in this regard, is the 'philosophy' underlying the 'Bologna Process'

The Bologna Process developed a series of ministerial meetings and agreements between European
countries designed to ensure comparability in the standards and quality of higher education qualifications.
Through the Bologna Accords, the process has created the European Higher Education Area, in particular
under the Lisbon Recognition Convention. It is named after the place it was proposed, the University of
Bologna, with the signing of the Bologna declaration by Education Ministers from 29 European countries
in 1999, forming a part of European integration

The Bologna Process, now collecting 50 participating countries, really is a collective effort of public
authorities, universities, teachers, and students, together with stakeholder associations, employers,
quality assurance agencies, international organisations, and institutions, including the European
Commission. It constitutes an intergovernmental agreement between both EU and non-EU countries,
therefore does not have the status of EU legislation. As the Bologna Declaration is not a treaty or
convention, there are no legal obligations for the signatory states. Participation and cooperation is

The Bologna Process also supports the modernisation of education and training systems to make sure
these meet the needs of a changing labour market. This is important as the proportion of jobs requiring
high skills grows, and the demand for innovation and entrepreneurship increases.

Prior to the signing of the Bologna declaration, the Magna Charta Universitatum had been issued at a
meeting of university rectors celebrating the 900th anniversary of the University of Bologna and thus of
European universities in 1988. One year before the Bologna declaration, education ministers Claude
Allegre (France), Jrgen Rttgers (Germany), Luigi Berlinguer (Italy) and Baroness Blackstone (UK) signed
the Sorbonne declaration[2] in Paris 1998, committing themselves to "harmonising the architecture of the
European Higher Education system".

EU actions favoring mobility

European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System

(ECTS) is a standard for comparing the study attainment and performance of students of higher education
across the European Union and other collaborating European countries. For successfully completed studies,
ECTS credits are awarded. One academic year corresponds to 60 ECTS credits that are normally equivalent
to 15001800 hours of total workload, irrespective of standard or qualification type. ECTS credits are used
to facilitate transfer and progression throughout the Union. ECTS also includes a standard grading scale,
intended to be shown in addition to local (i.e. national) standard grades:[1]

Erasmus mundus (2007 2013)

The Erasmus Mundus programme aims to enhance the quality of higher education and promote dialogue and
understanding between people and cultures through mobility and academic cooperation

Erasmus Mundus is a cooperation and mobility programme in the field of higher education that aims to
enhance the quality of European higher education and to promote dialogue and understanding between
people and cultures through cooperation with Third-Countries. In addition, it contributes to the development
of human resources and the international cooperation capacity of Higher education institutions in Third
Countries by increasing mobility between the European Union and these countries.


Tempus is the European Unions programme which supports the modernisation of higher education in the
Partner Countries of Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Western Balkans and the Mediterranean
region, mainly through university cooperation projects. Promotes institutional cooperation that involves
the European Union and Partner Countries and focuses on the reform and modernisation of higher education
systems in the Partner Countries of Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Western Balkans and the
Mediterranean region. It also aims to promote voluntary convergence of the higher education systems in
the Partner Countries with EU developments in the field of higher education. With regards to the Western
Balkans, Tempus contributes to preparing the candidate and potential candidate countries for a participation
in the integrated Life Long Learning Programme.

In addition to promoting cooperation between institutions, Tempus also promotes a people-to-people

approach.Tempus provides support to consortia of institutions composed mainly of universities or university
associations. Non-academic partners can also be part of a consortium.
The Tempus programme is implemented in close coordination with the Erasmus Mundus programme which
provides scholarships to third country students allowing them to participate in top-level Master courses and
Doctorate programmes outside the EU.

Copenhagen Process

The Copenhagen Process has strived to modernise vocational education and training, make it more
attractive and develop Europe-wide approaches such as increased transnational mobility, better
transparency and recognition of qualifications and general internationalisation in the sector, thus
contributing to the creation of a genuine European labour market.

The Copenhagen process: enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training
Launched in 2002, the Copenhagen process aims to improve the performance, quality and attractiveness of
vocational education and training (VET) through enhanced cooperation at European level. The process is
based on mutually agreed priorities that are reviewed periodically. The Work Programme for Erasmus+ for

2017 C(2016) 5571as adopted by the Commission foresees a "VET Mobility Charter" for the accreditation
of bodies with a strong record of successfully organising high-quality mobility for VET learners and staff.

