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European learning mobility framework – ACA’s policy input

In May, ACA members published their joint policy input feeding into the European Commission’s call for evidence on the revised European Learning Mobility Framework (for more details, see ACA Newsletter - Education Europe, February 2023). This statement is based on intensive internal consultations between the ACA members earlier this spring, whilst tapping into their vast experience in designing and managing mobility support schemes at the national and European level.

This statement contributes to the co-revision of the mobility framework by outlining three overarching principles that should be guiding Europe’s further work on mobility in the higher education field:

  • Diversity, encompassing the need for a large variety of mobility support schemes and tailor-made solutions to respond to the diversity of both the student body and academic community in Europe.
  • Openness to all countries and especially closest partners in Europe, such as Switzerland.
  • Flexibility of mobility funding mechanisms based on the lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic and the evolving geopolitical context.

The statement provides an analysis of the persistent issues and barriers to taking full advantage of mobility across a larger group of students and staff from the perspective of various types and forms of mobility, such as student credit mobility for learning and training, student degree mobility, staff mobility and new mobility formats. It outlines a few areas for possible action to consolidate and further strengthen the progress achieved in the context of both the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and the European Education Area (EEA).

  1. Widening participation in credit mobility could be achieved by further aligning grant rates for both student and staff mobility to the current economic realities at their destinations, while showcasing the value of short-term mobility for students’ personal development and employability through different role models. Additionally, the awareness of green travel options should be further promoted at all levels through good practice exchanges and improving the available IT data collection tools.
  2. Further support to degree mobility could involve advances in national implementation of automatic recognition of diplomas and studies abroad driven by trust-based approaches, information dissemination to higher education institutions and training for responsible staff, continuing support to broader institutional cooperation frameworks and formats (ranging from joint programmes to strategic partnerships and fully-institutional types of collaboration) in combination with the improving of stay rights and conditions for international graduates.
  3. The ability to implement quality blended mobility activities, both from an academic and administrative perspective, should be advanced at the national and European levels with further investments in adequate IT tools and support infrastructure, as well as training for academic staff and further professionalisation of administrative staff on the topic at hand.
  4. Unlocking the potential of staff mobility could be achieved through more strategic approaches in full synergy with student mobility and based on a clear institutional commitment, involving better recognition of staff mobility outcomes and their weaving into HR processes as well as the active use of new mobility formats.

In addition to this policy input, ACA also contributed to the European Citizen’s panel discussion on the European learning mobility framework. The recommendations of the European Citizens’ Panel on Learning Mobility Final have been recently published by the European Commission.