The number of students with disabilities taking part in Erasmus+ has been almost stagnating since 2007, while the number of young people experiencing Erasmus+ exchanges are increasing rapidly. The question of the inclusiveness of one of the flagship EU programmes has been raised many time over the past few years. Despite many efforts made, Erasmus+ is still considered by many as a rather elitist programme.
During a meeting organised at the European Parliament on the 5th of December hosted by MEP Damiano Zoffoli, the stakeholders involved agreed to create an alliance of organisations working on the topic of Inclusive Mobility.
The aims of this project were:
- To gather partners from different fields with common interest around the topic of Inclusive Mobility who don’t work together yet;
- To gather existing material, resources and research papers about the inclusion of students and young people with disabilities in Erasmus+;
- To draft concrete recommendations on how to make the next Erasmus+ programme post-2020 more inclusive;
- To create a long-lasting Alliance working on the topic of Inclusive Mobility.
The project included:
- A working meeting (contact-making seminar) of all stakeholders for 2-3 days to:
- Share existing material, resources, best practices and research papers on the topic of Inclusive Mobility;
- identify bottlenecks hindering the mobility of young people based on their type of disability;
- draft a position paper with concrete recommendations on how to improve the next Erasmus+ programme post-2020.
- After the first meeting, the coordinator was in charge of putting together the outcomes of the first meeting and especially:
- Creating a toolkit with all the resources and material collected
- Putting together the recommendations and finalising the position paper
- A second meeting where the recommendations were presented and discussed with decision-makers (MEPs, European Commission DG EAC). During this meeting, a declaration will be signed by all partners involved to official launch the Inclusive Mobility Alliance
- A toolkit of existing material, resources and research papers
- A position paper with concrete recommendations
- A declaration establishing officially the Inclusive Mobility Alliance
- A long-lasting Alliance working on the topic of Inclusive Mobility for the years to come
The European Student Network (ESN) International was the main coordinator of the project. The other partners involved are coming from distinct fields, and have relevant experience and expertise in:
Organisations experts in Youth mobility: Eurodesk Network, EEE-YFU (European Educational Exchanges – Youth for Understanding), YEU (Youth for Exchange and Understanding), EFIL (European Federation for Intercultural Learning)and OBESSU (Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions).
Organisations experts in Student mobility: EUF (European University Foundation), UNICA (Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe), AHEAD (Association for Higher Education Access & Disability), Includ-ED (European Network for Inclusive Education and Disability), ESU (European Students’ Union), AEGEE Europe (Association des états généraux des étudiants de l’Europe) and SIHO (Support Center for Inclusive Education in Flanders).
Organisations experts in the Disability field: EDF (European Disability Forum) , Autism-Europe, ENIL (European Network on Independent Living), and EBU (European Blind Union).
Views International: EDSU (European Deaf Student Union), EUD (European Union of the Deaf Youth), EYMH (Euro Youth Mental Health and Inclusion Europe).
Others: LLLP (LifeLongLearning Platform).
About the Erasmus+ Programme
Erasmus+ is the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. Its budget of €14.7 billion will provide opportunities for over 4 million Europeans to study, train, gain experience, and volunteer abroad.