The Copenhagen process forms an integral part of the Education and Training 2020 (ET2020) strategic
framework and will contribute to achieving the education-related targets of the Europe 2020 strategy. With
these in mind, the global vision for VET calls for European VET systems that are more attractive,
inclusive, relevant, accessible, career-oriented, flexible and innovative by 2020.
Based on this vision, the 11 long-term strategic objectives for European cooperation in VET for the period
2011-20, together with the 22 short-term deliverables for the period 2011-14 that provide concrete actions at
national level for achieving the strategic objectives, call in particular for:
the strengthening of the quality and efficiency as well as the attractiveness and relevance of VET;
the realisation of LLL and mobility;
the development of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship;
the promotion of equity, social cohesion and active citizenship.

The Lisbon European Council of March 2000 recognised the importance of developing high quality VET
to promote social inclusion, cohesion, mobility, employability and competitiveness
The Education and Training 2020 work programme (ET2020) was adopted in May 2009. In line with the
Europe 2020 growth strategy and building on the previous work programme ET2010, ET2020 defines the
long-term strategic objectives of EU education and training policies:

1 making lifelong learning and mobility a reality;

2 improving the quality and efficiency of education and training;
3 promoting equity, social cohesion and active citizenship;
4 enhancing creativity and innovation, including entrepreneurship, at all levels of education and training.

EUCIS-LLL (European Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning ) closely follows the implementation
of this work programme, notably with the organisation of the European Stakeholders Forum every year in
partnership with the European Commission.

The Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP) was designed to enable people, at any stage of their life, to
take part in stimulating learning experiences, as well as developing education and training across

Established in 2005, LLL-P promotes a vision of lifelong learning based on equity, social cohesion,
active citizenship and personal development. The platform works as a space for knowledge exchange
between its member networks and uses their expertise to discuss and feed in EU policy -making, making
sure that European citizens have their voice heard. In that sense LLL-P contributes to a better
understanding and dialogue between the grassroots level and European institutions.
With a budget of nearly 7 billion, the programme, which ran from 2007-2013, funded a range of
exchanges, study visits, and networking activities The activities of LLP continue under the new

Erasmus+ programme
from 2014-2020.

The Lifelong Learning Platform is an umbrella that gathers 40 European organisations active in the field of
education, training and youth. Currently these networks represent more than 50 000 educational institutions
and associations covering all sectors of formal, non-formal and informal learning. Their members reach out
to several millions of beneficiaries

The Erasmus+ VET Mobility Charter is intended to encourage organisations that have track records of
proven quality in organising VET mobility for learners and staff to further develop their European
internationalisation strategies. European internationalisation is not just the furthering of learning in another
Erasmus+ Programme country by embedding high quality mobility activities into curricula.

It also involves developing international approaches throughout the sending organisation, for example by
networking with bodies in other countries, promoting the learning of foreign languages and looking
beyond national VET approaches.

The acquirement of the VET Mobility Charter will give the VET Mobility Charter Holders the possibility
to apply in a simplified way under the Erasmus+ Key Action 1 mobility for VET learners and staff as
of Call 2018. It aims also to support the capacity building of sending organisations to organise quality
mobility for learners and staff, whilst at the same time rewarding, promoting and further developing
quality in mobility.

Eligible participants A participating organisation can be: any public or private organisation active in the
field of vocational education and training (defined as a VET Organisation); or any public or private
organisation active in the labour market.

For example, such organisations can be:

- a vocational education school/institute/centre;

- a public or private, a small, medium or large enterprise (including social enterprises);
- a social partner or other representative of working life, including chambers of commerce,
craft/professional associations and trade unions;
- a public body at local, regional or national level;
- a research institute;
- a foundation;
- a school/institute/educational centre (at any level, from pre-school to upper secondary education, and
including adult education);
- a non-profit organisation, association, NGO;
- a body providing career guidance, professional counselling and information services;
- a body responsible for policies in the field of vocational education and training.

Each organisation must be established in a Programme Country: a) the Member States of the European
Union, b) the following EFTA-EEA countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway c) the former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia and Turkey

ERASMUS + Key Action 1 Individual Mobility

This Key Action supports: Mobility of individuals in the field of education, training and youth
The activities supported under this Key Action are expected to bring positive and long-lasting effects on the
participants and participating organisations involved, as well as on the policy systems in which such
activities are framed.
Adult education staff mobility (2017)
School Education Staff Mobility (2017)
Higher education student and staff mobility within programme countries (2017)
Higher education student and staff mobility between Programme and Partner Countries (International Credit
Mobility; Round 1; 2017) (Higher Education applicants should also download the the Dos and Donts for
VET learner and staff mobility (2017)

VET learner and staff mobility with VET mobility charter (Will be available soon due to technical
Youth Mobility (Will be available soon due to technical difficulties)
The Online Linguistic Support provides participants in Erasmus+ long-term mobility activities (Key Action
1) with the opportunity to assess their knowledge of the language they will use to study, work or volunteer
abroad. Download Online Linguistic Support Guide
School Education Staff Mobility
This mobility project can comprise one or more of the following activities:

Staff mobility:
a teaching assignment: this Activity allows teachers or other school education staff to teach at a partner
school abroad.

a staff training: this Activity supports the professional development of teachers, principals, heads of school
or other school education staff in the form of: a) participation in structured courses or training events
abroad; b) a job shadowing/observation period abroad in a partner school or another relevant organisation
active in the field of school education.

