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According to EU Mobility Scoreboard - Higher education background Report, there is no policy framework that defines and sets guiding principles for cross-border learning mobility in Cyprus. Cross-border learning mobility in Higher Education, but also in all levels of education in Cyprus, takes place mainly through the Erasmus+ Programme and for this reason, mobilities under this framework follow the Erasmus+ Guide.
In regards to Initial education and training (IVET) mobility policy in Cyprus, the relevant CEDEFOP website mentions that there is a process for setting up policy targets, but it is limited in coverage and not planned to be expanded. There is a target to involve all technical schools and IVET institutions in Cyprus, in IVET mobility and as many students for long term mobility as possible, but a specific target number has not been set yet.
Τhe responsible national agencies in Cyprus that promote and manage international mobility activities within the Erasmus+ Programme are two. That is, the Foundation for the Management of European Lifelong Learning Programmes responsible for funding opportunities in the field of Education and Training and the Youth Board of Cyprus, responsible for opportunities in the field of non-formal learning and youth work.
As mentioned above, the main programme for cross-border mobility of students is the Erasmus+ Programme. In both school (primary, lower-secondary and upper-secondary) and vocational education as well as higher education, the various mobility opportunities under each sector follow the guidelines, rules and obligations set by the annual Erasmus+ Programme Guide, including aspects of language learning, type of mobility and its respective duration.
As regards information and guidance on cross-border mobility programmes for students in formal education, the official Erasmus+ website in Cyprus (available in Greek, English and Turkish) is a space for all people in Cyprus to explore all available information about different opportunities and calls on School Education, Vocational Education and Training, Higher Education and Adult Education.
For the years 2019-2021, the programme “Chrisoprasino Fillo” (Χρυσοπράσινο Φύλλο) runs between the Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs (Υπουργείο Παιδείας και Θρησκευμάτων) and the Cyprus Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth. It is a transnational cooperation in the field of environment and education which deals with the cooperation of primary schools (only for students of 5th and 6th grades) from Cyprus and Greece. Each programme, as well as the partnerships between the Greek and Cypriot Schools, last for two years. In the first year, exchanges of teachers from the partner schools take place while in the second year, exchanges of students take place.
In addition, the United States Embassy in Cyprus offers a variety of cross-border mobility programmes for students of various educational levels, from upper-secondary to post-doctoral. More specifically:
- The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Programme accepts applications for upper secondary school students. The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship is a fully funded intensive short-term exchange programme, created to foster relationships among young Europeans and Americans to build strong linkages and awareness of shared values. The four-week program enables teenagers, ages 16-18, to explore U.S. foreign policy priorities such as youth engagement, support for democracy and civil society, and economic prosperity. The programs are funded by the U.S. Government and provide a full scholarship for participants, which covers visa, travel, lodging, educational materials, ground transportation expenses and travel insurance.
- The Fulbright Visiting Scholar Programme provides an opportunity for Cypriot doctoral or equivalent degree holders to lecture, conduct advanced research, or pursue a combined program of lecturing and research at U.S. universities or non-academic institutions. The programme provides to its beneficiaries the round-trip airfare, monthly stipend, health insurance and other various allowances. Grants are awarded for one academic semester, a maximum of 4 months.
- The Fulbright-Schuman Programme is administered by the Commission for Educational Exchange between the United States and Belgium and is jointly financed by the U.S. State Department and the Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the European Commission. The program funds graduate and post-graduate study, research, and lecture proposals in the field of US-EU relations, EU policy, or EU institutions for interested American and EU citizens. Cypriot citizens living and working in Cyprus or within the wider EU are eligible to apply. The awards vary from round-trip travel to grants covering all expenses for an academic year.
Cross-border mobility of young learners engaged in non-formal education and youth work is not promoted under a unified policy or initiative. The Youth Board of Cyprus organizes several information days per year targeting schools, young people, youth organisations and other beneficiaries interested in participating in the Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps EU Programmes. The Youth Information Centres and the Eurodesk Cyprus, administered by the Youth Board, also provide information on mobility opportunities for young learners.
Information about the different mobility opportunities in the context of non-formal learning and youth work are available in the Cyprus official Erasmus+ website but there is not a specific platform or web portal that gathers all mobility opportunities in the field. The use of the SALTO-YOUTH platform is very common in Cyprus.
The only existing system for quality assurance for evaluating cross-border mobility is set under the Erasmus+ programme, both for formal and informal learning.
All cross-border mobility programmes, which are funded under the Erasmus+, are required to provide the National Agency with the participants' feedback through the standard reporting procedures of the Programme. The relevant feedback is provided in the form of the so-called "Participants' Reports", which are filled by the participants after the completion of their mobility activities and they are submitted through the reporting IT tool of the Programme.
As regards evaluation of institutions involved in cross-border mobility programmes, this is mainly based on the information provided through their Final Reports (submitted through the reporting IT Tool of the Programme and including the Participants' Reports) and on the data gathered during primary checks, implemented by the National Agency on a random sample. These checks can take the form of desk checks, on-the spot checks during implementation of the Action and on-the spot checks after completion of the action. Monitoring visits are complementary to the above and are only conducted whenever necessary.
The ten principles responding to the European Quality Charter for Mobility, which basically consist the guidance for education and training stays abroad, are clearly reflected in the Programme Documentation: The Grant Agreement, the Staff Mobility Agreement for teaching and training, the Learning Agreement and the Quality Commitment. These documents must be signed by all parties involved in a mobility activity, taking place in the context of a cross-border mobility programme. They are signed before the actual mobility takes place and are complementary to the Grant Agreement signed between the beneficiary organisation and the National Agency.
Beneficiary organisations always receive feedback and recommendations on the quality assurance processes they put in place, as a result of the evaluation of their Final Report or the evaluation of evidence provided during primary checks, in the form of official letters. In the case that - after the completion of the Final Report evaluation - the overall management of a project (including quality management) is considered as weak, resulting in low scoring (anything below 50 points out of 100), the National Agency is allowed to reduce the final grant amount, according to pre-defined rules. The main criteria/indicators to assess the overall management, based on the Guide for experts on quality assessment of Erasmus+ actions, are relevance of the project, quality of the project design and implementation, quality of the project team and the cooperation arrangements and impact and dissemination.