Short evaluation of “meet! – Mercator Europa Tour”

CHE Consult was commissioned by Stiftung Mercator to conduct an accompanying short evaluation of the pilot phase of the “meet! – Mercator Europa Tour” programme. The aim of the programme is to give young people whose parents did not go to university the opportunity to gain their first experience abroad in Europe. The evaluation assessed whether the programme was able to achieve its goals; the extent to which the programme is scalable; and whether it is possible to further develop the design of the programme, the application and selection procedures, the programme communication and the marketing/PR. The programme will be adapted and continued based on the experience gained from the pilot phase and the results of the evaluation.

The premise of the programme is that intercultural skills and early experience abroad are of crucial importance to the personal and professional development of young people. If this premise is correct, then greater equality of opportunity is achieved when the inhibitions that high school and university students from underprivileged or non-academic backgrounds may have are overcome. With this in mind, meet! should represent a low-threshold offer to enable young people to gain initial experience abroad. It is also thought that stronger intercultural and personal skills give young people the impetus required to help them make early university and career choices.

During the evaluation, CHE Consult held discussions with unsuccessful applicants, the selected participants (at the start and end of the programme), programme coordinators and a number of external stakeholders. "On the whole, the feedback provided by all respondents was very positive. The stakeholders agreed that the programme closes a gap in the funding landscape and plays an important part in achieving greater equality of opportunity and educational equity," explained CHE Consult Project Leader Laura Wallor.

The objectives of the programme were already largely achieved in the pilot phase. The experience gained from the pilot year will be incorporated into the continuation programme. CHE Consult presented its results and recommendations to Stiftung Mercator, summarising them in a final report that was annexed to the proposal for a decision on the continuation of the programme. Programme Leader Teresa Spancken concluded positively: "The evaluation provided us with valuable suggestions for the further development of meet!" The programme has since been approved for another five years.




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