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On 21 February 2019, ACA addressed, together with Brussels-based stakeholder organisations, ACA members, higher education institutions and EU policy-makers, the need of widening inclusion in international higher education activities in general, and in the Erasmus 2021-2027 programme, in particular. Increasing inclusion becomes an ever-growing necessity in higher education, given the persistent shortcomings in widening access to (higher) education for specific groups that remain underrepresented, as well as given the increasing diversity of the European population, due to a variety of factors. The discussions were based on a draft inspirational paper by ACA on this topic and took place in the framework of a half-day event – Internationalisation for all? Wider inclusion in the internationalisation of higher education – jointly organised by ACA, and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (Diku) and Flanders Knowledge Area (FKA) – all ACA member organisations.
The expert speakers and panellists underlined a number of key messages, namely:
Several examples of good practices were presented during the event by ACA member organisations and representatives of higher education institutions:
The programme also featured a keynote speech by Ágnes Sarolta Fazekas, of Eötvös Loránd Science University and Chairperson of the Access & Diversity Expert Community of the EAIE, a view from the students’ side, via João Pinto, President of the Erasmus Student Network (ESN). In the closing keynote, Vanessa Debiais-Sainton of DG EAC outlined some of the European Commission’s thinking on widening diversity in the next generation of EU programmes, via actions like: working on an Inclusion strategy, with clearly-defined target groups, revising the Erasmus+ Charter for Higher Education (2.0), revising the mobility grants, working to enable flexible mobility formats (combining physical mobility with virtual collaboration) and ensuring automatic mutual recognition.
Based on the valuable insights brought about by the event, ACA will revise its draft inspirational paper, which will be launched – in its final form – in mid-March 2019.