These activities are also an opportunity for teachers to gain competences in addressing the needs of pupils
with disadvantaged backgrounds. Given the current context concerning young migrants, refugees and
asylum seekers, particular attention will be also given to support projects that train teachers in such areas
as training refugee children, intercultural classrooms, teaching pupils in their second language,
classroom tolerance and diversity.

As regards students, apprentices, trainees, volunteers and young people, the mobility activities supported
under this Key Action are meant to produce the following outcomes:
improved learning performance;
enhanced employability and improved career prospects;
increased sense of initiative and entrepreneurship;
increased self-empowerment and self-esteem;
improved foreign language competences;
enhanced inter-cultural awareness;
more active participation in society;
more positive attitude towards the European project and the EU values;
increased motivation for taking part in future (formal/ non-formal) education or training after the mobility
period abroad.

As regards staff, professionals, youth workers involved in education, training and youth, the mobility
activities are expected to produce the following outcomes:

improved competences, linked to their professional profiles (teaching, training, youth work, etc.);
broader understanding of practices, policies and systems in education, training or youth across countries;
increased capacity to trigger changes in terms of modernisation and international opening of their
educational institution;
greater understanding of interconnections between formal and non-formal education, vocational training and
the labour market respectively;
better quality of their work and activities with students, trainees, volunteers, young people: greater
understanding and responsiveness to social, linguistic and cultural diversity; increased ability to address the
needs of the disadvantaged;
increased support for and promotion of mobility activities for learners;
increased opportunities for professional and career development;
increased competence in foreign languages;
increased motivation and satisfaction in their daily work.

Activities supported under this Key Action are also expected to produce the following outcomes on
participating organisations:
an increased capacity to operate at EU/international level: improved management skills and
internationalisation strategies;

reinforced cooperation with partners from other countries; increased allocation of financial resources (other
than EU funds) to organise EU/international projects; increased quality in the preparation, implementation,
monitoring and follow up of EU/international projects;

an innovative and improved way of operating towards their target groups, by providing for example: more
attractive programmes for students, trainees and volunteers in line with their needs and expectations;
improved qualifications of teaching and training staff;
improved processes of recognition and validation of competences gained during learning periods abroad;
more effective activities for the benefit of local communities, improved youth work methods and practices to
actively involve young people and/or to address disadvantaged groups, etc.;
a more modern, dynamic, committed and professional environment inside the organisation: ready to integrate
good practices and new methods into daily activities; open to synergies with organisations active in different
social, educational and employment fields;

planning strategically the professional development of their staff in relation to individual needs and
organisational objectives; if relevant, capable of attracting excellent students and academic staff from all
over the world.

In the long run, the combined effect of the several thousands of projects supported under this Key
Action is expected to have a systemic impact on the systems of education, training and youth in the
Programme Countries, thus stimulating policy reforms and attracting new resources for mobility
opportunities in Europe and beyond.

The short and long term mobility of pupils and the blended mobility of adult learners will be
supported under Key Action 2.

What is a mobility project in the field of education, training and youth?

Education, training and youth play a key role in providing people of all ages with the necessary means to
participate actively in the labour market and in society at large. Projects under this action promote
transnational mobility activities targeting learners (students, apprentices, trainees, volunteers, young
people) and staff (teachers, professors, trainers, youth workers, people working in organisations active
in the education, training and youth fields) aiming to:
support learners in the acquisition and the use of transversal skills with a view to improving their personal
development and employability in the European labour market;
support the professional development of those who work in education, training and youth with a view to
innovating and improving the quality of teaching, training and youth work across Europe;
enhancing notably the participants foreign languages competence;
raise participants awareness and understanding of other cultures and countries, offering them the
opportunity to build networks of international contacts and to develop a sense of European citizenship and
promote cooperation in the education, training and youth fields: increasing the capacities, attractiveness and
international dimension of organisations active in the education, training and youth fields so that they are
able to offer activities and programmes that better respond to the needs of individuals, within and outside
reinforce synergies and transitions between formal, non-formal education, vocational training, labour and
ensure a better recognition of competences gained through the learning periods abroad.

