Movetia, the national agency for the promotion of exchange and mobility, is responsible, as from 2017, for awarding funding for educational periods to be spent abroad and educational projects within the framework of the Swiss Interim Solution for Erasmus+. Switzerland is now taking part only indirectly in this European programme. In June, Movetia concluded the approval of the submitted European mobility projects as planned and earmarked 25.7 million francs for educational periods or traineeships abroad.
Exchange and mobility facilitate important personal and professional experience and, therefore, improve social and work-related skills and employability. At institutional level, European mobility promotes the internationalisation of education and economy. Moreover, the national programmes help to strengthen multilingualism and mutual understanding and, because of that, national solidarity in Switzerland. For this reason, exchange and mobility is promoted and supported by the Confederation and the cantons.
In vocational education and training, 1,007 mobility opportunities to Europe have been approved. That is 18% more than in previous years. Three-quarters of the project promoters are vocational training schools. Nearly 90% of mobility participants are apprentices and students in vocational education or vocational school leavers. In this sphere, the efforts of the last few years are paying off: many vocational schools have formed networks internationally, in some cases with funded mobility opportunities for teachers within the framework of the Interim Solution for Erasmus+. In these networks, they can now offer mobility opportunities to their students or trainees. In addition, various cantons have invested in coordination centres. In the future, Movetia wants to step up cooperation with professional associations and businesses in order to further strengthen mobility in professional education.
In tertiary education, a total of 5,078 mobility opportunities in European countries have been approved, a 6% increase compared to the Call 2016. The biggest rise was recorded for traineeships or internships abroad, which now account for around 15% of mobility opportunities at tertiary level. On the other hand, the classic exchange semester, which is celebrating its 30 years of existence across Europe in 2017, is stagnating. They now account for 67% of mobility opportunities. The reason for this is probably the more difficult conditions for Swiss universities since the exclusion from the EU Programme for Education. Mobility opportunities within the framework of the Swiss Interim Solution are organised outside of the established Erasmus+ framework and are laid down in bilateral agreements. The remaining 19% of mobility opportunities were approved for university staff.
Mobility opportunities within the framework of the Swiss Interim Solution for Erasmus+ are possible in three further areas: in school education, 70 mobility opportunities were approved; in adult education, the figure was 42. These mainly involve continuing education/training courses and job-shadowing. These figures are comparatively low. Movetia wants to improve them with various process optimisation and communication measures. The Youth in Action programme, which promotes and supports extra-curricular youth work, is still open to further applications. However, a slight increase is already becoming apparent now. The objective is to promote, in particular, youth exchanges more strongly.
National exchange follows a different schedule. Applications are also still possible for the class exchange or holiday exchange programmes. Following two out of three Calls this year, Movetia has already funded more than 396 classes involving 5,362 school pupils with a total sum of 312,210 CHF and found places for 138 young people for the holiday exchange.
Approved – funded: All the figures given refer to applications and approvals. The number of mobility opportunities that will actually be taken up will be evident in three years’ time at the latest when the project ends. Experience shows that the actual figures for the funded mobility opportunities are around 5 % below the approved sums.
Outgoing – incoming: Within the framework of the Swiss Interim Solution for Erasmus+, it is mainly mobility opportunities from Switzerland to Europe (outgoing) that are financed. In order to ensure the necessary reciprocity as non-associated State, mobility opportunities from Europe to Switzerland (incoming) are also supported.