Results of the EUA membership consultation on ERASMUS for ALL

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1 Results of the EUA membership consultation on ERASMUS for ALL

2 Contents I. Introduction... 3 II. General Trends... 4 III. Staff Mobility... 6 IV. Student mobility... 8 V. Loan Guarantee Scheme for Masters Mobility VI. Other measures to enhance European mobility VII. International exchanges VIII. Key Action 2 - Cooperation IX. Other issues

3 I. Introduction This report presents the results of a consultation conducted by EUA with its members on the Erasmus for All programme. This was carried out between 14 December 2011 and 27 January 2012, and was open to all EUA members. The results of the consultation are summarised below. Who participated? A total of 205 responses from 38 countries were received (figure 1). These came mainly from individual (research intensive) institutions but also from seven National Rectors Conferences and two EUA associate members. This represents about 25% of EUA s members from all over Europe, including non-eu countries. The response rate per country reflects to a some extent the number of members/system size Figure 1. Number of responses received by country Note that the number of responses per question is indicated. The total number of answers per question varies, as not all respondents answered all questions, and some questions allowed for multiple answers. 3

4 II. General Trends Mobility A strong demand for high quality mobility of students and staff in structured mobility programmes (international weeks, thematic seminars, etc.) facilitating more recognition. Lack of language skills was mentioned as a core obstacle to mobility also affecting the quality of the experience. More funding as well as simpler procedures were frequently mentioned. Staff Mobility Very little difference between academic staff and administrative staff mobility. Generally, there is a demand for: Rewards, incentives and career advancement, which is obviously different for researchers, teachers and administrators Funding Less bureaucracy in European mobility programmes For academic staff, mobility experiences that combine research and teaching Student Mobility Recognition and the appropriate application of Bologna Tools, in conjunction with student support services were identified as the key measures to improve mobility There is also a strong demand for facilitating young researcher mobility periods and considering research as an eligible activity within the mobility funding programmes. Loan Guarantee Scheme for Masters Mobility Respondents are in favour of a Masters Mobility Programme but have some reservations about it being facilitated through a loan scheme. The country diversity can be expected to have a strong impact here, and a concern is also that it will only benefit better-off students and countries, and would be limited to certain subject areas and disciplines. Key Action 2 Cooperation Demand for a clear focus on partnerships, as they enhance the quality of mobility Universities acknowledge the importance of a Large Scale Partnership scheme, provided that it does not only include business in the strict sense only, but also enables collaboration with public authorities, NGOs, etc. 4

5 International Exchanges Clear interest in going beyond EU and facilitating in-coming and outgoing mobility within the European Higher Education Area and beyond, internationally Almost all respondents would welcome accompanying measures to enhance synergy and exchange among projects (symposia, thematic conferences, international weeks, workshops, online tools etc.), but many stress also that this should be integrated into existing fora and networks (associations and networks existing at the European and international level) Other Issues Approximately 40% express some reservation towards the proposal to use Erasmus as the overarching name for all actions. Some prefer retaining old brand names whereas others propose using Erasmus Mundus as the overarching name for all international programmes and schemes. Almost all respondents would welcome accompanying measures to enhance synergy and exchange among projects. 5

6 III. Staff Mobility Key points Both academic and administrative staff respondents gave more or less the same answers. Increase of funding and recognition of staff periods abroad (acknowledgement from leadership, consequences for career advancement, etc) are the two most frequently mentioned incentives. The other frequently mentioned incentives for enhancing staff mobility are: o More structured mobility opportunities and an increase of the quality of mobility o For academic staff: inclusion of research activities in European mobility programmes (i.e. Erasmus) o Reduction of the administrative burden of the mobility programmes o Extension of the range of eligible measures, flexibility (replacement of staff at home institution, shorter periods abroad, conference participation, language courses, activities linked to research). Need for getting the young generation of academic staff mobile, Ph.D. students and postdocs, in particular, are highly prioritised Answers in detail 1. Most important incentives for enhancing staff mobility The vast majority of respondents considered increase of funding and recognition of periods abroad as top priorities. The respondents indicated that increasing the amount of the individual grants, the possibility of financing replacements of staff at the home institution, enabling conference participation and options for language courses would be assets. Staff mobility should be better recognised within institutions and national systems, regarding the benefits that it offers. This could mean higher acceptance of and acknowledgement from leadership (for administrative staff, in particular, universities are less willing to approve mobility periods) incentives such as remuneration and possibilities to advance career wise on the basis of mobility experiences parity of esteem for teaching duty inclusion of mobility into the teaching schedules. The respondents also felt that simplified procedures and application processes as well as better administrative support (in relation to insurance, visa etc.) would encourage staff to go abroad. The 6

