6.5 Cross-border learning mobility
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There is no comprehensive top policy level framework for international mobility as the whole educational field is strategically covered by the Education Strategy 2030+, which recognized international mobility as an important and integral part, however, does not bring a concrete strategic framework for it. International mobility is this based especially on strategies of relevant programmes, including Erasmus+, European Solidarity Corps etc. and their strategic and action planning in the Czech Republic.
Administration and implementation of mobility coordination
The MEYS founded a semi-budgetary organisation, the Centre for International Cooperation in Education, which is the state subject for implementing student as well as non-student mobility programmes.
Specific offers of international mobility (especially, but not limited to students of higher education institutions) are provided for by the Academic Information Agency, which works within the scope of the Centre for International Cooperation in Education.
In the Czech-German context, there are also The Czech-German Youth Exchange Coordination Centres “Tandem” in Pilsen and Regensburg bringing together young people from the Czech Republic and Germany with the goal of meeting of young people, creating and supporting their connections and friendships. Among other tasks, Tandem works in arranging and supporting mobility of individuals (traineeships, job shadowing and volunteering) for pupils, those in secondary education including VET, young people, youth workers, teachers, as well as volunteers.
For more detailed information on mobility policies and actions taken by the state, visit:
Mobility Scoreboard, EU/EURYDICE: Vocational education and training
Mobility Scoreboard, EU/EURYDICE: Higher education
Secondary school students have the possibility to choose from the information of the Academic Information Agency (see above): scholarships announced by the MEYS, other scholarships, as well as other events and competitions.
From the Czech state perspective, the main programme for supporting mobility in secondary education is the EU Programme Erasmus+.
In the scope of the Erasmus+ Programme, secondary school workers also have the opportunity to leave with the financial support of the EU, both in the area of general education (general secondary schools) and in the area of vocational education (vocational secondary schools and practical schools); projects in this area are designed to last for 12-24 months; the implementation of the programme and provision of information are in this case provided for by the Centre for International Cooperation in Education.
Apart from secondary school workers, the Erasmus+ Programme also financially supports mobility in the area of vocational education and training, namely internships for students in an organisation of vocational education and training as well as practical training of students in enterprises for the duration from 2 weeks up to 12 months. Within the financial support of the Erasmus+ Programme it is also possible to leave for educational/training stays with the purpose of professional development of workers in the area of vocational education and training, for the duration from 2 days up to 2 months.
Higher Education Institutions
The main possibilities for students mobility include the following schemes, according to the information from the Centre for International Cooperation in Education:
- AKTION in the Czech-Austrian intergovernmental context,
- CEEPUS (Central European Exchange Programme for University Studies),
- EEA and Norway Grants (here it is possible to go to study abroad also during the study at a tertiary professional school or a conservatoire).
We can also observe rising numbers of international summer schools. However, there is no central register of organised summer schools - neither of those organised by domestic institutions nor of those organised by foreign universities. Information in this respect is very fragmented and available only on selected websites. The exception is perhaps the not very well-updated website of the NICM. Often the information is shared among students and active young people in mailing students networks or via social media and social networks, which are often supported or grouped around young people in various youth or student organisations.
Czech higher education students also have the possibility to study for a double degree or in joint degree programmes, in which it is possible to study part of the programme at the hosting institution and receive official recognition of this study not only in the form of recognition of attended subjects and their credit load, but also through gaining two diplomas, or a diploma, which is issued by both the domestic and the foreign institution. Both mentioned cases offer the graduate a certain advantage in the labour market. However, currently, there is no centralised register of these programmes and so it is up to the potential student to find the information on the websites of the given institutions. There are also cases when students initiate by themselves a new such partnership between the universities or HEI.
Apparently, the most well-known programme used for the mobility of higher education students in the Czech Republic is the Erasmus+, which offers opportunities for mobility for both students and employees of universities.
In the case of students of higher education institutions and tertiary professional schools, this is the financial support of study mobility, which lasts 3-12 months, or a practical training 2-12 months long, including an internship for graduates (Internships for graduates up to one year from finishing studies at a higher education institution.).
