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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Mobility in early childhood and school education


13.Mobility and internationalisation

13.1Mobility in early childhood and school education

Last update: 30 March 2024

Pupil and student mobility

Student mobility takes place through bilateral cooperation, partnerships or twinning between schools in Portugal and non-EU countries, as well as via EU education and training programmes, such as Erasmus+.

The European Commission is responsible for implementing the Erasmus+ Programme 2021-2027, following on from the previous European programmes for education and training, namely the Lifelong Learning Programme (2007-2013) and the Erasmus+ Programme (2014-2020).

In Portugal, the Programme is implemented by two national agencies indirectly managed: the National Agency for Erasmus+ Youth in Action (for the youth and sports sectors) and the National Agency for Erasmus+ Education and Training (for the areas of school education, vocational education and training and adult education).

With regard to Erasmus+ in school and vocational education and training sectors, participation is organised by schools and other organisations in the respective sectors, both public and private. 

The Agency promotes and manages the Erasmus+ 2021-2027 Programme in Portugal, as well as managing and implementing the activities still in force from previous programmes and the Europass Initiative. 

It supports the internationalisation of vocational education and training to encourage the creation of and participation in European networks of vocational education and training institutions. Its objectives are in line with the "European Universities" initiative, as well as aiming to strengthen the international attractiveness of VET institutions.

In education and training, youth and sports fields, the Erasmus+ 2021-2027 programme specifically focusses on individuals’ and groups’ learning mobility, young people’s active participation in society, as well as cooperation, quality, inclusion and equity, excellence, creativity and innovation in education and training organisations and policies.

School education

The mobility of school students under Erasmus+ is implemented through Key Action 1 - Learning Mobility of Individuals. This involves short-term projects or those of accredited bodies. They are designed for pupils, students, trainees, apprentices, young people, adults who wish acquire skills (knowledge, competences and skills, including language skills), improve their personal, social, educational and professional development, boost employability and improve career prospects.

The period of student mobility in this sector can vary, depending on the format.

Participants undertake: (i) online and face-to-face activities in the host country (physical mobility); (ii) online activities in the country of their home institution, before travelling to the host country for face-to-face activities (blended mobility); (iii) exclusively online activities in the country of their home institution, without travelling (virtual mobility). Mobility can only be 100% virtual in situations of force majeure validated by the National Agency.

Another project is eTwinning, which is the responsibility of the Directorate General of Education in Portugal and is co-funded by Erasmus+. 

The eTwinning that began in 2005, and which in Portugal is the responsibility of the Directorate General of Education, is part of the Erasmus+ programme and has played an important role in supporting partnerships, development and the consolidation of projects.

The eTwinning projects are an excellent opportunity to promote inclusive education (Decree-Law No 54/2018, 6 July), meeting the different needs and potential of each students through greater participation in the learning processes and the educational community, where it is still possible to achieve precepts in the National Strategy of Education for Citizenship (2017).

Authorities responsible for organising and coordinating

The organisation, management and coordination of the Erasmus+ Programme in the education and training sector is the responsibility of the Erasmus+ Education and Training National Agency.

They are also responsible for their own projects, including managing the allocated funding, the development of project activities (local and transnational), as well as hosting partners, the organisation and procedural aspects associated with safety of participants, monitoring information, dissemination and reporting to the National Agency.

Vocational education and training (VET)

In the VET sector, the mobility of trainees is supported via participation in the Erasmus+ Programme, both in Key Action 1: Learning Mobility of Individuals, in the following forms: (i) Short-term and long-term learning mobility of VET learners (ErasmusPro) including “Digital Opportunity Traineeships”; (ii) Participation in VET skills competitions, which assess skills and competences. 

The duration of learners’ mobility in VET can be varied, according to the format. 
These activities aim to contribute to achieving the target of 8 % of learners who benefit from mobility abroad, as set out in the Council Recommendation on vocational education and training in 2020, as well as the result of Osnabrück Declaration, especially Objective 4 on the international dimension of VET.

The period of student mobility in VET can vary, depending on the format.

Participating organisations must actively promote the Programme's horizontal priorities of inclusion and diversity, environmental sustainability, digital education and civic engagement and participation through their activities.

Authorities responsible for organisation and coordination

In the education and training sector, the organisation, management and national coordination of the Erasmus+ Programme is the responsibility of the Erasmus+ Education and Training National Agency.

