Indire’s Erasmus+ agency released its research report on the impact of Erasmus + and of the previous lifelong learning programme relating to university and school education. In particular, the study, carried out with the technical support of the Piepoli institute is focused on the quantitative analysis of university students and school teachers’ mobility and its effects. Moreover, a qualitative analysis emphasised the changes occurred in the participating institutions: universities, musical and artistic higher education institutes (conservatories and academies) and schools at all levels of education.
The research, concluded by the end of 2017, was carried out on a sample of about 1,400 youths, out of which 700 were students who had an Erasmus + mobility for study or internship experience and 700 “non-mobile” people. 74% of the people involved in the interview were youths aged between 25 and 30, in order to account for the effects of mobility also after graduation. The main highlights were: the improvement of language skills ( 55% of interviewees); learning new study methods, not available in Italy (31%); more extended knowledge of other cultures (19%) and acquisition of course-specific competencies (19%). Furthermore, 98% of the interviewees reported an experience of personal and cultural growth, based on the acquisition of an international profile (students are more open-minded because they had the opportunity to interact with different environments) and significant enhancement of soft skills.
There were also significant breakthroughs in universities where a virtuous cycle was triggered off: on the one hand, incoming and outgoing mobility breakthroughs were brought forth form the didactical, managerial and organisational point of view, changing the university as a whole; on the other hand, universities changed in order to adapt to more advanced European models to face up to international mobility.
The research involved more than 203 school teachers who took part in in-service mobility experiences and 201 teachers who didn’t take part in mobility projects abroad.
Almost all of the interviewed Erasmus + teachers considered mobility a positive experience, as it allowed the acquisition of new didactic methods. In general, teachers who organised and participated in mobility projects updated their methods more than those who didn’t. They are also more open to confrontation, collaboration and more incline to transmission of best practices, thanks to the opportunity to get in touch with different school systems. Generally, participating teachers come back from mobility experiences more motivated. In particular, 97% of those who left declared that the mobility period satisfied their expectations; 96% improved their language skills; 28% learnt new teaching methods; 17% appreciated confrontation with foreign teachers.
Teachers emphasised also the positive effects on the students, both on those who directly participated in mobility projects as part of exchange programmes and on those who benefited from new teaching methods of teachers formed abroad. Various aspects were improved: soft skills, linguistic competencies, technological competencies and personal growth. All this had a positive impact on study motivation and academic performance.
Not only European planning effected teachers’ professional growth but also the development of the entire school system. The improvement in the collaboration between teachers impacted also the quality of personal relationships. Schools strengthen the link with the territory: local authorities, associations, universities and cultural centres and, last but not least, the job market. Ultimately, international planning activities provided a great opportunity to know other European institutes to build up international networks with, enhancing the international profile of each institute and its attractiveness.
- The research on the impact of Erasmus+ : executive Summary – The research on the impact of Erasmus+ on education and training systems in Italy