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The school period spent abroad is not recognised in many European countries; this means that often students need to attend an additional year of school, once back in their home country.
EFIL and EEE-YFU are launching the campaign for the recognition of the study period abroad. Partners are EPA,EUROCLIO, KeyCoNet and OBESSU. The campaign was launched on 11 April on the occasion of the European Policy Networks Conference, in Brussels. The objective of the campaign #RecogniseStudyAbroad is to raise awareness among policy-makers and educational stakeholders about the lack of recognition of long-term pupil exchanges.
Lack of recognition is a great barrier of access to school exchange programmes and to mobility in general: students and their parents are afraid of ‘losing a year’ and falling behind, and teachers and heads of schools often discourage students’ participation in study abroad programmes, or only allow academically high achieving students to participate, as they are believed to be the only students whose school career will not be negatively impacted.
Recognising the school period spent abroad means:
> Providing equal access to diverse learning opportunities. Often the only pupils that are given the opportunity to study abroad are the ones that are already performing well at school. This lack of equal access to learning opportunities is a concern for social inclusion in education.
> Making the European job market a reality, also for families. Parents often have to reconsider professional opportunities in other countries, since their career abroad may have a negative impact on the school path of their children.
> Supporting schools in the process of internationalisation. With student’s mobility being promoted in political discourse but study periods abroad not being officially recognised by national law, schools are not supported enough by policy in their internationalisation.
> Improving the implementation of key competences in school education. The recognition of the school year abroad implies a shift from “traditional” content-based curricula to a competence-based approach, which recognises “real-world learning”.
The campaign will develop in different steps: letters to policy makers and to schools will be disseminated, a website page will be created to collect testimonies of students, parents, and teachers; and the issue of the recognition of school abroad will be raised and presented in diverse events (for example the European Youth Event, the EFIL Forum on Intercultural Learning and Exchange, the LLLPlatform Conference, the Lifelong Learning Week).
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