In July 2009, in the context of the international economic crisis, the European Commission issued its green paper Promoting the learning mobility of young people, stressing the importance of investing in education and training. Among ways of improving youth employability and tackling unemployment, the paper emphasised the role of learning mobility. This was the starting point for public consultation on obstacles to mobility and ways of addressing them. The consultation was closed by December 2009. More than 3 000 responses were received from a wide range of stakeholders including individuals, associations, Member State authorities and EU institutions. The results of the consultation confirmed that there were still many obstacles to learning mobility in European countries. From these results, policy options were designed and, in 2010, the Council of the European Union launched the Youth on the move package of policy initiatives to improve young Europeans’ learning and working opportunities, at home and abroad. The package included a ‘recommendation aimed at removing obstacles to mobility (…), accompanied by a mobility scoreboard to measure Member States’ progress in this regard’.
Emphasis on mobility is based on the idea that learning mobility can strengthen the future employability of young people. Supporting mobility in this target group is timely, as mobility is particularly attractive to young people; they have a better knowledge of foreign languages and fewer family obligations.
The foreseen Council recommendation Youth on the move – Promoting the learning mobility of young people was adopted on 28 June 2011. It identifies ways in which Member States can promote learning mobility across the EU, with 10 key thematic areas for action outlined:
- information and guidance on opportunities for learning mobility;
- motivation to participate in international learning mobility activities;
- preparation for learning mobility, particularly with regard to foreign language skills and intercultural awareness;
- addressing administrative and institutional issues relating to the learning period abroad;
- portability of grants and loans;
- quality of learning mobility;
- recognition of learning outcomes;
- support to disadvantaged learners;
- partnerships and funding;
- engaging multipliers.
To monitor policy progress in the field, the recommendation encourages the European Commission to develop a methodological framework, referred to as the mobility scoreboard. The Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA)/Eurydice engaged in work on a mobility scoreboard for higher education in 2012. In parallel, Eurostat initiated exploratory work on setting up learning mobility statistics. Cedefop started developing a mobility scoreboard for initial vocational education and training in 2015.