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Latest updates from ACA’s Thematic Peer Groups

ACA’s Thematic Peer Groups (TPGs) on EU Policies and Programmes, Widening Participation and Inclusion in HE and New Mobility Formats meet for the second time in 2022. The experts from ACA’s member organisations have discussed the latest developments in the EU policies, inclusion and digitalisation. Next to this, external speakers from the European Commission, the Austrian Permanent Representation to the EU, stakeholders and HEIs joined the session to share their views on several different aspects within the HE sector, from policy to practice.


TPG on EU Policies and Programmes

ACA members participating in the TPG European Policies and Programmes had another constructive meeting on the 31 of May, with the participation of external guest speakers: Yann-Maël Bideau from DG EAC, Florian Pecenka from the Austrian Permanent Representation to the EU, Colin Tück from EQAR and Andries Verspeeten from Ghent University. The agenda included:

  • Sharing the latest updates on the European Degree and the upcoming pilot call, launched in mid-June, along with the results of the related feasibility study;
  • Related perspectives from Member States;
  • Quality assurance and Bologna tools implementation; and
  • Prior experiences from joint programmes and Erasmus Mundus.


TPGs on Widening Participation and Inclusion in IHE

ACA’s TPG Widening Participation and Inclusion in International Higher Education met on 22 June to discuss latest updates and how different National Agencies are supporting HEIs and disadvantaged students going on mobilities this autumn. Next to this, an external input from Aamena Meidell from the De Montford University followed, who gave a presentation outlining who they are and how they are preparing students from ethnically diverse backgrounds to go on student mobilities. The meeting ended with an interactive discussion on the topic of inclusion among the participants.


TPGs on New Mobility Formats 

The second meeting of the TPG "New Mobility Formats," held on 27 June, focused on Blended Intensive Programmes from an organisational challenges and experiences perspective. After a round of updates from the member organisations, guest speakers Dr. Andrea Koblizkova from the University of Pardubice and Terhi Topi from the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences spoke about their own experiences with organising BIPs. The meeting continued with Juan Rayón González from the Erasmus Student Network who spoke about the perception of online learning by international students.

Key takeaways of the meeting include:

  • There is a need for flexibility regarding the number of participants in Blended Intensive Programmes;
  • Involved people need to bear in mind the division of tasks and labour among the participating universities and departments; and
  • We need consider the perspective of funding BIPs as a stepping-stone to long term mobility.