Pupil and student mobility
There are several programmes which enable pupils in compulsory education to experience stays in a different linguistic community in Belgium or in another country, within the framework of their studies: EXPEDIS (EXPérience Educative d’Immersion Scolaire – ‘Educational Experience of School Immersion’), ERASMUS+, SCHUMAN, and a virtual exchange program : ETWINNING.
The EXPEDIS programme
The EXPEDIS programme aims to offer students in the French Community the opportunity to attend a school in another Belgian linguistic community or another country for a period ranging from one month to a full school year.
The organisational details and the various possibilities for mobility between different educational institutions were set out in a circular dated 24 October 2014 which was sent to all secondary schools in the French Community. The purpose of this experience is not just to initiate the pupil into the language of the host community, but also to stimulate the discovery of a different culture and an encounter with different social and family situations. The mobility programme may be organised either on a private basis or through a coordinatory body.
In all cases, the departure authorisation is granted by the head teacher. At the end of the individual, private or coordinated school stay, the student must receive a certificate of attendance, accompanied by the timetable of the courses followed, and resume the school curriculum in his or her home school.
On a private basis
A stay at a host school and with a host family may be arranged for pupils in the third, fourth, fifth or sixth year of ordinary or specialised (form 4) secondary education, during the first or second term of the school year, for a period of one to three months.
Such a trip must be authorised in advance by the administration in all cases. Applications must be submitted to the General Department of Compulsory Education by the head of school at least four months before the departure.
The school which supports a pupil’s participation undertakes to ensure that he/she may take his/her examinations and provides support before and during the trip and after the pupil’s return. Regular contact is established between the school of origin (a contact person is designated) and the host school.
During his/her stay, the pupil is welcomed into a host family and/or boarding school and attends full-time courses at a secondary school in the host Community or country offering a level equivalent to that the pupil would have had in the French Community.
The host school proposes a lesson programme which should be as close as possible to that followed in the school of origin, and draws up a minimum timetable of 28 hours of classes.
Through a coordinatory body
The individual school stay of more than three months refers to the stay organized by an approved coordinating body for a school period ranging from 3 months to 10 months (i.e. a full school year).
During this stay, the student is welcomed into a host family and/or a boarding school chosen with due diligence, by the approved coordinating body and attends the host school's courses offered by this body on a full-time basis.
The approved coordinating body shall ensure that the individual school stay includes in the country of origin :
- preparatory sessions organised outside school time ;
- regular school contact between the school of origin and the host school (e. g. via email, a website) organised by the school to prepare the student's reintegration into his or her home school ;
- an extracurricular evaluation session after the return ;
In the Community or the host country, the approved coordinating body will :
- ensure the student's integration into his or her host school and ensure that the course schedule respects the study orientation he or she would have followed in his or her home school during the period of stay and is of an equivalent level of study ;
- ensure that regular attendance at courses is guaranteed.
The ERASMUS+ programme
The Erasmus+ programme for secondary school pupils offers the possibility for pupils to spend a period of study in a school abroad (Country Erasmus+ Programme). Students must be at least 14 years old and enrolled in a school participating in an Erasmus+ strategic partnership. Reciprocal exchange of students between schools/host families is encouraged, but not mandatory. Schools collaborate in the development of educational contracts and give appropriate recognition to the students concerned.
Erasmus+ funding contributes to the travel and subsistence costs (package) of pupils and companions and to the implementation of the project.
Interested French Community schools can apply (annual call) to the AEF-Europe (agency responsible for the implementation of the Erasmus+ programme in the French Community) or via the partner school's national Erasmus+ agency.
The Erasmus+ programme for students in vocational education offers the possibility for students in vocational education and dual vocational education to do an internship in a company abroad (Country Erasmus+ Programme).
Students are welcomed either directly by the company or by the partner vocational training institution (in this case, students can combine a period of study and an internship in a company, the latter being an essential component).
The duration of the internship can range from 2 weeks to 12 months. These internships are also open to recent graduates (who graduated less than 12 months ago).
An educational contract is signed. This specifies the training programme to be followed, the learning outcomes targeted for the period of apprenticeship abroad and sets out the formal recognition provisions.
At the end of the period abroad, students must submit a final report and receive a Europass mobility certificate.
Erasmus+ funding contributes to the travel and subsistence costs (package) of pupils and companions and to the implementation of the mobility project.
Schools in the French Community can apply directly or in the form of a consortium (several schools and a coordinator, the Centre for the Coordination and Management of European Programmes).
Applications must be submitted to AEF-Europe, the agency responsible for implementing the Erasmus+ programme in the French Community. There is an annual call.
The SCHUMAN programme
The Schuman programme, set up by an agreement between the Academy of Nancy-Metz, the Ministries of Education of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate and the French Community of Belgium, offers pupils in their second, third and fourth secondary years (13, 14 and 15 years old) with a sufficient linguistic level the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of the language of their neighbour and to familiarise themselves with their culture and daily life. Fostering autonomy and self-confidence, the formula of an individual stay in these two regions of Germany provides the key competences of intercultural learning.