This Key Action also supports international mobility activities from or to Partner Countries in the fields
of higher education and youth. In this context, the further aims of this Key Action are to:

enhance the attractiveness of higher education in Europe and support European higher education institutions
in competing on the higher education market world-wide;
support the internationalisation, attractiveness and modernisation of higher education institutions outside
Europe in view of promoting the development of Partner Countries;
promote non-formal learning and cooperation in the field of youth with Partner Countries.

Organisations active in the fields of education training and youth will receive support from the
Erasmus+ programme to carry out projects promoting different types of mobility. A mobility project
will consist of the following stages:
Preparation (including practical arrangements, selection of participants, set up of agreements with partners
and participants, linguistic/intercultural/task-related preparation of participants before departure);
Implementation of the mobility activities;
Follow-up (including the evaluation of the Activities, the formal recognition where applicable of the
learning outcomes of participants during the Activity, as well as the dissemination and use of the projects
Through a single grant application, the coordinator of a mobility project, will be able to apply for one or
several individuals (learners and or staff) to participate in mobility Activities across Programme

ECML and Council of Europe resources

The ECML is currently running the Mobility Programmes for Sustainable Plurilingual and Intercultural
Learning Plurimobil project. The project aims to promote best practice in mobility programmes, using
tools developed by the Council of Europe to develop linguistic and intercultural competences. The
project provides model learning scenarios for trainee teachers and pupils in upper secondary education.
It focuses mainly on the promotion and development of mobility in school contexts, so that learners on
exchange programmes gain maximum benefit from their experiences in a new environment.
Professional mobility also provides opportunities to develop intercultural skills, and the ECML
publication ICOPROMO ( Intercultural competence for professional mobility ) focuses on how to
improve intercultural competence for professional mobility.

Focusing its work on promoting innovative approach in language education since 1995, the European
Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) of the Council of Europe plays a significant role in
disseminating good practice and assisting in its implementation in member states.

These projects are led by international teams of experts and concentrate mainly on training multipliers,
promoting professional teacher development and setting up expert networks.

The overall title of the ECMLs second medium-term programme (2004-2007) was Languages for
social cohesion: language education in a multilingual and multicultural Europe.

Set up in Graz, Austria, the ECML is an Enlarged Partial Agreement of the Council of Europe to which 33
countries have currently subscribed. Inspired by the fundamental values of the Council of Europe, the ECML
promotes linguistic and cultural diversity and fosters plurilingualism and pluriculturalism among the citizens
living in Europe. Its activities are complementary to those of the Language Policy Division, the Council of
Europe unit responsible for the development of policies and planning tools in the field of language education.
The 33 member states of the Enlarged Partial Agreement of the ECML are: Albania, Andorra, Armenia,
Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France,
Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta,
Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the
former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom.

Erasmus mobility

The impact of Erasmus mobility on the professional career: Empirical results of international studies on
temporary student and teaching staff mobility
VALERA Study1 The professional value of Erasmus mobility, a European-wide evaluation study by the
International Centre for Higher Education Research Kassel

The impact of an Erasmus study period abroad for mobile students and teaching assignments of
Erasmus teachers on professional development is the focus of this analysis.

Temporary study abroad is expected to have a positive impact on personal and academic development, but
also to be conducive to transition to employment and career development. Though the impact has been
declining, study abroad remains an important experience for the professional career. Erasmus teaching
assignments often do not last longer than a few days, nevertheless, mobile teachers report a positive
impact on their career.

The Erasmus programme was introduced as the EUs flagship education and training programme and on
the occasion of its 20th anniversary in 2007, Erasmus was celebrated as an important motor for European
integration for which the Erasmus generation is named as synonym. Erasmus certainly is seen as a
European success story. While just more than 3,000 students had the possibility to spend a study period
abroad in one of eleven participating countries in the first Erasmus year in 1987/88, nowadays, the overall
majority of universities in Europe participates in Erasmus forming co-operations among the universities that
enable far more than 150,000 students to study abroad in one of 33 participating countries .This development
illustrates how substantially the Erasmus programme contributed to making study abroad an exclusive
experience no longer restricted to a minority, but one from which more and more students across
Europe are able to profit.

Since 1997, also university teachers have the possibility to teach abroad in the framework of Erasmus.
The teachers, who in contrast to the students in most cases already have a vast international experience when

they leave for an Erasmus stay, similarly tell about their teaching period abroad as being a valuable
experience that has opened new perspectives.

Nearly 8,000 teachers took this opportunity in the first year. The number of outgoing teachers has been rising
constantly since then to more than 28,000 Erasmus teachers in 2008/09.

The primary focus of teaching staff mobility is not the promotion of the teachers professional career, but to
foster the learning conditions of mobile as well as non-mobile students at both home and host institution,
even though this Erasmus experience might also have an influence on the teachers competences and on their
individual career.