Projects can be coordinated by any public or private organisation active in VET, that sends trainees to Europe, or the coordinator of a national mobility consortium.

The following types of organisations are eligible: VET organisations (initial or continuing); local and regional public authorities; co-ordinating bodies and other organisations with a role in the VET sector, companies and other public or private organisations that host, train or otherwise work with apprentices and learners in VET programmes.  
Beneficiary bodies are responsible for their own projects, managing funding, local and transnational project activities, hosting partners, the organisation and procedural aspects associated with the safety and well-being of participants, monitoring information, dissemination and reporting to the National Agency. 

Validation and recognition

Individual mobility, more specifically, the learning outcomes obtained by the participant, after the activity, are recognised via the issue of a Europass Mobility certificate or similar document by the partners. It can, however, be established that the internship corresponds to the trainee’s curricular internship. The validation of group mobility maintains the same principle, with some adaptations.

Teacher mobility

Teacher mobility in Europe is seen as an important measure for the internationalisation regarding European education and training programmes.

In the Erasmus+ Programme there have always been actions specifically geared towards this type of mobility in all sectors.

School education

As part of Erasmus+ Programme, Key Action 1: Learning Mobility of Individuals, the mobility of teachers, trainers or other staff can involve three types of eligible activities: a structured course, or a similar kind of training, job shadowing or training assignment in a European country. 
The mobility period can be extended, allowing mobility flows to occur at the appropriate time.
The period of staff mobility in school education can vary, depending on the format.

Following these training mobility projects, the eTwinning project offered basic and upper secondary school teachers an extension of initiated partnerships and the opportunity to use methodologies that developed of the principles, values and competence featured in the Exit Profile of Students Finishing Compulsory Education. Projects have a time span of 12 to 24 months, depending on the needs of the candidate organisation. This time period also allows schools to become a benchmark by obtaining the eTwinning school seal, which distinguishes educational establishments where eTwinning has made a contribution.

Recent graduates or higher education students of study areas linked to education and teaching can participate in the programme via student hosting of teachers and educator in training.
Regarding Key Action 2 it's worth highlighting two recent initiatives of the Programme, which are Erasmus+ Teacher Academies, managed by the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) and the Partnerships for Excellence, specifically designed to support teachers and trainers throughout their career, promoting greater cooperation in terms of their initial and continuing training. 

Vocational education and training (VET)

Key Action 1 for the VET sector also covers the mobility of trainees and the mobility of trainers and staff from vocational training organisations and/or companies. 

For education staff, the following mobility projects are available as part of short-term projects and accredited projects: job shadowing, teaching and training assignments, structured courses, or a similar kind of training. Apart from these, other activities are eligible, such the chance to invite experts and hosting teachers and educators in training. It is also possible to organise preparatory visits.
Staff mobility in vocational education and training (VET) can vary in length, depending on the format.
Learning mobility projects for staff in VET organisations may include activities aimed at supporting participation of VET agents in training and/or the consolidation in the acquisition and use of knowledge, skills and competences in a work context.

Within Key Action 2: Cooperation among organisations and institutions, VET professionals can participate in transnational events linked to teaching and learning projects and activities. The initiative Centres of Vocational Excellence It enables VET institutions to rapidly adapt skills provision to evolving economic and social needs, including the digital and green transitions. This action supports the gradual establishment and development of international collaborative networks in which interactions are reciprocal and mutually beneficial.

As part of Key Action 3 of Erasmus + (Support for Policy Reform), the Euroguidance network provides quality information for learning and mobility purposes, among other functions.

The Euroguidance Centres work together to promote mobility and support professionals and other individuals, so that they can better understand opportunities in Europe.

Validation and recognition

Mobility and participation in activities in partnerships are recognised with a participation certificate by the partners. 
Basic and upper secondary teachers can also send the participation certificate and the range of content/hours spent in the training attended to be assessed by the Scientific-Pedagogical Council of Continuing Professional Training, which may accredit such training, provided that it fits provisions for the continuing professional development of teachers.

In the case of basic and upper secondary school teachers who teach vocational subjects and monitor trainees’ work, when they attend training that is part of vocational education and training they can, like in school education, request that the Scientific-Pedagogical Council of Continuing Education to evaluate the actions attended in order to obtain their accreditation.