10 Years of Erasmus Mundus Partnerships Conference

Erasmus Mundus Action 2 paved way for Internationalisation

​In his welcoming words Mr Brian Holmes, the Director of Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency highlighted that the Erasmus Mundus scholarship mechanism was designed to give individuals international experiences and people-to-people contacts, while tackling issues such as inclusiveness. EACEA will celebrate Erasmus Mundus throughout 2017, special website and promotion will be launched during the year.

Keynote speeches were held by Ms Eva Egron-Polak, the Secretary-General and Executive Director of International Association of Universities, and Ms Apiyo Okwiri, President of the Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association.
Ms Egron-Polak pointed out an interesting dilemma in international mobility. The mobility numbers have been growing, but so has the overall number of university students. This means that the percentage of mobile students worldwide has remained at around 2%. The mobility flows are also very unbalanced, and only very few countries have balanced mobility. Ms Egron-Polak called for expanding mobility and improving other internationalisation methods.

Ms Okwiri gave the participants the grantee view on Erasmus Mundus Action 2. Mobility has a good effect on mobile students or staff, as mobility tends to enhance employability and it gives valuable international competences. However, there remain obstacles and challenges to mobility from visa issues to financial capabilities, from language policies to recognition. She also highlighted that in many cases foreign incoming students need more and different services than local students.

Philippe Ruffio from EACEA summarized the EMA2 programme and its main achievements. He highlighted that mobility in EMA2 has been a tool for reaching objectives, not an objective in itself. The main idea of the programme was to impact non-EU HEIs. EACEA should publish an Erasmus Mundus publication in early summer of 2017. 

Workshops to evaluate impact of EMA2 projects

The conference included three workshops, and all participants took part in all themes. The workshops were intended to gather feedback, challenges encountered, best practices and suggestions for EACEA from participants.

The topics of the workshops were:

  • Internationalisation of Higher Education
  • Recognition of Studies
  • Impact of mobility on skills and career development

In workshop about Internationalisation of Higher Education, many participants highlighted that EMA2 has paved the way for internationalisation strategies in many HEIs, and that many joint research or capacity building projects have followed. Bilateral agreements and joint study programmes have been sparked by EMA2. In some regions, there has been an impact on national policies concerning internationalization. Numerous best practices were presented.

Recognition of studies was a topic that sparked a lot of good discussion. A “sandwich approach” to recognition, where need for recognition comes both bottom-up and top-down, had brought good results in one participating country. However, there remains a need for sharing awareness concerning recognition of studies. Partner Universities listed many best practices which had helped them in recognition processes.

Impact of mobility on skills and career development included questions about including socially and economically disadvantaged groups, difference in mobility experience of EU and non-EU students, and the impact of mobility of university staff. Many participants reported difficulties in reaching and identifying Target Group 3 students, but direct outreach was named as a good practice. EU students have usually a different motivation for Erasmus Mundus mobility than their non-EU colleagues. Most EU students have been very happy with their mobility, but there is still need for thorough pre-mobility orientation. Staff mobilities were considered a very good practice, as they have resulted in many cases in sustainable bilateral cooperation.

In picture from left: Violeta Osouchova (Masaryk University), Mari Leino (University of Turku) and Olga Vershinina (Higher School of Economics)

You can read more and see the presentations of the event here:

Published date 2/28/2017 8:00 AM ,  Modified date 2/28/2017 10:03 AM

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