School partnerships is the vector of multilingualism

February 11, 2013

Funding Scheme: 2013-02-11


The EU invested in the funding of Schools Partnership Programme (exchange program Comenius) in order to improve language learning. This program is open to EU Member States and to Candidate States.


A recent study examined the impact of partnerships funded through the Comenius exchange programme, the schools’ equivalent of Erasmus. Seven out of ten schools said that the partnerships had a strong to very strong impact on pupils’ cultural awareness and expression as well as social and civic competences. This was followed by computer skills and communication in foreign languages.

The impact of Comenius partnerships on motivation to learn a foreign language and improve language skills is among the strongest. 84% of schools stated that such impact was from quite strong to very strong.

When they carry out activities with partner schools, pupils are confronted with situations in which they need to communicate in a foreign language and this motivates them to improve their language skills.

The language most-widely used in partnership projects is English. However, 30% of students said they improved their competence in a language different from English.

The study also found that the scheme benefits teachers, who could improve their knowledge of other education systems and strengthen their language skills.

The study surveyed 50 schools in 15 European countries (Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom) which received grants from the Comenius programme to set up partnerships running from autumn 2009-2011.

Since 1995, the EU has provided grants to schools for joint projects. Comenius school partnerships are funded under the Lifelong Learning Programme, which is open to 33 countries (EU Member States, Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey).

Url description: European Commission Press