Mobility in early childhood and school education
Early childhood education
There is an Erasmus+ for Early Childhood Education and Care program, which provides project opportunities for early childhood education units.
Pupil and student mobility
The pandemic that broke out in spring 2020 has changed the forms of international activities in educational institutions, perhaps even permanently. Although internationalisation at home and virtual internationalisation are increasingly common, the most common form of international work in the schools is still teacher and pupil mobility. Mostly that means different types of visits of varying lengths to learn about schoolwork abroad.
The Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI) is the agency in charge of the design of national core curricula and the development of education. Since 1995 EDUFI (formerly the Finnish National Board of Education) has funded internationalisation in basic education, general upper secondary education as well as vocational education and training.
Type of mobility and funding of mobility for pupils and students in general education and in vocational education and training
Educational institutions can annually apply funding reserved internationalisation of education and training from the Finnish National Agency for Education. This funding also encourages the creation of international cooperation networks. The main programmes for international mobility are Erasmus+ for mobility in European countries and Nordplus for mobility in Nordic countries.
Funding may further be granted for development projects that aim at familiarisation with good practices in education and training outside the EU, offer on-the-job placements in international enterprises outside the EU as well as other projects that support internationalisation and knowledge of other cultures.
• School exchange periods from a minimum of 6 months to a whole school year
• Network projects in VET for mobility outside EU
• Schools’ study visits, learning projects and workshops directed abroad
• Placements abroad and studies at foreign institutions
EDUFI is also responsible for a large spectrum of national, bilateral and multilateral programmes and initiatives ranging from Nordic cooperation to international training programmes and scholarship schemes.
In general education the objective is to increase cooperation and mobility between schools and educational institutions and improve the standard of education. Good and versatile linguistic skills form the basis of international competence and this should be provided in education. The flexible Finnish education system enables students to include international programmes and projects as well as studies abroad into their study programmes. A possibility of accreditation adds to the appeal of international studies.
Mobility with different types of visits can also be a part of a school project. In these projects participating schools work on a common theme and develop the quality of school work with partners from abroad. Because of the pandemic, from 2020 onward the virtual cooperation is now the most common way to enhance internationality in schools. The eTwinning Programme linked to the Erasmus+ Programme is an example of a platform that offers schools a variety of tools to assist them in their project work. It is typical for schools to have a variety of international activities on-going at the same time: many projects involve both teacher and pupil mobility and virtual cooperation, for example.
The funding for mobility in general education comes for the most part from the Erasmus+ Programme. Last few years the number of participants has decreased because of the pandemic. In normal years, compared to other countries with a similar size of population, Finnish schools are very active in participating in school partnerships supported through the programme. Also teachers have been eager to participate in mobility periods through the Erasmus+ programmes.
Blended mobility was added to Erasmus+ activities in autumn 2020. Many educational institutions intended to implement blended mobility, which means a combination of virtual mobility and physical mobility periods. This is more common in vocational institutions than general upper secondary schools. In general upper secondary schools, virtual international activities have mostly consisted of students interacting with their peers abroad on various platforms.
Student mobility in vocational education and training
Mobility periods abroad by students and staff members are the most common form of international activity in VET in normal conditions. In 2020 the pandemic interrupted periods of work-based learning and studies at educational institutions abroad or made it necessary to cancel them, which led to a need to develop alternative solutions.
Erasmus + is an important support programme for international mobility in VET. While virtual cooperation was possible in this programme earlier, the pandemic has made it an essential form of internationalisation in educational institutions. Erasmus+ Programme Guide for the 2020 Call for Proposals defines virtual mobility as “a set of activities supported by Information and Communication Technologies, including e-learning, that realise or facilitate international, collaborative experiences in a context of teaching, training or learning.” Also blended mobility is more and more common in VET.
Also government's financial resources are available for international activities and those are channelled through the Finnish National Agency for Education. Vocational institutions can apply these funds for development programmes to be implemented in international networks.
See most recent mobility statistics in vocational education and training (EDUFI).
The purpose of teacher mobility is mainly professional development. It can involve teacher exchanges, study visits or further training. In most of the cases the teacher receives a normal salary during the mobility period. As in student mobility, from 2020 onward the virtual cooperation and blended mobility are now the most common ways to enhance teachers’ internationality activities in VET schools.
Type of mobility and funding of mobility in general education and in vocational education and training
• Mobility project for school education staff
• Mobility of teachers and education professionals
• Network projects in VET for mobility outside EU