7 rules for stays abroad should also be more flexible e.g. eligibility of shorter periods and lower teaching load. It would also be important to be able to combine research with teaching as eligible activity within mobility and cooperation programmes. Exchange programmes should be more strongly promoted e.g. through better dissemination. Exchange of experience and personal growth were also mentioned as strong motives for mobility. 2. Are there certain staff groups/categories that should be targeted for mobility? Responses indicate that basically all categories and levels of academic and administrative staff should have the opportunity to be mobile. Generally high priority was given to making the young generation of academic staff mobile, particularly Ph.D. students and post-docs. At the other end of the spectrum relatively low priority seem to be given to language teachers and public relations officers. 3. Main obstacles on the university/staff side The most frequently reported obstacles to the development of staff mobility are lack of time, funding, poor language skills and lack of academic recognition. Many respondents saw that tight time constraints and heavy work-loads at the home institution made it impossible to find any time to fit in trips or stays abroad. Low grants and a lack of either additional financial support at the home institution or extra salary were also seen as discouraging elements. Many respondents felt there was general lack of academic recognition and that mobility periods have little effect on career advancement, mainly for academic staff. Lack of language skills was identified as a major obstacle. 7

8 IV. Student mobility Key points More than 2/3 of respondents (78%) are in favour of student mobility beyond EU borders, 44% had preference for global exchanges and 34% prioritised the EHEA. Besides student demand, institutions strategic goals and partnerships should be guiding principles The vast majority of respondents acknowledges the positive impact of partnerships for mobility. While about 2/3 of respondents think the existance of a partnership should be a priority or even a precondition for allocation of mobility funding, arround 1/3 would disagree. There is a clear indication for the need for better recognition, implementation of Bologna Tools and enhancement of student services as a means to improve quality of mobility Answers in detail 4. From your perspective should there be a clear priority for student mobility? As figure 2 shows, a vast majority of respondents (78%) are in favour of student mobility beyond EU boarders: either within the EHEA (34%) or without any restriction (44%). A further 9% under the other thought the mobility should be kept open to all countries even if EU or EHEA is prioritised. Besides student demand, mobility should be based on institutions strategic goals and partnerships. Only a minority of respondents (13%) wanted to restrict funding to mobility within the EU. Figure 2. From your perspective should there be a clear priority for student mobility? (single answer) 50% 44.4% 40% 34.0% 30% 20% 10% 0% no restriction, open to all countries, mainly driven by student demand within the EHEA (comprising all 47 Bologna countries/ the neighbourhood region) 13.1% within the EU 8.5% Other 8

9 5. Do you think that partnerships should be a condition for individual mobility grants? The positive impact of partnerships for mobility was acknowledged by a majority of respondents: 40% of respondents saw that it could help to improve the mobility experience, and 46% of institutions thought that institutional partnerships should be prioritised (figure 3). However, 19% of respondents did not think that partnership should be a priority or even a precondition for allocation of mobility funding, and 32% of respondents considered that mobility should not be based only on formal partnerships. Figure 3. Do you think that partnerships should be a condition for individual mobility grants? (several choices possible) 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% 45.7% Yes, and priority should be given to mobility within institutional partnerships 39.7% Yes, as this would help to improve the mobility experience 31.8% No, it is important to have mobility, even if a formal partnership is not (yet) existent. 19.2% No, it should not be an absolute condition 2.0% Other comments 6. The EC indicates that more so than in the past quality will be a condition for funding mobility. Which of the following measures do you consider would increase the quality of learning mobility? Recognition of mobility periods was the most commonly (80%) chosen measure to increase the quality of learning mobility, followed by proper implementation of Bologna tools (68%) and setting a minimum number of credits for the mobility experience (61%). The student support services and institutional support for language provision, accommodation etc. received 55% and 49% respectively. The presence of co-funding was mentioned least often (27%). The additional issues that were raised under other category concerned academic excellence, curriculum offer, content and relevance and joint degree cooperation. 9

