Learning Mobility and Non-Formal Learning in European Contexts - Policies, Approaches and Examples

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The Council of Europe (since the mid 1960s), the European Commission (since the late 1980s) and many European states and civil society organisations (in the aftermath of the Second World War) have long fostered programmes and strategies to enhance the mobility of young people. The prevailing notion of such programmes is that the process of economic and political integration in Europe will indeed remain fragmentary and unstable without accompanying social and educational measures. Instead of a Europe with non-transparent bureaucratic institutions, a “Europe of Citizens” was meant to develop wherein people would get to know each other, appreciate their mutual cultural differences and, at the same time, form a European identity by saying “yes” to core European values. As such, mobility is considered important for the personal development of young people, contributing as it does to their employability and thus their social inclusion. In some chapters in this book (e.g. Cairns, Chapter II) it is underlined that attitudes towards mobility are changing due to the living conditions in some European countries. It is rather the habitus of a family than the attractiveness of European programmes which has a decisive impact on the mobility of young people. Overlapping reasons are seen in the consequences of financial crises. What remains to be explored in this analysis are the influences upon mobility decision making, including migration to other countries. The most obvious answer is the neoclassical economic explanation: young people move to pursue better career opportunities and/or to escape what may be difficult financial circumstances at home. On the other hand, findings from other research on the mobility of students and young apprentices consistently show the following outcomes: - increase of self-confidence and enhancement of social competences; - gaining intercultural competences; - improvement of foreign-language skills; - sustainable significance of the mobility experience for personal development. The debate on youth mobility goes on and encompasses related policy fields, particularly employment and education. There are obvious links among these different sectors, but the youth sector also claims its own specificity and identity. Obviously, there is no clear common understanding as to what is considered youth work in the European countries. Nevertheless, we need a common basis, especially in the field of youth mobility. Therefore, we stress the importance of linking the rationale and the spirit of the Declaration of the 1st European Youth Work Convention with youth mobility activities. All chapters are written by experts in the field of youth mobility. The particular value of this book is that academics, researchers, political stakeholders, policy makers and practitioners have put together their knowledge and experience. The book intends to contribute to dialogue and co-operation among relevant players and to the discussion on the further development and purpose of youth mobility schemes in terms of outcomes for young people.


Andreas Thimmel, Bettina Wissing, Christiane Weis, David Garrahy, Elisa Briga, Günter J. Friesenhahn, Hanjo Schild, Hans-Georg Wicke, Jennifer Watson, Judit Balogh, Judith Dubiski, Judith van Raalten, Kristiina Pernits, Lorance Janssen, Majo Hansotte Aleksandra Karlinska, Marianne Milmeister, Marta Brzezinska-Hubert, Nagla Abed, Nienke Nuyens, Pascal Lejeune, Reet Kost, Rita Bergstein, Søren Kristensen, Steve Hillman, Tamara Thorpe, Yaryna Borenko

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