In the case of employees of higher education institutions, universities and tertiary professional schools this is the financial support for teaching stays in the length from 2 days to 2 months, alternatively for training in the length from 2 days to 2 months.
The main state support mechanism in this area is the political support given by recognising the international mobility of youth as one of the priorities of youth policy in the Czech Republic (see section “Political framework” above).
On the implementation level, this document is followed up by the financial scheme provided by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (for details see Chapter 1.7), with focus, among other things, on important international events and international and cross-border youth and youth work mobility.
Systemic support of youth mobility within non-formal learning and youth work is provided by the Erasmus+programme and its component focusing on youth. Support can be obtained for projects from 3 to 24 months long in the form of youth exchanges, European Voluntary Service, youth workers mobility, or strategic European Voluntary Service.
The Czech Republic is also supporting, via the Council of Europe, the European Youth Foundation, and Czech Youth thus have the possibility to apply for their grants in the scope of their grant scheme. Biannual priorities for 2018-2019 are a) access to rights, b) youth participation and youth work, and c) inclusive and peaceful societies in accordance with the Czech Youth Policy.
Furthermore, there are bilateral and multilateral agreements between individual states in the area of youth. In 2017 there are the agreements with Slovakia, France, Germany and the cooperation within the Visegrád Group and the Eastern Partnership promoted also by the 'Memorandum of Cooperation between The Ministries of the Visegrad Group Countries responsible for Youth and The Ministries of The Eastern Partnership Countries responsible for Youth in Youth Field' followed-up with the 2015-2017 Action Plan of V4 and EaP coordination - youth.
Cooperation and Grant support among youth is also offered by the International Visegrad Fund which is a joint fund of the V4 countries' governments.
'The goal of the Fund is to facilitate and support development of closer cooperation among the V4 countries (and V4 countries with other countries, especially, but not exclusively, outside of the EU, with member states in Eastern Europe, with the Western Balkans and South Caucasus) with the help of grants supporting common cultural, scientific and educational projects, youth exchanges, cross-border projects and the promotion of tourism.'
The total budget for this programme is roughly 2.5 million Euros.
Czech-German youth activities, cooperation and mobility are supported and coordinated by the 'Czech-German Council on Youth Exchange and Coordination in the Youth Field' which is based on the Czech-German intergovernmental Agreement on Good Neighborhood. It meets once a year alternately in the Czech Republic and Germany and brings together representatives of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic and the Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend (German Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth), representatives from youth organization structures (CRDM and DNK in Germany), Czech-German Youth Forum and other stakeholders from both countries active in the Youth field and school exchange. The Council also steers the activity of the Czech-German Youth Exchange Coordination Centre Tandem whose bureaus are in Plzeň and Regensburg.
Since 1997, Tandem has provided various support measures such as guidance, mediation of contact across borders, financial help for activities and promotion of the youth and youth-work mobility to the youth, civil society and education sector. Recently, Austria has also been involved.
Since 2014, is Tandem has operated small-scale financial support Start It Up with Tandem! (Rozjeď to s Tandemem!)
'The goal of the Start It Up with Tandem! programme is to motivate Czech citizens working with children and youth in their leisure time to organise Czech-German youth exchanges. Through this programme, Tandem wants to support the meeting of children and youth in the ages of 8-26.' This programme now enables cooperation with subjects in Austria, too.
Another inter-governmental, international structure supporting Czech-German cooperation including the youth field, youth work and youth educational activities (including scholarships) is the Czech German Future Fund.
Since 2001 there has also been the Czech-German Youth Forum promoting common activities including youth work and youth mobility across both countries.
Since 2008 the Czech-Polish Forum has been in operation, which also provides small-scale support to civil society for common projects, including youth field.
The Czech Council of Children and Youth (CRDM), as a non-state actor, but with significant state and public subsidies, promotes the international youth participation and mobility with several projects, activities and initiatives.
UN Youth Delegates Programme coordinated by the Czech Council of Children and Youth and supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports is a project supporting the promotion of youth participation and youth mobility. The programme started in 2016 as part of the follow-up of the Structured Dialogue with Youth.