10 Figure 4. The EC indicates that more so than in the past quality will be a condition for funding mobility. Which of the following measures do you consider would increase the quality of learning mobility? (several choices possible) Clearer evidence of arrangements ensuring recognition of mobility periods Clearer evidence of use of the Bologna tools (ECTS, Diploma Supplement, learning outcomes) A minimum number of credits is assigned to the mobility experiences (for example, 15 ECTS as Clearer evidence of functioning student support services for incoming students Clearer evidence of institutional support for language provision, accommodation etc. The presence of co-funding from other sources Other comments 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 10

11 V. Loan Guarantee Scheme for Masters Mobility Key points The Masters Loan Guarantee Scheme is generally welcomed, as long as participation of students from diverse backgrounds and lower income countries can be ensured. It would also require to consider country-specific approaches to promote and implement it. Majority in favour of a European Masters Scheme o Only 7% think it is not a necessary measure. o 43% it should also benefit international exchanges, beyond EU borders. o Other responses refer to the vast differences between European countries and individual students backgrounds, which will have to be considered when implementing the scheme. But when the funding mechanism itself is made explicit (i.e. a loan to be repaid ), the number of critical responses is higher o 17% are clearly against it: students should not be required to pay for it o There is a clear worry in some place, that this will end up replacing grants Despite the critical position towards the funding mechanism, the majority of respondents believes, with some reservations, that the Masters Loan Guarantee Scheme will improve mobility significantly o it is likely to be taken up very differently, depending on the country o some prefer to improve quality rather than numbers There is a clear indication that answer patterns are to some extent linked to countries, and that the national systems and traditions of student financing have a strong impact. Answers in detail 7. The new programme includes a Masters mobility scheme that will be supported by a student loan guarantee scheme (still to be developed). It will provide loans enabling European students to study a full-time Master. Do you agree 11

12 7a. On the action in principle? Figure 6. Do you agree on the Master s mobility scheme action in principle? (single answer only) 100% 80% 60% 40% 42% 38% 20% 13% 7% 0% Yes, but it should principally also be possible to receive a loan to travel to countries outside Europe Yes, European Masters level degree mobility is a top priority other No, there is no need to have such a mechanism at European level 7b. On the funding mechanism (the student would have to pay back the loan)? Figure 7. Do you agree on the funding mechanism (the student would have to pay back the loan)? (single answer only) 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 36% 27% 20% 17% 0% Yes, that is appropriate for Masters level students Yes, and this approach should be generally considered to enhance mobility at different levels and cycles Other comments No 12

13 8. Do you believe that the proposed Masters mobility scheme would really help to improve mobility significantly? 80% of respondents expressed support for the new Master s mobility scheme (figure 6): 36% saw it as appropriate for Master level students, while 27% like to see it extended to different levels and cycles (figure 7). Around 60 % of the respondents believed that the proposed Masters mobility scheme would really help to improve mobility significantly: 37% are in favour of the intra-european focus, whereas 43% would like to expand the loan scheme to destinations outside Europe (figure 6). However, when this specified that it would be a study loan to be repaid (figure 7), more than 1/3 of respondents are either cautiously critical (20% - expressed in comments) or strictly against the proposed loan scheme (17%). Some respondents doubt its success, due to national traditions for student funding (Finland, Italy, France), others see it as low priority, mainly due to existing national schemes (Norway, Sweden). It would, however, help students who have already been mobile to have another stay abroad. There is also general concern how the scheme would work given different financial and economic situations of students and countries, and different price levels and fee regimes within Europe. Other obstacles (language, travel, living costs) need to be taken into consideration as well. Respondents from the new EU member states express concern regarding brain drain. Of concern are also interest rates and reimbursement conditions - a country-tailored approach will be needed as students will be not able to afford this in all countries. Individual comments stress the need to ensure social fairness and equal access to HE, and propose complementing or even combining the loans with a scholarship scheme - as an alternative or in addition to the loan, in response to countries or individual students economic conditions. There is also a concern that it would serve mainly students from well-off family backgrounds. A common concern is also that this would be that start of the gradual transformation of grants into loans. 13

