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EACEA National Policies Platform


6. Education and Training

6.5 Cross-border learning mobility

Last update: 7 January 2021
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  1. Policy framework
  2. Main cross-border mobility programmes for students in formal education
  3. Promoting mobility in the context of non-formal learning, and of youth work
  4. Quality assurance

Policy framework

The mobility of young people during their training is a priority for the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (Ministerio de Educación, y Formación Profesional) and is present from the very conception of the Spanish educational system. For this reason, the Organic Law of Education (Ley Orgánica de Educación) includes in its preamble the need to increase mobility and exchanges in order to open the Spanish educational system abroad.

In the concrete field of higher university education, the Organic Law of Universities (Ley Orgánica de Universidades) establishes the student mobility as one of the objectives to pursue in the University, as well as the right to recognition of knowledge and skills acquired abroad. With regard to Vocational Training, the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training is responsible for promoting mobility in learning with specific programmes for young people.

Therefore, the central administration, through its ministerial departments of “Education”, “Labour” and “Univerisities” (Educación, Trabajo y Universidades), the Autonomous Regions[1], and the educational and training centres are responsible for promoting mobility by shaping programs and support. In this regard, it is necessary to point out the relevance of the  Spanish Service for the Internationalization of Education (Servicio Español para la Internacionalización de la Educación, SEPIE), responsible for managing the public calls for a large part of the mobility programmes[2].


Main cross-border mobility programmes for students in formal education

In the field of higher education, Spain has specific programs and agreements for student mobility, which must be added to the EU's own plans. Among them, the main one is the Erasmus+ program[3] (Programa Erasmus+). The Erasmus+ is formed by different mobility programmes whose financing is managed by the SEPIE through their calls (Convocatorias), which is added to the support of the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training for Spanish students who participate in the mobility programs included In Erasmus+, and other complementary support arranged by the Autonomous Regions (ayudas complementarias dispuestas por las CCAA para los programas Erasmus+). The Erasmus+ program also includes Professional Training in Erasmus+ [4] (Formación Profesional en Erasmus+). In Spain, the institutions designated as National Agencies for the management of the Programme are the Spanish Service for the Internationalization of Education (Servicio Español para la Internacionalización de la Educación, SEPIE)) and the Spanish National Agency (Agencia Nacional Española, ANE)), formed of the Spanish Youth Institute (INJUVE), the Youth Council of Spain (Consejo de la Juventud de España (CJE)), and the youth organizations of the Autonomous Regions.

For their part, the Autonomous Regions offer regional programmes for cross-border mobility (Ayudas autonómicas a la movilidad internacional de los estudiantes y el profesorado por Comunidad Autónoma​). Those young people who carry out doctoral studies, research, or are conducting a university teaching career can enjoy the aid available by the State Mobility Subprogramme (Subprograma Estatal de Movilidad),  from the Ministry of Science and Innovation (Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación) and the Ministry of Universities (Ministerio de Universidades). In the management of the Subprogramme two stay modalities are distinguished, of which modality B or "Stay of mobility abroad José Castillejo" (“Estancia de Movilidad en el extranjero José Castillejo”) is the modality applicable to young doctors [5], who could go abroad for 3 to 6 months.

Other administrations and institutions, including Universities[6], reach Mobility Agreements and establish Mobility Programs[7] for students and young teaching staff.


Promoting mobility in the context of non-formal learning, and of youth work

Erasmus+ also focuses on non-formal and informal learning. The activities of the Programme dedicated specifically to the field of non-formal and informal education are developed through the Erasmus + Programme Youth in Action (Programa Erasmus+ La juventud en acción), or chapter of Youth of the Erasmus + Programme, which includes: labour mobility actions for youth, youth exchanges, and the European Voluntary Service (Servicio Voluntario Europeo). The actions of the Programme are managed by the INJUVE, as a National Agency, and is structured in three key actions (acciones clave) that, in addition to the actions mentioned, include strategic partnerships in the field of education, training and youth, for the exchange of good practices, and a structured dialogue (youth dialogue in the new Youth Strategy 2019-2027) to encourage the exchange of youth and decision-makers in the field of youth.

The Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, through the General Secretariat of Migrations (Secretaría General de Migraciones), has in place International Mobility Programmes for Young People (Programas de Movilidad Internacional para Jóvenes). This Youth Programme establishes specific actions of training and practices in companies, specialization and entrepreneurship, as well as the improvement of foreign languages for young Spaniards under 35 years and residents abroad, with the aim of facilitate their work and social integration outside Spain. To this end, Spain subscribes to different Youth Mobility Agreements [8] and international educational programs with other countries.

The Program for Young Professionals (Programa para Jóvenes Profesionales), of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation (Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, Unión Europea y Cooperación) establishes a system of selection of highly qualified young people with an excellent level of knowledge of foreign languages to promote the creation of an international career within some International Organizations. The Public Service of State Employment (Servicio Público de Empleo Estatal (SEPE)) also manages the EURES Mobility Aids (Ayudas a la movilidad EURES) for learning projects within the framework of the EURES network (Red EURES). Local administrations also offer advice on international mobility, and mobility programs in non-formal and informal areas such as volunteering [9].


Quality assurance

While some of the mobility initiatives are assessed, there is no general assessment with pre-established guidelines for the evaluation of mobility policies. The projects developed within the framework of the EURES Network of the SEPE are subject to external evaluation and the participants of the programs send satisfaction questionnaires with the programme. In any case, the Spanish Administration, through the former Department of Employment, has been working since 2015, and together with the regional administrations, in a protocol for assessing the quality of services within the framework of the Common Services Portfolio of the National Employment System (Cartera Común de Servicios del Sistema Nacional de Empleo). In it, and with regard to the management of European instruments for the promotion of mobility in VT and learning, the protocol will establish objectives and criteria for assessing the quality of the proposed services, one of the indicators of quality being the satisfaction of the users of the mobility programmes.

The SEPIE, is in charge of the evaluation and quality control (evaluación y control) in regard to the decentralized actions of the Erasmus+ Programme[11]. In this regard, the SEPIE has held a conference on the evaluation of the quality of the Erasmus + Charter (Jornadas de evaluación de la calidad de la Carta Erasmus+). In addition, a Panel of evaluators and project experts from the Lifelong Learning Programme, Erasmus +, the Spanish university system's internationalization programs and other initiatives is expected to be formed[12] (Panel de evaluadores y expertos de proyectos del programa de aprendizaje permanente, Erasmus+, los programas de internacionalización del sistema universitario español y otras iniciativas). Finally, the Youth Institute, publishes an evaluation handbook for youth policies, plans, programmes and activities (Manual de evaluación para políticas, planes, programas y actividades de juventud), as a guide for professional evaluations in the specific field of youth policies.


[1] The Autonomous Communities, competent in educational matters, are fully active in the field of mobility, coordinating with the central Administration the definition and implementation of their policies and programmes through the Sectoral Conference on Education (Conferencia Sectorial de Educación).

[2] For more detailed information you can consult the Mobility Scoreboard of the European Commission.

[3] Erasmus + is the European Union's programme in the field of education, training, Youth and Sport. On 1st of January 2014 it replaced the Lifelong Learning Programme (Youth in Action and the EU's international higher education programmes with third countries). It covers the period 2014-2020, with programs and actions for mobility, as well as for European and international educational cooperation.

[4] For a better understanding of Erasmus + Professional Training, see calls for vocational Training Mobility.

[5] The financing of the State Subprogramme for mobility is run by the Ministry of Universities, through the General Secretariat of Universities (Estancias de movilidad en el extranjero "José Castillejo" para jóvenes doctores).

[6] See Example: Mobility agreement at the University of Alicante (Acuerdo de Movilidad en la Universidad de Alicante).

[7] See Mobility Programmes of the UAM (Autonomous University of Madrid) (Programas de Movilidad de la UAM (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid).

[8] See Example of a Mobility agreement for young people with Australia (Acuerdo de movilidad para jóvenes con Australia).

[9] See Example of Mobility program at the local level: volunteering abroad (Voluntariado en el extranjero).

[11] For its part, the Commission has made a Public Consultation on the Mid-term Evaluation of the Erasmus + Programme, (Consulta Pública sobre la Evaluación intermedia del Programa Erasmus+).

[12] To support the evaluation work of the National Agencies responsible for the management of the Erasmus + Programme, the Commission has developed a Guide for experts in quality assessment 2017 (Extract of information related to the field of youth). (Guía para expertos en evaluación de la calidad 2017 (Extracto de la información relacionada con el ámbito de la Juventud).