Swiss actors demonstrate the fact that international mobility and cooperation activities in the Swiss educational sector can be significantly increased in their respective sectors. The challenge does not frighten them, even though support measures are necessary.

The Swiss Federal Council has issued a mandate for negotiations for an association to the current generation of the Erasmus+ programme 2021–2027. By joining the programme, Switzerland has the opportunity to take a decisive step towards more international exchange, mobility and cooperation in the areas of education and extracurricular youth work. This is a goal that is shared by the Swiss Confederation and the cantons (Swiss federal and cantonal exchange and mobility strategy).

Against this background, the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Directors of Public Education (EDK) and the Federal Social Insurance Office (BSV) wanted to hear from representatives from the affected sectors as to how joining Erasmus+ could help them to increase their activities and how great the potential increase would be if Switzerland were to join. This potential estimate is key for the dispatch on funding that the SERI will be presenting to the Swiss Parliament . For this purpose, Movetia organised six half-day workshops about Erasmus+ from 21 to 24 June: one for school education, vocational education and training, higher education and tertiary-level professional education, adult education, youth, and sports.

The majority of the sectors and involved actors see Switzerland’s association to Erasmus+ as a basic prerequisite for a significant increase in international activities. Among other reasons, this is because it dismantles major hurdles. For example, if Switzerland were to join Erasmus+, the following would be possible:

  • Swiss institutions could be involved in international cooperations both in leadership and non-leadership roles
  • Swiss institutions would have access to online platforms for networking and cooperation
  • Student mobility could be administered using standard European digital solutions

The basic message was that if Switzerland were to join Erasmus+, various support measures (promotion, consulting, networking and services) would make it possible to significantly increase and expand international activities.

On the European side, educational actors are extremely interested in working together with Switzerland. The external speakers highlighted this fact during the workshops, as have other actors (for example, the ACA’s letter of support).

Erasmus+ 2021–27 is not merely “nice to have”, but rather the opportunity for Swiss institutions and organisations to significantly increase international activities and to bridge the gap compared to other European countries that has occurred as the result of Switzerland’s lack of association to the programme since 2014. Participants and actors within the Swiss educational system have all reiterated their support and commitment to Erasmus+ to the political authorities.