Erasmus teaching staff mobility

Characteristics of the participating teachers

At the time of the Erasmus teaching period in 2000/01, the overall majority of the surveyed Erasmus
teachers were between 35 and 55 years old, nearly 90 per cent already full professors or in other senior
academic position ; the overall majority already in advanced stages of their academic career when they
decided to go on an Erasmus teaching period. Many of the surveyed Erasmus teachers have already spent
previous teaching periods abroad, either within or outside the framework of Erasmus.

Impact of the Erasmus teaching period

The retrospective evaluation of the Erasmus teaching period abroad is overall positive. The most often
reported beneficial effects are an enhanced intercultural understanding (92%), an intensified use of
scientific foreign language publications for teaching (71%), new co-operations with partner programmes
at the host institution (66%), improved research contacts (64%) and a broadened own specialist
knowledge. Again, the responses of the mobile teachers differ substantially by home region. In almost all
aspects, the teaching period is evaluated more favorably by teachers from Central or Eastern European
countries: huge differences are for example perceived in the evaluation of career perspectives. 32 per cent of
the teachers from Western Europe note a conducive impact here (versus 67% from Central and Eastern
Europe), a broadened specialist knowledge (57% versus 78%) and developing new teaching methods
(34% versus 67%).

Even though the overall majority of participating teachers were already internationally well experienced and
in advanced stages of their academic career at the time of their Erasmus stay, many teachers report a
considerable impact on their professional career. Regarding the professional impact, there are notable
differences between the asked aspects as well as between regions and countries. Once more, teachers from
Central and Eastern European countries observe a higher influence than those from Western Europe. Overall,
an enlargement of work tasks (38%), enhancement of scientific co-operation (49%) and an increase of
international research co-operation (38%) is reported most often as influenced positively by the Erasmus
teaching assignment. Asked to summarise the impact of the teaching period in general, 52 per cent among
Western European teachers, but 82 per cent Central and Eastern European teachers report a positive or even
very positive impact of the Erasmus teaching assignment.

The retrospective evaluation of the Erasmus teaching period abroad is overall positive. The most often
reported beneficial effects are an enhanced intercultural understanding (92%), an intensified use of
scientific foreign language publications for teaching (71%), new co-operations with partner programmes
at the host institution (66%), improved research contacts (64%) and a broadened own specialist

Again, the responses of the mobile teachers differ substantially by home region. In almost all aspects, the
teaching period is evaluated more favorably by teachers from Central or Eastern European countries:
Huge differences are for example perceived in the evaluation of career perspectives. 32 per cent of the
teachers from Western Europe note a conducive impact here (versus 67% from Central and Eastern Europe),
a broadened specialist knowledge (57% versus 78%) and developing new teaching methods (34% versus

Even though the overall majority of participating teachers were already internationally well experienced and
in advanced stages of their academic career at the time of their Erasmus stay, many teachers report a
considerable impact on their professional career. Regarding the professional impact, there are notable
differences between the asked aspects as well as between regions and countries. Once more, teachers from
Central and Eastern European countries observe a higher influence than those from Western Europe.
Overall, an enlargement of work tasks (38%), enhancement of scientific co-operation (49%) and an increase
of international research co-operation (38%) is reported most often as influenced positively by the Erasmus
teaching assignment. Asked to summarise the impact of the teaching period in general, 52 per cent among
Western European teachers, but 82 per cent Central and Eastern European teachers report a positive
or even very positive impact of the Erasmus teaching assignment.

Impact of teaching mobility at the home institution

Among the university leaders, more than three quarters expect a favourable impact on their
institutions international reputation and more than half of them report that Erasmus teaching
mobility supports international research co-operations with partner institutions. Around 40 per cent
perceive teaching mobility to be beneficial for teaching methods and contents of study programmes or for
international co-operations in study programmes. Altogether, it is interesting to note that the impact on
teaching and learning tends to be seen as slightly less auspicious than the impact on the institutions
international reputation and research co-operations.

The mobile teachers rate the possibility to improve guidance and advice to new students most positively
(70%) followed by fostering the knowledge of other countries (58%). The impact on other aspects more
directly hinting at teaching and learning, such as addressing issues comparatively (41%) or developing new
teaching methods (32%), is seen more cautiously.

Whereas the overall assessment and the influence on the professional career is seen favourably by the
surveyed Erasmus teachers, the attitude and support of the home institution to leave for Erasmus teaching
assignments is perceived somewhat controversially. The overall majority of surveyed teachers report that
teaching mobility is valued to a certain extent or perceived as an individual activity.

Table 5. Assessment of teaching mobility at the home institution the teachers view (per cent).

