Work programme of the Bologna Follow-Up Group 2007-2009
The Europe of Higher Education: Strengthening Pan-European Mobility
Bologna Seminar organised by France on The Europe of Higher Education: Strengthening Pan-European Mobility, Nancy, 4-5 November 2008.
1. Acknowledging the strategic importance of the mobility policy in the building up of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).
The international mobility of students is one of the most visible examples and main vectors for the transformation and renovation of higher education systems. This observation is illustrated by the quantitative, and especially, the qualitative success achieved by the mobility programmes organised on the initiative of the European Union.
Although some analysts may wish that the programmes implemented were on a larger scale, no one can ignore their structuring effects.
These programmes have brought greater depth and breadth to the aspirations of mobility of European students. They have been the driving force behind the higher education institutions setting up study programmes with an international and a European component, and led the heads of higher education institutions and programmes to jointly develop multiple forms of cooperation which were needed to stimulate and manage mobility movements. These initiatives also had the effect of transforming the range of education and research programmes run jointly by institutions in several European countries. Finally, they encouraged public authorities, regional authorities and other public or private partners to add their efforts to those invested by higher education institutions, to increase their international involvement and their mobility activities.
In a nutshell, the aspiration for mobility and the numerous initiatives they were the source of constitute a powerful impetus for the development of a European area for higher education and research.
Acknowledging the force of and the benefits from mobility flows should not lead us to ignore the need, following two decades of developing European programmes, to re-examine the experience gathered so far, identifying success stories and difficulties and suggesting improvement and restructuring measures required to breathe new life into mobility and broaden its scope of effect.
The ambition of this conference focused on the mobility issue is specifically aimed at :
- drawing a picture about the ‘state-of-arts’, taking into account successes, knowledge acquired and difficulties to be coped with over the previous two decades, on the basis of the experience of the mobility organised by institutions and experienced by students;
- suggesting new ideas to open up new forms of development for European and international mobility, on the basis of capitalising on experience already gained.
Moreover, the conference on mobility is an excellent opportunity to take stock, with numerous European experts, of the latest developments of the new Erasmus Mundus II programme.
2. Three main topics to be discussed
In order to prepare a report that will be as detailed and relevant as possible and to make appropriate proposals, the conference is focusing discussions on three major topics.
Topic 1 – Developing university mobility in Europe
Specifically this topic will tackle the following points :
- The necessary improvement of knowledge of and information on the circulation of students, professors and researchers requires a quantitative and qualitative analysis of mobility patterns, of the flows they follow, the forms they generate, the networks set up for the circulation of university students and university professors between, on the one hand, the European countries and, on the other hand, between European countries and third countries.
- The analysis of inward mobility and outward mobility for the EU as a whole and for each European country in particular will enable to identify and deal with problems caused by the adjustment between the movements observed in both directions.
- Connecting the relative attractiveness of programmes with the triggering and broadening of mobility aspirations. There should be greater analysis of the interactions between policies aimed at overhauling the educational provision and the development of European and international mobility.
The other main areas to be examined as regards this topic can be grouped here around two set of issues:
Mobility and attractiveness of the educational provision
- impact of the Bologna process on third countries,
- internal attractiveness and external attractiveness,
- mobility of staff and university Professors,
- impact of the many mobility programmes introduced by institutions and entities (apart from the EU programmes).
Mobility and transformation of the educational provision
- educational provision and its beneficiaries,
- structuring credit-based curricula,
- transformation of study cycles,
- profile of students targeted by a strategy for attractiveness, readability of qualifications
Topic 2 – Financing processes and increasing mobility
This topic will provide an opportunity for discussion in particular on the following points:
- the impact of financing processes and regulation patterns which,according to situations, can favour or discourage the mobility of students and teachers, researchers or administrative staff,
- the role played by partnerships (with enterprises, local/regional authorities, institutional agreements and networking).
- EU-funded grants,
- other sources for financing grants, in particular from local authorities,
- other financing processes implemented for the expansion and democratisation of mobility,
- identification and impact of the co-financing possibilities as regards study and living expenses of students, both within the framework of national and European schemes.
- the impact of national regulations as regards tax and welfare cover,
- the other mechanisms as regards status of mobile persons who are part of mobility programmes, which can potentially be powerful incentives for mobility.
Topic 3 – Processes and instruments for managing mobility
This topic will in particular focus on the following points:
- Effective management of administrative aspects constitutes one of the vital conditions for successful mobility programmes. It should be sought after at the level of higher education institutions, universities local and national environments.
- Programmes for improving living and work conditions, health, and for students: taking into account living and work conditions that favour successful mobility has thrown up new responsibilities for public authorities and other public or private players. The exchange of experiences as regards initiatives in respect to this imperative in the European and non-European countries has proven to be crucial for lesson learning and building realistic, effective recommendations that will be compatible with the organisation of higher education systems and the material and welfare support given to students.
- Institutional frameworks that are more favourable to managing mobility are needed. In many countries, institutional structures have been set up exclusively for the management of mobility, on the basis of initiatives undertaken by public authorities or systems introduced by groups of institutions.
Comparing experiences acquired by European countries will provide an opportunity to compare the solutions provided, both for organising mobility support within institutions and in setting up specific bodies acting at local, regional or national levels.
The role of institutions
- as regards welcome,
- as regards counselling and follow-up.
The role of specialized agencies
- for information, guidance and promotion,
- for incoming and outgoing mobility.
The role of local authorities and other partners
- for accommodation,
- for living and work environments.