Pupils between 15 and 18 yers old are increasingly mobile thanks to exchange programmes (+3% every year). To the knowledge of AFS Intercultural Programs, every year more than 40.000 pupils are coming on an exchange in an EU country and about 150.000 pupils from EU countries are going abroad. The large majority of pupils goes on an exchange programme offered by specialised organisations. Since 2009, the EU has included individual pupils’ mobility within its funding programme ‘Comenius’, after the successful implementation of the pilot action run in 2008.

The Erasmus+ programme is now being evaluated in view of the negotiations for the EU budget post 2020, and the design of its successor programme. Between 2014 and 2016 only 800 pupils went on individual pupil mobility with Erasmus+, with a 54% decrease in comparison with the Individual Pupil Mobility strand of the Comenius Programme. The mid-term evaluation shows that schools would like to engage more in pupils’ mobility but at the same time are struggling with drafting and managing project applications and dealing with aspects related to risk management and support of the exchange students.

The European Commission, in November 2017, has launched the European Education Area, through the Communication ‘Strengthen European identity through education and culture’, recognising that mobility at a young age is crucial to foster European identity and to reach a wider range of young people. The target is 500.000 pupils mobile by 2025.

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