Teaching mobility at the home institution administrative level departmental level colleagues

is highly valued 22 22 19

is valued to a certain extent 38 38 33

is perceived as an individual activity 33 32 39

is largely perceived as a burden 2 3 4

is not much appreciated 5 5 5

Question C4: In general, how is teaching mobility assessed at your higher education institution today at the
following three levels?
Source: University of Kassel, VALERA

This assessment is in accordance with the feedback of the teachers that only a minority are released from
their work tasks to go for a teaching period abroad. Rather, teaching abroad is handled as part of the normal
professional tasks or as additional work which has to be integrated into the ordinary work tasks. Most of the
mobile teachers (64% in Western European countries, 54% in Eastern European countries) point out that
teaching abroad means extra work without any compensation.

However, 70 per cent among the university leaders surveyed in the framework of the VALERA study stated
that it is important to increase the number of incoming as well as outgoing teaching staff. Furthermore, as

table 3 shows, the university leaders predominantly point out that teaching mobility is highly valued or
valued to a certain extent at the administrative level at their institution. A comparison with the perception of
the mobile teachers suggests that this appreciation might not be communicated in an appropriate way
and should be made explicit and tangible to support and increase teaching mobility.

The Teaching Profession in Europe

Practices, Perceptions, and Policies
Eurydice Report

Education transmits important values such as freedom, self-expression and tolerance, and it contributes to
active citizenship, social cohesion and integration. Education systems across Europe are facing
structural challenges which are aggravated by the economic crisis: fragmentation, underinvestment,
shortages of teachers and new technological developments calling for new learning models.

Teachers play a crucial role in the lives of pupils. They guide them towards their goals and shape their
perceptions. That is why 'Education and Training 2020', Europes strategy in the field of education and
training, puts a special emphasis on the role of teachers from their selection, initial education and
continuous professional development to their career opportunities.
Investment in teachers is crucial, as reiterated in the Council Conclusions on effective teacher education in
May 2014: Ministers agreed that Member States need to raise the quality of the teaching profession
and make it more attractive and prestigious. This means that they have to carefully select and recruit
teachers, provide them with effective education, retain them in the profession, give them early career
support, and offer them regular opportunities to renew their skills and competences, including those
based on new technologies.

The strategic framework for education and training (ET 2020) agreed by the Council of the European Union
now guides policy-related action in these fields. It identifies the quality of education and training as one of
four strategic objectives, stating that 'there is a need to ensure high quality teaching, to provide adequate
initial teacher education, continuous professional development for teachers and trainers, and to make
teaching an attractive career-choice' (1), thereby ensuring that investment in human resources is a key factor
in success.

This Eurydice report examines several issues that crucially affect the quality of teaching in schools, as well
as, potentially, the recruitment of new teachers. In so doing, it focuses on lower secondary education (ISCED
2) in the 28 EU Member States, as well as in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, and Turkey, covering some 40 education systems in all.

This Eurydice report focuses on around 2 million teachers working in lower secondary education in Europe
and on the education systems concerned.
The report examines five areas of primary importance for policy: (1) demographics and working conditions;
(2) initial teacher education and the transition to the teaching profession; (3) continuing professional
development; (4) transnational mobility; and (5) attractiveness of the profession.

OUR FOCUS is ON : Chapter 4 , that discusses the transnational mobility of teachers for professional
purposes, both during ITE and once they are in service. It considers aspects of mobility such as
participation, how it may partly depend on the subject taught, various reasons for going abroad, and
international mobility funding schemes.


The current global socio-economic and technological context has placed education at the heart of Europe's
strategy for sustainable competitiveness and development. Schools, however, face unprecedented
challenges. Not only are they expected to deliver measurable results with reduced budgets, but also to be
modern and forward-looking, offer an attractive curriculum, and prepare young people for as yet non-

existent jobs. This renewed pressure on education systems impinges directly on the most important in-
school factor affecting student attainment, namely the work of teachers. However, the teaching profession
is not as attractive as previously.
The strategic framework for education and training (ET 2020) agreed by the Council of the European Union
now guides policy-related action in these fields. It identifies the quality of education and training as one of
four strategic objectives, stating that 'there is a need to 1)ensure high quality teaching, 2)to provide
adequate initial teacher education, 3) continuous professional development for teachers and trainers,
and 4) to make teaching an attractive career-choice' , thereby ensuring that investment in human
resources is a key factor in success.

This report offers a comparative analysis of different aspects of the teaching profession in Europe, in order to
provide data relevant to policies that might enhance it. The report thus combines 1)qualitative data on
existing country-based regulations (for which the source is Eurydice) with 2)statistical data from the
2013 OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) on the attitudes, opinions,
perceptions, and practices of teachers and school heads, and 3)statistical material from Eurostat/UOE on
the teacher population in Europe.

