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ACA Reflection Paper – Wider inclusion in the internationalisation of higher education

The aim of widening inclusion in (higher) education is currently gaining in importance in European and EU policy circles, being increasingly addressed in recent policy documents, in current programmes, as well as in future programme proposals. Widening inclusion can, through the incorporation of multiple (international and domestic) perspectives and groups, foster innovation and thus further quality enhancement and excellence in higher education. While acknowledging previous efforts and policies to widen the access of specific underrepresented groups to (international) higher education, we observe – in the current (EU) political and policy context – a more holistic and thus inclusive approach to the topic of inclusion. This aims to address a wider pool of underrepresented groups in (international) higher education (that were previously targeted separately), by bringing them together, to now develop comprehensive, system-level policies and approaches.

As an active stakeholder organisation, bringing together national-level agencies working towards furthering the internationalisation of their higher education systems, the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA) puts forward this Reflection Paper, titled Internationalisation for all? Wider inclusion in the internationalisation of higher education. The paper is meant to contribute the current debate around the growing need to increase inclusion in the internationalisation of higher education (activities) in general, and in the Erasmus 2021-2027 programme, in particular. The points raised therein stem from internal reflections with and between the ACA members, conversations with inclusion experts, the European Commission and student organisations, as well as from discussions that took place in the framework of a related seminar on 21 February 2019 in Brussels.