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European Quality Charter for Mobility
Focusing on the quality aspects of mobility, the European Quality Charter for Mobility constitutes a reference document for stays abroad in order to ensure that participants, both young people and adults, have a positive experience. Its scope covers stays by young people and adults for the purposes of both formal and non-formal learning and hence for their personal and professional development. It offers guidance designed to respond to participants' expectations and the legitimate requirements of education bodies and institutions. The Charter thus provides a better framework for free movement of persons in the field of education and training, so as to consolidate the creation of a true European area of education and training and enhance economic, social and regional cohesion.
Recommendation (EC) No 2006/961 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on transnational mobility within the Community for education and training purposes: European Quality Charter for Mobility [Official Journal L 394 of 30.12.2006].
The European Quality Charter for Mobility constitutes the quality reference document for education and training stays abroad. It complements, from the quality point of view, the 2001 Recommendation on mobility for students, persons undergoing training, volunteers, teachers and trainers and has the same scope.
The Charter is addressed to the Member States, particularly their organisations responsible for stays abroad, and provides guidance on mobility arrangements for learning or other purposes, such as professional betterment, to both young and adult participants. This is in order to enhance personal and professional development. By involving the stakeholders more, it also aims to improve the quality and efficiency of education and training systems.
It should help to ensure that mobility participants always have a positive experience both in the host country and in their country of origin on their return, and that the number and depth of education and training exchanges are stepped up. It offers guidance designed to respond to:
- participants' expectations as regards pre-departure information, suitable infrastructure in the host country and the exploitation of acquired knowledge following their return to their country of origin;
- the legitimate requirements of education bodies and institutions, mainly in the host country, which expect that mobility participants will not arrive without being properly prepared and that their mobility period will be positive both for themselves and for the host body, institution or company.
This guidance consists of ten principles implemented on a voluntary and flexible basis, being adaptable to the nature and peculiarities of each stay. These principles are:
- information and guidance: every candidate should have access to clear and reliable sources of information and guidance on mobility and the conditions in which it can be taken up, including details of the Charter itself and the roles of sending and hosting organisations;
- learning plan: a plan is drawn up and signed by the sending and hosting organisations and participants before every stay for education or training purposes. It must describe the objectives and expected outcomes, the means of achieving them, and evaluation, and must also take account of reintegration issues;
- personalisation: mobility must fit in with personal learning pathways, skills and motivation of participants, and should develop or supplement them;
- general preparation: before departure, participants should receive general preparation tailored to their specific needs and covering linguistic, pedagogical, legal, cultural or financial aspects;
- linguistic aspects: language skills make for more effective learning, intercultural communication and a better understanding of the host country's culture. Arrangements should therefore include a pre-departure assessment of language skills, the possibility of attending courses in the language of the host country and/or language learning and linguistic support and advice in the host country;
- logistical support: this could include providing participants with information and assistance concerning travel arrangements, insurance, the portability of government grants and loans, residence or work permits, social security and any other practical aspects;
- mentoring: the hosting organisation should provide mentoring to advise and help participants throughout their stay, also to ensure their integration;
- recognition: if periods of study or training abroad are an integral part of a formal study or training programme, the learning plan must mention this, and participants should be provided with assistance regarding recognition and certification. For other types of mobility, and particularly those in the context of non-formal education and training, certification by an appropriate document, such as the Europass, is necessary;
- reintegration and evaluation: on returning to their country of origin, participants should receive guidance on how to make use of the competences acquired during their stay and, following a long stay, any necessary help with reintegration. Evaluation of the experience acquired should make it possible to assess whether the aims of the learning plan have been achieved;
- commitments and responsibilities: the responsibilities arising from these quality criteria must be agreed and, in particular, confirmed in writing by all sides (sending and hosting organisations and participants).
Implementation of the Charter includes the elimination by the Member States of mobility obstacles and the provision of support and infrastructures to help raise education and training levels in the European Union (EU). It also includes measures to promote mobility by providing easily accessible information.
The Commission is called upon to encourage application of the Charter in the Member States, to continue to cooperate with the Member States and social partners, particularly with regard to the exchange of information and experience relating to the implementation of measures, and to develop statistical data on mobility.
Implementation of the Charter and its evaluation are part of the Education and Training 2010 work programme.
Mobility has an important impact in that, as part of the freedom of movement of persons, it is a means of promoting employment, reducing poverty, and promoting active European citizenship by improving mutual and intercultural understanding in the EU and boosting economic, social and regional cohesion.
As an objective of the Education and Training 2010 work programme, mobility contributes to the creation of the European Area of Education and Training and plays an essential part in achieving the Lisbon strategic objectives. Mobility and an increase in exchanges are promoted through measures such as the 2000 action plan for mobility and the above-mentioned 2001 Recommendation on mobility for students, persons undergoing vocational training, volunteers and teachers, as well as events such as the 2006 European Year of Worker's Mobility. The Charter consolidates and complements these measures and the Erasmus Student Charter from the quality point of view.