For three years, national agency Movetia has been promoting exchange and mobility in all areas of education and training and has grown quite spectacularly. In 2019, Movetia supported more than 26,000 mobility projects, including 13,500 training visits and courses in Europe within the framework of the Swiss programme for Erasmus+ and almost 11,000 class exchanges in Switzerland. The agency has also developed a range of exchange and mobility programmes serving to generate added value for the education system and broaden international collaboration. Although the current crisis is temporarily curbing this momentum, it also serves to underline the importance of exchange, mutual understanding and reaching out to the world.

In 2017 the Federal Government and the cantons agreed on a shared vision: “In the course of their education, all young people should take part at least once in an exchange or mobility project.” Movetia has been commissioned with implementing this and is working intensively to establish a culture of exchange and mobility in Switzerland. The objective is to enable participants to acquire personal and professional skills by immersing themselves in a different culture in Switzerland or abroad.

Josef Widmer, President of the Foundation Board of Movetia and Deputy Director of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), stresses that “education is a critical core resource at the disposal of our country. And the skills acquired through exchange and mobility projects make a valuable contribution to both individuals and institutions.”

2019, a year of intense labour that has paid off: more than 26,000 mobility projects supported

Movetia has for three years been intensively engaged in promotional work and establishing contacts on the ground. This work is facilitating the development of a significant network with Swiss players as well as potential partners abroad.This work is paying off: each year the number of exchanges and mobility projects across all sectors and degrees of training is increasing at the national and international levels. In 2019, Movetia financially supported 26,262 mobility projects, up 16% on the previous year.

At the national level, for example, 10,700 young people took part in a class exchange programme, 27% more than in 2018, and 244 mobility projects were approved within the framework of the teacher exchange pilot programme. In Europe, Movetia supported 13,524 training visits or courses as part of the Swiss programme for Erasmus+, which represents an increase of 6%. Finally, the 18 projects supported out of almost 80 received as part of the international pilot programme outside Europe continued to prove successful.

2020, a crucial year for exchange and mobility with the ERI and culture dispatches

Although Covid-19 will strongly impact 2020, the trend observed hitherto is not to be slowed down. “On the contrary, the crisis has taught us the benefits of other forms of education, particularly beyond our own walls, and the need to collaborate and network. All of this serves to promote exchange and mobility”, emphasises Olivier Tschopp, Director of Movetia. Educational and scientific exchanges are set to gain importance at both the local and international level.

The dispatches on the Promotion of Education, Research and Innovation (ERI) and the Promotion of Culture in the years 2021-2024 set out the framework conditions of exchanges, mobility and collaboration in the field of education and training for the next four years. The Federal Parliament will be debating them this year. In order to move closer to the objectives stated in the exchange and mobility strategy of the Federal Government and cantons, the financial resources approved by the parliament need to be in line with this ambitious vision.

Exchange and mobility serving the key skills of tomorrow’s education in 2021 and beyond

Flexibility, cooperation and innovation are among the key skills of tomorrow. For Movetia this means maintaining and developing offers and programmes that meet these needs and requirements of a society which, once the crisis is over, is set to place even more emphasis on the necessity for exchange and mutual understanding.

The ground in Switzerland shows us that the growth potential for exchange and mobility remains very high. The present crisis is forcing us to plan for the future by developing key resources within the education system for anticipating future challenges, promoting resilience and contemplating new alternatives. To this end it is more important than ever today that younger generations are given the opportunity to discover the world and its richness of cultural diversity.