Brussels, 10 January 2014
Mobility Scoreboard: Frequently Asked Questions
(see also IP/14/09)
What is the Mobility Scoreboard?
The Mobility Scoreboard is a first overview of Member State policies to help and encourage higher education students to spend part of their studies or training abroad. The report published today, Towards a mobility scoreboard: conditions for learning abroad in Europe, follows the Council Recommendation on promoting the learning mobility of young people, adopted in 20111: Member States committed to promoting and removing obstacles to learner mobility, and to supporting the European Commission in the creation of a framework for monitoring progress.
The report is the result of a feasibility study prepared by the Eurydice Network, working in close cooperation with the Commission and an advisory group of experts from the Member States. It defines indicators which reflect the objectives of the Council Recommendation. The Scoreboard indicators focus on five areas: information and guidance; foreign language preparation; portability of public grants and loans; recognition of learning outcomes and mobility support to students from a low socio-economic background.
Each area is covered in the same way, with maps presenting the most important factors or variables and a set of scoreboard indicators which combine the different variables in pre-defined categories. The model for these indicators is the Bologna Process Scorecard – used in the 2012 Bologna Implementation Report2.
Which countries are covered by the Scoreboard?
The Scoreboard covers all 28 EU Member States, as well as Iceland, Turkey, Liechtenstein and Norway. Data is not available for Switzerland. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYRoM), Montenegro and Serbia are not covered by the report as they joined the Eurydice network in the course of 2013, after the project had started.
How and when was the information for the Scoreboard collected?
The information was provided by national units of the Eurydice Network in response to a questionnaire developed by Eurydice, the Member States and the Commission. The data was collected and checked between summer 2012 and summer 2013.
The Eurydice Network provides information on and analyses of European education systems and policies. It consists of 40 national units based in 36 countries (EU Member States, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). It is co-ordinated and managed by the EU Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency in Brussels, which drafts its studies and provides a range of online resources3.
How were the indicators in the Scoreboard developed?
To understand how the scoreboard was developed, it is useful to look at an example. One of the five areas examined is portability of grants and loans to facilitate the learning mobility of young people.
Two main elements are considered in the report: the proportion of students receiving public support through grants and/or loans; and the portability of grants and loans, i.e. the possibility for students to use them abroad.
The first map below illustrates the proportion of students receiving a grant, ie public financial support that does not need to be paid back. It focuses on Bachelors' and Masters' ('1st and 2nd cycle') students together, and distinguishes between four levels of state support. This is relevant, as if only a marginal proportion of students receive such public support, portability will not be a significant factor in promoting broader mobility.
The second map illustrates the main characteristics of portability in the case of grants. It distinguishes between credit portability (portability of grants for short-term credit mobility) and degree portability (portability of grants for the study of a full degree abroad). Furthermore, restrictions on portability have been taken into account4.
Information on the same characteristics was also collected for publicly-subsidised loan systems.
The information is then transformed into a composite scoreboard indicator based on a colour scheme where 'green' represents full portability of student support and 'red' signifies either no portability or very low levels of student support (less than 10% of students receiving it).
There are three transitional categories between 'green' and 'red'. The distinction between 'green' and 'light green' is based on the finding that restrictions in terms of country coverage or time spent abroad etc limit the portability of grants and/or loans and are therefore a barrier to mobility. A second assumption is that countries that allow student support to be taken abroad only for a short study-period (credit mobility) are more restrictive than those also permitting portability to study a full degree course abroad (degree mobility). Countries in the 'yellow' category allow degree portability of either grants or loans, but not of all available student support measures; while countries in the 'orange' category only allow the portability of student support for credit mobility.
Scoreboard indicator: Portability of grants and publicly-subsidised loans, 2011/12
Not available: CH, TR. Source: Eurydice.
Is there an overall Scoreboard covering the different dimensions?
As the different indicators covered by the Scoreboard do not necessarily have equal value, there is no single ranking of mobility policies. However table below shows a summary of the performance of countries in the different areas covered by the Scoreboard:
Summary of scoreboard indicators
Council Recommendation of 28 June 2011 on ‘Youth on the move’ – promoting the learning mobility of young people, OJ C199, 7.7.2011.
Such restrictions include, for example, limits on where students can take their grants (e.g. portability within the EEA only), limits on the time spent abroad, or the requirement that students need to study full time. The most severe restriction is when students can only take their grants abroad to study if no equivalent programme is available in the home country.