14 VI. Other measures to enhance European mobility Key points Clear focus on recognition and readability of degrees and courses from another institution/country including use of ECTS and grade conversion More emphasis on language learning Joint degree cooperation and partnerships as a way to promote mobility Better funding for study periods and multiple opportunities to participate Answers in detail 9. What other measures should be taken to enhance European mobility? The responses touch upon a wide variety of issues, from the recognition and harmonisation of curricula to the administrative bureaucracy and more flexible rules. Transparency and readability of degree taken in another country was still seen as a major challenge for mobility including harmonisation of curricula: 3+2 vs The implementation of ECTS and grade conversion still seem to pose major problems. Joint degree cooperation and partnerships were clearly supported and encouraged including even an obligatory semester abroad. From the students point of view many respondents mentioned more flexible rules allowing students to participate in Erasmus more than once. In addition, the grants and loans should be portable, higher or at least include a separate sum for travel costs. Shorter mobility periods were seen as an asset as well. Many respondents mentioned language education and course offer, but interestingly there was a clear division between those who supported English as global lingua franca and those who emphasised the knowledge of other languages. Quality of mobility, and hence learning, should be enhanced different ways. Simplified procedures and easier administrative workload were mentioned too. Staff should motivate and encourage students to go abroad linking mobility to employability. 14

15 VII. International exchanges Key points 54% would prefer the funding to benefit a balanced ratio of outgoing European and incoming international students. 35% see outgoing European students as a priority and 11% incoming international students Answers in detail 10a. The intention is also to enhance exchanges with other parts of the world. Funding will be provided for European students who wish to spend a study period outside Europe, and for students from third countries to study in Europe. Should the priority go to Figure 8. Should the priority go to European students who wish to spend a study period outside Europe, or to students from third countries to study in Europe? (single answer) 100% 88.5% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% both are important, and the EC should launch strategically and geographically targeted calls or design special windows. 8.8% sending European students abroad (rather than receiving third country students) 2.7% attracting third-country students to Europe (rather than sending European students abroad) Most respondents (89%) were in favour of the two-way mobility from Europe to outside Europe and third countries and vice versa supported by European Commission s strategically and geographically targeted calls or special windows. Only 9% of respondents preferred sending European students abroad, whilst the number of institutions prioritising third-country students was negligible. 15

16 10b. What should the ideal ratio (%) be between outgoing European students and incoming international ones? The majority of respondents (54%) stated that programmes should ideally allow for balanced mobility between European (outgoing) and International (incoming) students. An additional 30% of respondents saw sending out European students as a priority, whilst for the international incoming students the corresponding figure was only 10%. Naturally, there are also differences between the countries and, for example, - compared to the average figures - the Lithuanian respondents were clearly in favour of sending Europeans abroad, whilst the Spanish respondents would like to attract more international students. Figure 9. What should the ideal ratio (%) be between outgoing European students and incoming international ones? (single answer only) 100% 80% 60% 54.0% 40% 20% 0% European to International students 50 / % European to International students 70 / % European to International students 30 / % European to International students 90 / % European to International students 10 / 90 16