During the first quarter of the school year, the student from the French Community first stays in Germany or Luxembourg during this two-week exchange. He is hosted by a German or Luxembourg family with a child of the same school level and attends classes in his/her partner's school.
After this first stay, and also during the first trimester, the student from Germany or Luxembourg then stays for two weeks in Belgium with the family of the Belgian partner he/she got in Germany or Luxembourg and attends classes in the establishment of his/her partner in the French Community. Parents organize each other for the transportation of their children to and from school, from Saturday to Saturday or Sunday to Sunday.
The form required to prepare the file, provided to the head teachers at the beginning of the calendar year and by circular letter, must be completed and returned to the Ministry of the French Community. The search for the partner will take place at a meeting of the responsible for this programme in each region.
Funding for accommodation will be provided by the host family, while transport costs will be borne by the family of the travelling student.
The ETWINNING programme
Through the European portal https://www.etwinning.net/en/pub/index.htm the eTwinning action helps teachers to set up distance exchanges using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) between at least two classes in the same country or two different countries.
This virtual exchange programme aims to :
- boost teachers and students’ motivation ;
- raise their awareness of intercultural exchanges, through the pedagogical use of ICT ;
- be part of the main Community for schools in Europe ;
- find partners for language exchanges or exchanges in any other field ;
- access a free and secure portal in 28 languages.
Launched in 2005, the eTwinning action has been an integral part of Erasmus+, the new European programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport, since January 2014.
Exchanges, between classes or between schools (primary and secondary compulsory education), may be set up at the initiative of the head teacher, one or more teachers of any subject or any other member of the educational staff, as part of any course or project, at any time of the year, and for any duration.
The objectives of these exchanges are multiple :
- to carry out, with one’s pupils, a European intercultural project, through the pedagogical use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) ;
- create short or long-term school partnerships in any discipline ;
- complement language learning through exchanges with students from other countries ;
- prepare or extend other international experiences : individual or collective distance exchanges or stays abroad, "Erasmus +" projects, town twinning, school trips, cultural and linguistic exchanges, etc) ;
- training, in seminars and workshops; in the French Community, in Europe or online.
The eTwinning action aims to :
- contribute to the European model of a multilingual and multicultural society ;
- give a European dimension to education, through projects carried out jointly by pupils of different nationalities ;
- to strengthen the professional skills of pupils and those involved in education, in a society marked by lifelong learning ;
- improve the knowledge of the actors of the education system in terms of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) and make these technologies part of everyday school life.
In March 2015, an agreement was signed between the Ministers of Education of the three Communities to promote the exchange of teachers between Communities, through the establishment of the website http://www.teachersmobility.be.
In the French Community, teachers of the permanent staff have the possibility of taking a leave for mission to teach in their mother tongue in another Community in the country. Teachers hired on a permanent basis will be entitled to a leave for mission, allowing them to teach, for renewable one-year periods, in a school in another Community. They will keep their status, their treatment and their seniority in their original Community. Their salary will be reimbursed by the welcoming Community to the original Community.
Temporary teachers from the Flemish and German-speaking Communities, by virtue of their specific regulations, may also request this leave.
The web platform www.teachersmobility.be allows the candidate to register, submit his/her curriculum vitae and indicate the wished Community.
Interested school heads place their job offers in such a way as to match offers and requests and, where appropriate, lead to an exchange between potential educational partners with a view to a possible commitment.
This platform is also intended for temporary teachers in the French Community who, although they cannot benefit from a leave for mission, have access to information on employment opportunities in other communities.
On the other hand, the Erasmus+ programme offers teachers and other educational staff the opportunity to participate in mobility for training purposes abroad, either as part of a mobility project or as part of a partnership project.
For mobility projects (short mobility, from 2 days to 2 months), participants can go and teach in a partner school, take a course or do an observation internship abroad (Erasmus+ Programme Country). The participant signs a mobility agreement that details the training to be followed, the preparation, the way in which the knowledge acquired will be disseminated and the evaluation and recognition that will be made. A Europass mobility certificate is issued at the end of the mobility activity and a report is completed by the participant.
Strategic partnerships can also provide a framework for transnational learning and teaching activities for teachers and other educational staff, provided that they add value to the achievement of the project objectives :
- joint staff training events (3 days to 2 months) : exchange of experiences and knowhow, in the form of site visits, presentations, discussion workshops, joint training ;
- teaching assignments (2 to 12 months) : long assignment period in a partner school to enable staff to improve their knowledge and understanding of other countries' education systems.
Erasmus+ funding contributes to the travel and subsistence costs (package) of participants and to the implementation of the project.
Interested schools in the French Community can apply (annual call) to the AEF-Europe (agency responsible for the implementation of the Erasmus+ programme in the French Community) or via their partner's national Erasmus+ agency.