6.5 Cross-border learning mobility
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Greece promotes, plans and implements initiatives, strategies and actions related to the European and international dimension in education and training. Promoting the European dimension in education and training is one of the goals of Greek education policy. For this reason, measures are adopted and actions are implemented that target the objectives of the strategic plan "Education and Training 2020".
International mobility concerns all areas of education, in the context of formal, non-formal and informal learning as well as Youth. Cross-border learning mobility in Greece takes place mainly through the Erasmus+ Program and for this reason, the mobilities in this context follow the Erasmus+ Guide.
The State Scholarships Foundation (IKY) with the no. 28159/Η1/16-03-2021 Ministerial Decision has been designated National Coordination Unit for the implementation of the European Erasmus+ Program for the fields of Education and Training for the new programming period 2021-2027.
Erasmus+ is built on three key actions:
- Mobility of individuals
- Cooperation between organizations and institutions: Partnerships for cooperation
- Support for policy reforms
The Ministerial Decision defines the regulatory framework for the implementation of the Erasmus+ Program.
Between 2014 and 2020, Erasmus+ gave 3.7% of young people in the EU the opportunity to study, train, volunteer or gain professional experience abroad. The budget for Erasmus+ was € 3.37 billion in 2020.
Main cross-border mobility programs for students in formal education
The main program for cross-border mobility is the Erasmus+ Program. Student mobility is supported by the following:
- Action ΚΑ1 - Mobility of students and staff of higher education institutions
- International student mobility
- Intensive short-term study programs
- Mixed student mobility
The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs focuses on removing any obstacles and facilitating mobility for:
- Administrative staff in the field of education
Law 4485/2017, emphasizes the need to give priority to internationalization. It states that the mission of HEIs is among others to promote:
- Cooperation with other educational institutions and research bodies nationally and abroad
- The effective mobility of academic staff, students and graduates
This way they can participate in the European and international academic identity.
As pinpointed in the ″Erasmus+ 2020 in numbers″ newsletter, the grant related to Higher Education, under the Erasmus+ Program, amounts to 25.927.721 Euros. Respectively, for the School education the amount is 2.461.825 Euros. The participants are estimated at 10.399 and 1.148 individuals, for Higher and School education respectively. Higher education students can study or be trained in a company and staff can teach or train abroad. Spain, France and Germany are the most popular Erasmus+ host countries. The most popular Universities in Greece, in terms of Erasmus+, are the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh), the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (EKPA) and the University of West Attica (UNIWA).
The Erasmus+ / International Mobility action offers students the opportunity to travel to partner countries, to get to know different cultures and education systems and at the same time to enrich their knowledge and acquire new, in a variety of scientific fields.
For students the duration of mobility is:
- Studies: 3 to 12 months per cycle of study
- Internship: 2 to 12 months per course of study
- Combination of Studies & Internship: 3 to 12 months per course of study
The amount of the monthly grant is for outgoing students 700€/month and for incoming students 850€/month.
For staff mobility in Higher Education Institutions, the data are:
- Duration of mobility: 5 days to 2 months
- Daily grant amount:
- Outgoing staff: 180€ * (126) / day
- Incoming staff: 160€ * (112) / day
- Coverage of travel expenses based on kilometer distance
Foreign Language Learning provides Online Language Support (OLS), a European Commission online tool that enables students, who have one of the six languages of instruction or work (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch), to evaluate and improve their language competency. Specifically, students who have been selected and are going to travel for studies or internship, before the beginning of their mobility period, they are required to take an assessment of their language skills through an online language assessment test.
At the level of bilateral collaborations and learning agreements, the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens organizes ΘΥΕΣΠΑ (Summer Course in Modern Greek Studies) a summer scholarship program of Greek Studies, which aims to familiarize foreign Hellenists with Modern Greek Culture, Modern Greek Language, Literature, History and Art. It is addressed to undergraduate or postgraduate students and members of the teaching staff of the departments of foreign universities, in which cognitive subjects related to Greek studies are taught. The program is supported by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, the State Scholarships Foundation, the Greek Parliament, the National Tourist Board (EOT) and local government bodies.
Other private institutions that offer programs and actions of international mobility are:
The Fulbright Foundation offers opportunities for international mobility to students of the Greek formal education system. Specifically,
- Fulbright Student Program
It is addressed to PhD candidates enrolled in a Greek university, who could benefit from a short stay in the United States for the purposes of their research. At the same time, it is addressed to graduates of Greek higher education institutions of the university sector who have achieved excellent academic performance. Scholarships are awarded for the first academic year in the United States and for most postgraduate science fields.