17 VIII. Key Action 2 - Cooperation Key points A vast majority (90%) think that a focus on business collaboration is appropriate for the new large-scale partnership approach, but even more believe that the cooperation should be extended to other partners such as public authorities, NGOs, cultural institutions as well. Purpose of partnership 68% of the respondents expressed that university university cooperation is still highly relevant Cooperation with companies and other types of partners are welcomed too. Large-Scale Partnership Approach There are about as many in favour as against linking the large-scale partnership to the Strategic Partnership programme (e.g. successful Strategic Partnership as a condition for Large-Scale Partnership) Answers in detail 11. From your perspective - what are the most important types of strategic partnerships for universities? What purposes should they serve? When only given one choice, the vast majority of respondents (68%) clearly agree on the strategic importance for university university cooperation. This seems to reflect actual practice, and also modern higher education realities, where universities network, exchange and pool knowledge and resources. But respondents under other -category pointed out that this is an unfair question, as only one answer was allowed; they state clearly that universities are versatile and perform many different functions in a society and, hence, partnerships with all types of partners are important and should even been combined. 17

18 Figure 10. From your perspective - what are the most important types of strategic partnerships for universities? What purposes should they serve? (single answer only) 100% 80% 68.7% 60% 40% 20% 0% With other universities - for the purposes of mobility, curriculum development, joint programme development 20.7% With business and enterprise for curriculum development, sharing knowledge, promoting lifelong learning 10.7% Other (please specify) 0.0% With local or regional authorities to promote mobility, promote lifelong learning 12. Should there be a possibility to develop an existing Strategic Partnership into Large-Scale partnerships (Knowledge Alliances/ Sector Skills Alliances), either through up-scaling or as a follow-up? 2/3 of the pool of respondents thought that there should be a possibility to develop an existing Strategic Partnership into a Large-Scale Partnership for 58%, the Strategic Partnerships should be the basis for it. Almost 1/3 of respondents (the UK 65%, Poland 45%) did not see, however, any need for such a development. Figure 11. Should there be a possibility to develop an existing Strategic Partnership into a Large- Scale partnership (Knowledge Alliances/ Sector Skills Alliances), either through up-scaling or as a follow-up? (single answer only) 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% 42.6% Yes, this possibility should be provided 30.4% Not really - better kept as separate project strands 24.3% Yes, and ideally the Large-Scale Partnerships should be developed out of Strategic Partnerships 2.7% Other 18

19 13a. For the Large-Scale Partnerships (Knowledge Alliances/ Sector Skills Alliances), do you consider that the specific focus on business partnerships is appropriate? Nearly 90% of respondents stated that the specific focus on business partnerships are important and should be further developed. The funding and basic principles should be clearly described, but at the same time the partnerships should be flexible and nuanced by the needs of different participants. Furthermore, they should not be prioritised or rule out partnerships with other types of partners such as NGOs. A stronger involvement of employers in curricula design and providing practical training placements would help to develop the skills and competences needed in the labour market and thus enhance the employability of graduates. However, knowledge transfer and spill-overs from university research to commercial use and innovation were mentioned too. There were a few concerns by a few respondents whether the partnerships would be detrimental to academic values and research and whether the cooperation is really possible in all fields of study e.g. Humanities. Only a few consider that the specific focus on business partnerships is not appropriate. While there seem to be national patterns in particular with regards to reservations towards collaboration, the relatively small number of responses per country does not give enough certainty to publish them. 13b. Should funding also be provided for partnerships with other partners (e.g. public authorities, NGOs, cultural institutions etc.)? Almost all respondents supported the idea of having funding for partnerships with partners other than business. Only a handful of respondents were against the idea. The partnerships would help to develop multilateral cooperation with various partners and help institutions to become more embedded in the local or regional institutional environment. Employability was mentioned less frequently and usually in terms of practical training. Many respondents considered that the partners should also provide a part of the funding. In fact, there were some cautious tones in some of the responses concerning additional bureaucracy and overlapping projects that the funding may produce. Hence, a clear niche could be a condition for partnership and funding. 19

