A new paper published by the European University Association (EUA) and the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA), provides a series of observations on and recommendations for enhancing the complementarity between higher education mobility policies (for both students and staff) at the institutional, national and European level. The intention of the publication is to highlight issues that could be of wider relevance across different national systems in Europe and to raise a number of important questions regarding how institutional and national policies both relate and at times diverge.
The paper is based on the results of the EU-supported project called “Mobility Policy-Practice Connect” (MPPC),* as well as a number of other mobility-related studies and projects that EUA and ACA have been carrying out since 2009, when the 20% mobility objective of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) was first agreed in the framework of the Bologna Process.
MPPC facilitated dialogue between higher education institutions and governments on the development and implementation of mobility policies and to better align institutional and national objectives. Carried out by EUA and ACA in partnership with the Lithuanian University Rectors’ Conference, the Conference of French University Presidents and the Hungarian Rectors’ Conference, MPPC targeted three countries and consisted of a national workshop, focus groups and a university site visit in each.
The first section of the paper outlines a series of observations on specific elements of practice in higher education institutions, for example relating to the implementation and monitoring of mobility strategies, the organisational structures in place for managing mobility, the integration of international staff and students, strategies for enhancing staff mobility, international work placements, and language policies.
The second section looks to provide some guidance for national policy makers, in particular education ministries, with regard to developing and implementing national mobility-related policies. The paper stresses for example: the importance of engaging different actors and considering different types of mobility (for example both outgoing and incoming mobility, and credit versus degree mobility); the need for matching targets with supporting measures and resources. It stresses that while national strategies can offer direction and enhance synergies between mobility objectives in different policy areas (higher education, foreign affairs, employment, for example), they should respect institutional autonomy, academic cooperation and the institutional internationalisation.
The final section of the paper provides some suggestions on how current European mobility objectives (such as those outlined in the Bologna Process and at EU-level) can be optimised with respect to national and institutional interests. With a number of existing European policies already in place, the paper notes it is important to focus on the promotion, implementation and monitoring of these policies as well as on ensuring their compatibility. The paper notes that data collection on different types of mobility is still to be enhanced at European level in order to inform the discussions on mobility and internationalisation.
The full paper, “Connecting mobility policies and practice: Observations and recommendations on national and institutional developments in Europe”, can be downloaded here. *The MPPC project is a one-year project that has been funded by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission. It has been a follow-up project to MAUNIMO: Mapping University Mobility of Students and Staff (2010-12): More information can be found here.