Transnational teacher mobility

Within the EU, 27.4 % of teachers have been abroad at least once for professional purposes for at least a
week. The proportion is highest in the Nordic and Baltic countries. In half of the education systems
surveyed, less than a third of all teachers appear to be transnationally mobile. In the EU,
12.4 % of respondents reported that they had gone abroad solely when they were already practising teachers,
whereas 5.9 % had done so only during their ITE, and 3.6 % only in both cases. In all countries surveyed
except Iceland, modern foreign language teachers are the most transnationally mobile, compared to
teachers of four other main subjects.
However, the fact that within the EU almost 60 % of the former have been abroad for professional purposes
also means that over 40 % of them have not, which might have negative implications for the quality of
foreign language teaching.
Teachers of science and of mathematics in the EU are the least transnationally mobile for professional
purposes with under 20 % of them in this category. Iceland constitutes a marked exception to these
trends as it has the greatest proportion of transnationally mobile teachers, whose involvement in professional
activity abroad is consistently high irrespective of their school subject.
Transnational mobility occurs mainly in the case of teachers who 1)are accompanying visiting students
(44.2 % of teachers in the EU give this as their reason for going abroad),2) learning languages (39.6 %),
3)and studying abroad as part of their teacher education (37.8 %).
Only 20.4 % state that they went abroad to teach.
Top-level national schemes to support transnational teacher mobility exist in over half of the countries
surveyed, most of them in western and northern Europe. However, the EU programme (now Erasmus+)
is by far the main source of funding. Almost a quarter of mobile teachers went abroad for professional
purposes under the EU programme, compared to a tenth in the case of national or regional
programmes. Furthermore, the existence of a national (top-level) scheme does not necessarily result in a
higher proportion of transnationally mobile teachers. Besides, half of the countries with a mobility rate below
the EU average have no national (top-level) mobility scheme. Eleven factors have been considered together
to evaluate their predictive impact on transnational teacher mobility. In all countries except Iceland,
modern foreign language teachers appear six times more likely to have been abroad for professional
Participation in professional development activity in the 12 months preceding the survey was also a
predictive factor in transnational mobility in the great majority of countries, but to a lesser extent. In 13
countries 1)those who have taught for over 10 years are more likely to be transnationally mobile. Finally,
2) permanent employee status and the 3)gender impact of being a man have predictive value in just
seven countries.
The need to attract more appropriately qualified staff into the teaching profession is a growing



In its Conclusions of 12 May 2009, the Council of the European Union highlighted the need to gradually
expand transnational mobility, notably for teachers, with a view to making periods of learning abroad
both within Europe and the wider world the rule rather than the exception' . In its Conclusions of 28-29
November 2011, the EU Council invited the European Commission to develop indicators on teacher
mobility in order to follow up progress in this field . Strengthening the intensity and scale of the mobility of
school staff is necessary to improve the quality of school education in the Union, as stated in the new
Erasmus+ Programme, the EU programme for education, training, youth and sport (2014-2020) .

The transnational mobility of teachers is important for several reasons. For those involved in it, the
experience represents first-hand contact with a different education system in which approaches to
teaching, as well as its methodologies and organisation, may differ. It is a unique opportunity for teachers to
reflect on their own ways of teaching and exchange views about their experience with colleagues abroad.
Transnational mobility may also help them overcome scepticism regarding other teaching methods, by
providing them with an opportunity to observe their use directly and their impact on students. This
experience may in turn motivate them to gain fresh skills for more innovative approaches of their own.

Conversely it may be an opportunity too, for them to discuss their own approaches with teachers at their
host institution, thereby developing a greater sense of empowerment and professional recognition. Finally,
working visits by teachers to a country whose main language is not their mother tongue is likely to help
them develop their language skills, an asset of special importance to those whose subject is modern foreign
languages. Students may also benefit from transnational teacher mobility, whether directly where they
are involved in cooperation projects using innovative ICT- based technologies or in foreign school
exchanges initiated by their teachers or indirectly, as when the latter are motivated to develop their
teaching skills and impart a more European or international dimension to learning at school.

This can be of particular importance to students unable to travel abroad on their own. Schools too may gain
from the transnational professional mobility of their teachers. These staff may help to spread good
practice, challenging their colleagues by exchanging information, ideas and experience. They may also
support the commitment of the whole school community to virtual or physical mobility (for example via
European cooperation projects). Hosting teachers from another country is also a way of enriching the
experience of the school community.