20 IX. Other issues Key points There is the question of how to retain visibility of programmes and loyalty and ownership of the stakeholder community (Erasmus Mundus Alumni, Tempus Alumni). As a result, approximately 40% express some reservations towards using Erasmus as the overarching name for all actions. Some prefer to retain the old brand names whereas others propose to use Erasmus Mundus as the overarching name for all international programmes and schemes, and other programme names for regional windows (Alfa, Tempus). Almost all respondents would welcome accompanying measures to enhance synergy and exchange among projects (symposia, thematic conferences, international weeks, workshops, on-line tools etc.), but many stress also that this should be integrated into existing fora and networks (associations and networks European and extra European (EUA, ACA, EAIE, AIEA, APAIE, NAFSA, etc.) Answers in detail 14. Capacity building partnerships for collaboration with institutions in third countries, in particular in the neighbourhood region. While existing programme names (such as Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, Alfa, Edulink) will disappear, possibilities for international partnership and collaboration across different regions will be enhanced. Do you consider: Figure 12. Capacity building partnerships for collaboration with institutions in third countries, in particular in the neighbourhood region. While existing programme names (such as Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, Alfa, Edulink) will disappear, possibilities for international partnership and collaboration across different regions will be enhanced. Do you consider: (single answer only) This is appropriate, but there will be a need for thematic and geographically focused The past brands should somehow be kept, even if they are sub-programmes of a bigger This is appropriate, in particular as procedures for applications and reporting will now be The name Erasmus Mundus should be retained, and applied to all international This is appropriate, but will be confusing to past beneficiaries of the international Other 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 20

21 About half of the respondents seem to willing to accept that the old programme names such as Erasmus Mundus, Alfa and Tempus will disappear, if the price is a programme landscape that is easier to navigate. But the other half either express some reservation, as they feel it could cause confusion and lose impact, or are even outspokenly against abolishing brand names and programmes. A frequent suggestion has been to integrate by continuing to use the names for subprogrammes or windows under the new Erasmus for All. An open question is indeed how the identification with programmes and taking ownership will work in the future: over the years, programmes such as Tempus and Erasmus Mundus have built their own loyal communities, including alumni networks which is clearly an added value. The concern is that European Union programmes would lose some of their symbolic power, and will only be seen as funding sources. 15. Should there be a mechanism to enhance exchange of good practice and synergies between different partnerships (such as joint symposia etc.). If so, what would you propose? A vast majority of respondents (about 85%) welcomed the proposal to develop a mechanism to enhance exchange of good practice and synergies between different partnerships. The rest were either unsure or disagreed with the proposal. Among the pool of respondents that supported the initiative, the most frequently mentioned mechanisms were joint seminars, conferences and symposia. One must note that the question may have influenced the responses. Some saw the joint meetings as an opportunity to promote mobility and enhance partnerships, while the others wanted to exchange good practices, publications and knowhow. Other mechanisms that were mentioned included thematic conferences, international weeks for partners, workshops, newsletters, awards or quality labels. Despite rather strong support, some survey respondents felt that there are already many opportunities (symposiums) available and people do not have enough time to participate. Instead of reinventing the wheel, one should consider using existing networks and organisations/associations (EUA, ACA, EAIE, AIEA, APAIE, NAFSA, etc.) for disseminating the information. 16. In your opinion, what is the most urgent priority in relation to EU funding of higher education development for the years to come? Even though the respondents answers varied greatly, it is clear that the most frequently mentioned priority was funding. This could mean higher mobility grants, support for joint programmes, research activities, curricula reform and networking activities, but also the development of the higher education sector and infrastructure in general. Respondents felt that the mobility grants should be made available at all levels and cycles, but also, to a larger degree, reflect the real costs of exchange. Promotion of mobility both in terms of quantity and quality, in Europe and outside Europe - were often mentioned. In addition, the quality of learning and mobility whether in terms of proper implementation of the Bologna tools, development of joint degrees or recognition - was emphasised by many respondents. Interestingly, LLL, employability, bureaucracy, language skills and universitybusiness cooperation received only a few remarks here. 21

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