On 26th November the EU Council has adopted the Council recommendation on the Automatic Mutual Recognition of Diplomas and learning periods abroad which calls on automatic recognition of learning periods abroad within upper secondary education and training, with the learner not being required to repeat the programme year or achieved learning outcomes in the country of origin, provided that the learning outcomes are broadly in line with the national curricula in the country of origin.

EFIL has carried out the campaign #RecogniseStudyAbroad over the past two years together with EEE-YFU, OBESSU, the European Parliament’s Youth Intergroup, EPA, EUROCLIO and KeyCoNet, therefore we see this development as a great achievement  and we are very glad to see that the calls and stands from the campaign are well-reflected in the final text of the Council recommendation.

Now it is time to start implementation of the principles of this recommendation at national level. For this purpose the European Commission plans to launch a Union level cooperation process under the Strategic Framework for European Cooperation in Education and Training to initiate closer cooperation and exchange of practices among Member States at upper secondary education level to to foster transparency and build mutual trust in school education systems across the Union.

Moreover Member states are called upon:

  • supporting upper secondary education and training institutions on general principles and tools for recognition, for example through guidance material or training;
  • promoting the use of transparent criteria and tools, such as learning outcomes-based learning agreements between the sending and hosting institutions. In vocational education and training, extending the use of the Union tools
  • promoting the benefits of mobility among upper secondary education and training institutions and learners and their families.

Based on the experience of the campaign partners and the evidence from EFIL’s study recognition of school study periods abroad in Europe -an overview and policy recommendations’, we encourage the European Commission and the Member states to ensure:

  • the involvement of civil society stakeholders in designing the implementation measures, namely students, parents, teachers and school heads, and the non-profit pupil exchange organisation which run long-term individual pupil mobility programmes since the 1950s, involving at least 10.000 students per year.
  • the adoption of recognition tools that value the key competences gained by pupils through the mobility experience. In fact learning agreements based on correspondence between the curricula contradict the objective of the experience itself, namely learning from diversity.
  • pupils involved in mobilities play an active role in the recognition procedure
  • teachers and school heads are trained properly to be able to promote mobility, set up recognition processes with are competence-based, and assess the transversal competences developed by pupils through a mobility experience
  • Recognition procedures are not valid exclusively among EU Member states, but are the same regardless the hosting country of the mobility. In fact, the current successful  procedures for automatic recognition applied in Member states do not make any distinction among countries of destination.

The European Parliament has strongly supported our campaign for Recognise Study Abroad and keeps doing so by encouraging Member states in taking action to ensure automatic recognition of learning periods abroad. In particular,  the CULT Committed presented an Oral question on automatic recognition of diplomas and learning periods abroad which was discussed on 24th October in the EP Plenary, and as a result of this the European Parliament then adopted the Resolution on the topic. Moreover, the EP has approved to include in the 2019 budget a Preparatory action on Recognition of school study periods abroad to support Member states in the implementation of the Council recommendation.

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