This chapter provides a picture of the transnational mobility for professional purposes of teachers in lower
secondary education (ISCED 2). Such mobility is defined here as physical mobility for professional
purposes to a country other than the country of residence, either during initial teacher education (ITE) or
as a practising teacher. Private mobility such as holiday travel abroad for nonprofessional purposes is not
taken into account here. Furthermore, the TALIS 2013 survey restricts this definition to periods of a week
or more spent at a foreign educational institution or school, and does not take into consideration travel
abroad to attend conferences or workshops.

The chapter also contains information on overall participation and considers the timing of transnational
mobility in the career of teachers. It examines the main reasons why they go abroad for professional
purposes, as well as the influence of certain factors on their transnational mobility, among them their age,
the number of years spent in service, gender, the subject(s) taught, and existing mobility schemes at EU
level or organised by national or regional authorities.
The TALIS 2013 questionnaire introduced the question on teacher mobility abroad for professional purposes
with the following wording: 'Have you ever been abroad for professional purposes in your career as a
teacher or during your teacher education/training?' No conclusion, therefore, can be drawn from the TALIS
survey on the frequency of travel abroad by teachers for professional purposes, or how recently it may have
occurred. 27.4 % of teachers within the EU have been abroad at least once for professional purposes. In
almost half of the European education systems surveyed, the proportion of the mobile teacher population
in this sense is even lower. This applies to Belgium (Flemish Community), France, Croatia, Italy, Poland,
Portugal, Romania, and Slovakia. The proportion of mobile teachers is highest in the Nordic and Baltic
countries. In the case of the former it is exceptionally high in Iceland, in which over two-thirds of teachers
have gone abroad for professional purposes, and Norway in which over half of them have done so.

In most countries, the mean age of (transnationally) mobile and non-mobile teachers is roughly the same.
This means that their age is not generally a factor with much bearing on their travel abroad for
professional purposes.

Influence of the subject taught

The transnational mobility of teachers may also depend on the nature of the subject(s) taught. In all
countries surveyed ( except Iceland ), modern foreign language teachers are the most mobile compared to
teachers of the other subjects. In the EU, over half of them have been abroad. Modern foreign language
teachers obviously need to train and practice the language they teach. They also need to experience close
contact with one of the countries which national language corresponds to the language they teach, in order to
gain a deeper cultural insight to transmit to their students. For these teachers more than those of other
subjects, transnational mobility seems to be a professional need.

However, the other side of the coin is that over 40 % of modern foreign language teachers surveyed in the
EU have never been abroad for professional purposes, a finding possibly relevant to the quality teaching of
foreign languages

The most mobile groups by subject, after those who teach modern foreign languages, are teachers of social
studies and of reading, writing and literature. Around a quarter of these two groups went abroad for
professional purposes, although this is only half as much as the proportion of modern foreign language
teachers. Teachers of science and of mathematics are the least transnationally mobile groups in the EU,
under 20 % of whom reported that they had been abroad for professional purposes.

The countries with the seven highest proportions of teachers who have been abroad for professional reasons,
namely Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, and Norway , also have high proportions of
mobile teachers that exceed the EU average by 10 percentage points or over, in at least three of the five main
subjects. Iceland constitutes a marked exception to these trends as it has the greatest proportion of
internationally mobile teachers, whose involvement in professional activity abroad is consistently high
irrespective of their school subject.

Purposes of transnational teacher mobility

Learning languages is a very common motive with 39.6 % of mobile teachers in the EU stating that this
was why they went abroad; the same was also reportedly the case for over half of the mobile teachers in
Spain and Italy. Study abroad as part of teacher education is almost as common a reason given, cited by
37.8 % of mobile teachers in the EU and almost one out of two in Italy. Establishing contacts with
schools abroad is a preparatory phase in organising cooperation between schools or visits by students to a
school abroad. This type of mobility generally involves teachers and students in a medium-term project, in
which the visit is a small part of a longer period of physical or virtual student mobility, often using ICT.

In the EU, 32.2 % of mobile teachers said they went abroad to establish contacts, while over half of the
mobile teachers in Estonia, Poland, and Romania cited this activity as a reason for doing so. Teaching
abroad is only given by 20.4 % of mobile teachers in the EU as a reason for mobility. Romania is the
country in which it was most often cited and in which mobility for this purpose came second behind
establishing contact with schools abroad (57.6 % of teachers). Romania is also one of three countries in
which transnational teacher mobility rates barely reach 20 %. Finally, travel abroad to learn other subjects
is far less common than other reasons for mobility with only 8.1 % of mobile teachers in the EU
reporting that they went abroad for this purpose.

Funding schemes Organisation

In the EU, the main means of funding teacher mobility both during ITE and in-service is Erasmus+
(2014-2020), the EU Programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport.Through this programme, both
graduating and practising teachers may get mobility grants to engage in studies or professional development
abroad, and may also be involved in transnational projects entailing their mobility.