'More learner mobility needed to support multilingualism' - results of consultation on future European education programmes
What is LLP?
Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP) is an integrated programme supporting education and training systems on a European level. It offers funding for projects which aim to stimulate transnational mobility of individuals, promote bilateral and multilateral partnerships, or enhance the improvement of the quality in education and training systems through multilateral projects encouraging innovation.
There are four sub-programmes which fund projects at different levels of education and training:
- Comenius for schools
- Erasmus for higher education
- Leonardo da Vinci for vocational education and training
- Grundtvig for adult education
In addition the programme incorporates a 'transversal programme' as well, supporting cross-cutting activities, and the Jean Monet programme for the European integration in education and training.
The current European programme on education and training, called "Lifelong Learning Programme" will run until 31 December 2013.
Public Consultation on the future European programme on education and training
The consultations on future programmes in education and training, youth and international co-operation in higher education together received more than 8700 responses via online questionnaires and written contributions. Most of the respondents were from Europe and active in the fields of education and youth policy.
As a general point, it was mentioned that lifelong learning is still not a reality: there are few learning opportunities in the workplace and the participation of adults in formal education is still the exception. Many individuals still do not see lifelong learning as part of their personal and professional development, which is also related to the reluctance of employers to conceptualise it as such.
Recommendations and main findings
According to the respondant, the main goals of LLP are:
- Improving the quality of efficiency of education and training,
- Making lifelong learning and mobility a reality,
- Enhancing creativity and innovation,
- Promoting equity, social cohesion and active citizenship.
The respondents identified 7 domains that the Lifelong learning programme should be active in:
- Aiding professional and personal development
- Promoting equality in mobility
- Ensuring equal opportunities
- Promoting active citizenship
- Developing social cohesion and sustainable development
- Proctecting academic freedom, students and teachers
- Tackling early school leaving
Multilingualism and mobility
Of interest for language teacher associations is the desire expressed by respondents for the development of multilingualism by supporting learners’ mobility and promoting intercultural competences. This action would help to achieve the Barcelona target that each citizen should be able to speak two foreign languages.
Respondents recommended that:
- The promotion of multilingualism start in pre-primary schools,
- Policy should focus on the basics and conversation skills,
- The personal and professional development of participants and cooperation between institutions/organisations should be the central aims of mobility periods.
As for the funding of the LLP programmes, it was suggested that the budget for the LLP (transnational mobility and cooperation projects) be increased.
Respondents think that:
- Most relevant criterion when allocating the budget should be the quality of the projects,
- Initiatives that foster employability of individuals, activities linked to ICT and dissemination of project outcomes should be given more weight,
- LLP needs to devote more funding to VET and adult education,
- The amount of grants for mobility should be increased.
They also would like to see the future programme opened to non-EU countries, in particular in higher education.
It was suggested the introduction of ‘small partnerships’ with 2 partners, to increase the participation of schools and to make involvement easier for the inexperienced through shorter and less demanding partnerships projects (in terms of time and budget). Also more flexibility for partnerships would reduce the number of projects rejected.
Respondents said that the quality of contents and information about programme rather than administration aspects should be the main tasks of National Agencies and that the assessment and matching procedure should be simplified.
A majority would like to see greater co-operation between general education and world of work in the EU objectives for Comenius.