Recognition of learning periods abroad in general secondary education

Learning mobility is at the top of the EU’s policy agenda, being fully recognised as a fundamental instrument for the development of competences essential for active and conscious participation in society and in the labour market. Despite this awareness, procedures for mutual recognition of learning periods abroad in general secondary education across EU Member States are still often underdeveloped.

On this page, you can read about the Expert Network on Recognition of outcomes of learning periods abroad in general secondary education, and access tools for pupils and their parents, education professionals, and policymakers:

  • an analysis of EU Member States’ national policies on recognition procedures;
  • a proposed framework for recognition designed by all involved partners and stakeholders;
  • a training model to support schools and teachers in assessing transversal competences developed by pupils during their learning mobility;
  • information packs for each country including information for pupils going abroad and for pupils hosted there.

About the project

In November 2018, EU Member States adopted the Council recommendation on promoting automatic mutual recognition of higher education and upper secondary education and training qualifications and the outcomes of learning periods abroad, to put in place the conditions to foster pupil mobility in view of the creation of a European Education Area by 2025.

The European Parliament decided to support this policy aim with the Preparatory Action Expert Network on Recognition of outcomes of learning periods abroad in general secondary education. It was carried out by the European Federation for Intercultural Learning, the European Institute of Education and Social Policy and CESIE – the European centre of studies and initiatives, entrusted with this by the European Commission for the period 2020-2021.

A strong network for a shared effort

A {network of 25 expert stakeholders} from 15 EU countries have provided input for developing the project. These experts include representatives of public authorities -– such as Ministries of Education -– as well as professionals in the field of secondary school education, teacher educators, and representatives of pupils, parents, and pupil exchange organisations.

{You can find the full list here.}

Analysis of recognition procedures across EU Member States

A country mapping and analysis exercise has identified policies and practices for recognition of outcomes of learning periods abroad in general secondary education in EU Member states. The mapping allowed us to identify common enablers and challenges. The results are presented in an analysis, including a country report for each EU Member State.

{You can read the full analysis here.}

Country information packs are available from the links below.

A proposed framework for recognition

The objective of the Council Recommendation (see above) is to ensure equal opportunities and treatment for all pupils across the EU. The Network of Experts developed a proposal for a Framework to support the recognition of outcomes of learning periods, setting out general principles to then be adapted to the context of each Member State.

{You can read the proposal for a framework for recognition here.}

A training programme model for school heads and teachers

A training programme model has been created with the aim of supporting school heads and teachers in assessing transversal competences developed by pupils taking part in individual mobility. The objective is to recognise and value the development of transversal competences as a central dimension of pupil mobility, and therefore to complement possible subject-based assessment approaches.

Intercultural competence is at the core of the assessment instruments provided by the model, being one of the most relevant learning outcomes of international mobility.

If you wish to use the training model to develop a training programme for teachers in your country, please follow this link (available from September 2021).

Listen to testimonials about learning mobility in this video

Information packs by country – sending and hosting procedures for individual pupil mobility in each EU Member State

Information packs have been developed for pupils interested in a learning period abroad in another country. Parents, schools and educational professionals will also find these useful.

You can explore the information pack of your own country to find out about the current procedures for recognition of learning periods abroad, and read a testimonial on a pupil who has taken part in a mobility.

You can also read the information pack of the countries where you would like to spend your mobility and learn about the school system, registration at school and certification.

Austria Denmark Ireland Poland
Belgium (FR) Estonia Italy Portugal
Belgium (NL) Finland Latvia Romania
Bulgaria France Lithuania Slovakia
Croatia Germany Luxembourg Slovenia
Cyprus Greece Malta Spain
Czechia Hungary Netherlands Sweden