- Summer Training Programs for Undergraduate Students
They are addressed to undergraduate students of Greek higher education institutions of university and technology sector aged 18-25 and have a duration of five weeks.
The Bodosaki Foundation, in which two scholarship programs are implemented every year:
- The regular Scholarship Program (for postgraduate and doctoral studies)
- The Postdoctoral Scholarship Program in memory of "Stamatis G. Mantzavinou"
The Onassis Foundation implements a comprehensive and meritocratic program that allows Greek and foreign scientists to continue their studies and advance their research. Scholarship Programs for Greeks and foreigners are announced every year based on the strategic planning of the Foundation.
Regarding Vocational Education, the Strategic Planning of the Education Sector, through the National reforms in Vocational Education, Training and adult Learning 2022-2024, set as a strategic goal the strengthening of mobility and the utilization of collaborations. Among others, the following are expected:
- To support vocational education and training services and other organizations active in the Vocational Education & Training (VET) for the organization of learning mobility activities for trainees and the staff of VEΤ
- To provide support for a wide range of activities, including job monitoring and training courses, internships and long-term work experience (ErasmusPro)
- To develop extroversion actions with the establishment of foreign language departments
Similarly, in the direction of Vocational Education and Training, Action KA1 highlights opportunities and possibilities to improve the knowledge and skills of people working or apprentices in the field of Vocational Education and Training. Mobility plans provide staff and pupils/apprentices of beneficiaries with the opportunity to carry out transnational mobility to another country of the Program in order to study, train, work, teach, train and develop professional skills and qualifications.
The bodies that can participate in the action are:
- Public or private body active in the field of Vocational Education and Training
- Public or private body active in the labor market or in the fields of Education and Training
- School / Institute / Vocational Training Center
- Public or private, small, medium or large enterprise (including social enterprises)
- Social partner or another representative of working life, including chambers of commerce, professional / craft associations
- Public body at local, regional or national level
- Vocational Senior High School, Vocational School, Vocational Training Institute
- Policy body in the field of Vocational Education and Training
Promoting mobility in the context of non-formal learning and of youth work
There are no initiatives or integrated policies regarding the cross-border mobility of people attending non-formal learning structures. Information on the different mobility opportunities in the context of non-formal learning and work for young people is available on the official Erasmus+ website of Greece.
The Erasmus+ program, in the framework of action KA1, supports mobility activities of adult learners returning to education.
One tool for a new Programming period is Erasmus Accreditation. Erasmus Accreditation is linked to Mobility Action (KA1) in the new 2021-2027 program and aims to reduce the administrative burden on applicants applying for mobility. In particular, it aims to prevent organizations from submitting a new application for mobility per Call for Proposals, in which to describe the development strategy of the organization under which to apply for a grant.
Erasmus Accreditation is a useful tool for School, Vocational and Adult Education and Training organizations wishing to engage in cross-border exchanges and strategic partnerships, as it enables those who choose to remain in the new program for a number of years, organizing mobility activities through simplified funding applications. As reflected in the Strategic Plan for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth 2022-2024, so far 8 Institutions of Vocational Training (IEK) have received Erasmus Accreditation.
The system on which quality assurance is based is defined under the Erasmus+ Program, for both formal, non-formal and informal learning.
Erasmus Accreditation for the period 2021-2027, includes reporting and monitoring of institutions to ensure quality. At the end of each grant agreement approved under the Erasmus Accreditation Framework, the accredited body will submit a termination report on the activities and objectives implemented.
The National Agency may organize formal audits, follow-up visits, or other activities to monitor the progress and performance of accredited bodies, ensure compliance with agreed quality standards, and provide support.
Formal audits may take the form of documentary checks or visits to the accredited body, members of the consortium, supporting bodies and any other establishment where the relevant activities take place. The National Agency may request the assistance of National Agencies of other countries to control and monitor activities that take place there.
In case of newly accredited applicants and high-risk organizations or in case of non-compliance with the National Agency's guidelines and deadlines, very low performance results from reporting, monitoring and quality assurance controls, or breaches of program rules (including and in the framework of another action), the National Agency may take the following corrective measures:
- Surveillance: The National Agency may limit the amount of funding that the accredited body can apply for actions that require Erasmus Accreditation.
Newly accredited bodies may be placed under surveillance if a risk of inadequate implementation is identified as part of the operational competency check, or if the application review officers point out serious weaknesses in the applicant's Erasmus project.
Suspension: organizations whose accreditation has been suspended may not apply for funding for actions requiring Erasmus accreditation. The National Agency may also terminate some or all of the current grant agreements based on suspended accreditation.