EYCA - The European Youth Card supports the European Youth mobility and meaningful spare time activities for youth by providing information, youth work activities and discounts, and in the Czech Republic it has been provided and operated by the CRDM since 2013.
International volunteering by 72 Hours - every October, CRDM organises a nationwide voluntary project '72 Hours' in order to promote and support volunteering, and the international dimension is present every year. With international partners, CRDM provides opportunities for young Czech volunteers to go abroad for voluntary activities and is hosting international volunteers in the Czech Republic to participate in voluntary activities in the Czech Republic.
Czech-Israeli youth workers exchange - every year around 10 Czech and 10 Israeli Youth workers from youth organisations and movements participate in common exchanges focusing on the differences and commonalities in youth work in the Czech Republic and Israel.
International youth mobility and youth cooperation within the activities of membership in the European Youth Forum and Advisory Council on Youth by the Council of Europe (Mandate 2016-2017), within the BBC+ European Youth Councils' cooperation or with other individual partners such as German Federal Youth Council (DBJR), Bayern Youth Council, Saxony Youth Council, Slovak Youth Council, or other partners.
Learning mobility quality assurance mechanisms on the national level
There is no comprehensive national system of monitoring the quality of learning mobility in the Czech Republic.
Many programmes and projects realised also include feedback questionnaires or feedback sessions, however, there is no external evidence to make any valid assumption about the quality in general.
There are only ad hoc research and evaluation activities, which are carried out for example by the DZS, the international research group RAY, which in the Czech Republic is a part of non-formal education, or by some academics (Bárta, Šmideková 2016).
Learning mobility quality assurance mechanisms in HEI
Within the HEI, the 2015 ECTS Users' Guide is used by external quality assurance agencies as the basis to assess the implementation of ECTS in all higher education institutions. Some but not all of the five defined issues are monitored specifically.
Within IVET the country has taken actions that cover the following dimensions
Preparation is provided usually in the form of lessons with a different length and content (content may differ according to the type of educational programme), depending on the organiser and the needs of both sending organisations and especially of participants. For long-term mobilities, online language preparation is provided.
For Tandem (Czech-German mobility)
The language and the intercultural preparation is a part of the so-called 'Preparatory days' before each trip, usually on the spot. The preparation is carried out by certified and trained Tandem language specialists (jazyková animace/Czech-German language animation) who have undergone specialised training on specific vocabulary.
Learners are taught through games and creative activities and training and intercultural education – the 'diversity method'. Tandem puts big emphasis on this form of preparation, therefore during the preparation days Tandem's teaching staff are also presented. In this regard, Tandem requires pupils to write a resume on PC during the preparatory days. They then work with maps, timetables, and the websites of the city, where the mobility stay will take place. As a learning aid, peXmory (memory game) was introduced, for using and teaching technical terms. Tandem also puts a big emphasis on supporting German as a second language (language specialists visit primary schools and motivate pupils as well as school directors and parents).
With Tandem, the monitoring of the mobility stay and the support at the place of the traineeship is carried out by:
- Members of the sending organisation / school (if attending) and the contact person directly at the workplace.
- Often through 'not on the spot' monitoring done by educators, directors of the sending school in the Czech Republic via phone, Skype and social networks.
With DZS, monitoring of the stay process during the stay abroad is ensured by the accompanying person from the sending organisation (in case that the stay participants are younger than 18 years) or by the responsible person from the receiving organisation. These persons also ensure the integration of participants in the host country.
Tandem collects feedback through reports from learners, accompanying persons and sending organisations. Discussions take place with organisers, teachers, school directors and representatives of the regions within thematic and evaluation workshops. With DZS, sending organisations to draft Final Reports upon completion of mobility projects within the Erasmus+ Programme.
Transport, housing, catering
Mobile learners' access to convenient and affordable facilities for housing, catering and transport all along the stay process is ensured by both sending and receiving organisations. All the above-mentioned aspects are standardised by the rules of the Erasmus+ Programme. These rules are set up at EU level and the countries apply them without changes at national level.