Move2Learn, Learn2Move is a one-off initiative launched by the European Commission on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus programme for education and training, youth and sport. The objective of the initiative is to give young people who have been involved in a learning project the opportunity to travel to another country in Europe, individually or with their school class. The initiative will be implemented through the eTwinning network, which has been enabling teachers and pupils across Europe to develop projects together through an online platform for more than ten years.
This initiative responds to calls by the European Parliament to further promote youth mobility across Europe.
In addition to discovering one or several other European cultures, the young people selected as part of the initiative will also be made more aware of the impact transport has on the environment, especially the CO2 emissions which are responsible for climate change. Participants will need to combine several modes of transport in order not to exceed a certain threshold of emissions. Social inclusion will also be taken into account when the beneficiaries are chosen.
The Commission has identified EUR 2.5 million from the Erasmus+ budget for this initiative. This means that between 5,000 and 7,000 young people aged 16 and older will be selected and receive an entitlement for travel tickets worth EUR 350 or EUR 530 depending on where they live or on whether they will visit their twinning partner class. The initiative is open to all public transport modes, operators and lines (private cars and chartered buses are excluded). Some operators are supporting the initiative by providing rebates or free tickets.
How are the beneficiaries selected?
School classes with pupils aged 16 and over that participate in eTwinning have been invited to apply to take part in the initiative. The National Support Services which are implementing eTwinning in all 28 Member States will help the Commission for the selection of classes on the basis of specific criteria, including the quality of the project they have put forward under eTwinning for the school year 2016-2017, the extent to which social inclusion (e.g. of disadvantaged young people) has been taken into account in their project and whether the class has travelled abroad before. Initially 5,000 participants will be chosen. A further 2,000 could benefit depending on the ticket cost and how many of the 5,000 choose to travel.
How and when will they travel?
The beneficiaries will have the choice to either travel in a group as part of a class trip or individually, depending on the decision of parents and teachers. Priority will be given to class trips. In many cases classes are expected to travel to meet a class located in another country that they have worked with on their eTwinning project. For pupils currently in their last year of secondary education, individual trips will probably be the preferred choice. Trips can be up to two consecutive weeks long and should take place between August 2017 and December 2018.
What is the value of the travel tickets?
Each pupil will be entitled to a travel ticket worth EUR 350. However, the amount can reach up to EUR 530 in three specific cases:
- For beneficiaries who depart from or travel to Cyprus, Malta, Iceland or an outermost region (Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, La Réunion, Mayotte, Saint-Martin, Madeira, Azores and Canary Islands);
- When domestic travel costs to reach the main train station, bus station or airport from which the beneficiary will cross the national border already exceed EUR 100;
- When the trip is a school trip to the twinned class.
Do the trips have to meet any criteria?
Trips may not exceed the budget limits. Furthermore, the trips have to meet two criteria:
- The weighted average of the CO2 emissions per passenger-kilometre based on the distance travelled with each mode may not exceed 200. These emissions are: 14 for rail, 68 for buses & coaches, 86 for medium ferries, 258 for small ferries and 285 for planes. This 200 threshold has been set to make sure participants are aware of their carbon footprint and they use the most sustainable modes of transport available.
- The ratio between the time spent travelling and the time at destination should not exceed 1 to 3 for a trip of maximum three days and 1 to 4 for a trip longer than three days. This is to avoid sending pupils on a long trip in slow or indirect transport which then leaves only a very limited time at the destination.
Of course, there will be a trade-off between these two criteria. One transport mode may be very fast but more polluting while another may be slow but more environmentally-friendly. In case both criteria cannot be met at the same time, the beneficiary will have to choose another location, except in some cases, for instance for participants departing from an island, or when the class trip is to a twinning partner.
How would it be possible to cover more than 5,000 beneficiaries?
The Commission will review on a monthly basis, from August 2017 when the trips start until December 2018, which trips have been booked and how much of the budget has been used. If some of the beneficiaries have not used their full entitlement, funding can then be awarded to additional beneficiaries.
What if a beneficiary has to cancel his or her trip or needs to modify it?
This is possible depending on the conditions linked to the travel ticket. However, potential cancellation or modification fees will need to come from the beneficiary's entitlement. There is no extra budget to cover expenditures of this kind. The Commission will not provide insurance either.
Why do you highlight some transport operators? Are they the only ones which can be used by the beneficiaries?
Certain transport operators are supporting this initiative either by allowing the beneficiaries to travel to more distant destinations, by enabling more beneficiaries to travel by giving them a rebate, or by doing broader promotions for young people for transnational trips, in the same spirit as Move2Learn, Learn2Move. That is why we are highlighting them to provide information on the additional support offered.
However, the initiative remains completely open. The contractor booking the trips can select any public transport mode and any operators and lines (private cars and chartered buses are excluded). The choice will be made solely based on the destination the beneficiary chooses, their place of departure, the criteria explained above (budget, CO2, travel vs. time at destination) and the price.
What is the link between Move2Learn, Learn2Move and the idea put forward by the European Parliament to grant every European citizen a free interrail pass when turning 18?
The Move2Learn, Learn2Move initiative is a response to the European Parliament's resolution on the 2017 EU budget, which called on the Commission to provide "public transport vouchers to young Europeans selected on the basis of a competition".
In its resolution on the review of the Multi-Annual Financial Framework, the Parliament went further in advocating an initiative granting every European citizen a free interrail pass when turning 18.
The Commission has estimated that such an initiative would cost between EUR 1.2 billion and EUR 1.6 billion a year. This kind of funding is currently not available.
Move2Learn, Learn2Move builds on the philosophy behind the European Parliament's idea while ensuring a learning dimension and taking into account the current organisational and budgetary constraints.
What is eTwinning?
eTwinning is an initiative under the Erasmus+ programme, which enables teachers and pupils across Europe to work together on projects through an online platform. It helps pupils acquire new skills and competences, and supports teachers in their professional development. The initiative receives EUR 13 million per year from the Erasmus+ programme. Within just 11 years, eTwinning has already connected more than half of the schools in Europe and involved over 2 million pupils and more than 450,000 teachers.
Why is Move2Learn, Learn2Move only accessible to pupils in classes participating to eTwinning?
eTwinning provides a well-established structure with access to young people and the capacity and resources to run a selection in a transparent and equitable way. eTwinning is present in all Member States and involves a broad range of schools, including for example technical and vocational training schools and schools based in deprived areas.
What are the next steps?
The call for applications was opened in eTwinning on 20 March, with a deadline set on 30 June. The selection of participants will then take place and should be completed in August 2017. Participants will then have until 31 December 2018 to use their entitlement and travel.
Press release: Commission gives a boost to youth mobility in Europe