ESU: “BFUG mobility strategy still lacks clear emphasis”

BERLIN - The Bologna Follow Up Group on Mobility met on 24 August in Berlin to finalise the draft proposal of mobility strategy that will be adopted by ministers at the BFUG ministerial conference in 2012 in Bucharest. The European Students’ Union (ESU) welcomes the extensive and comprehensive strategy proposal that the draft paper of the BFUG brings to the debates on future development of student mobility in Europe. However, ESU acknowledges the paper still lacks clear emphasis on the purpose and the importance of mobility in particular.

Allan Päll, ESU Chairperson said: “In order to bring the countries back to their commitment to instigate mobility, we believe that there should be more emphasis on the benefits of such experiences for students and staffs, for the individual, EHEA and society as a whole.”

ESU thinks that mobility has an immense value for all members of the EHEA as it has a vital role in promoting wider awareness of the European diversity, fostering the development of intercultural skills, making tolerance and peace the core values of the European societies and contributing to the European labor market and student employment. This, ESU firmly beliefs, nevertheless is only possible, once mobility is open to all students in Europe, regardless of their social, national or ethnic background and thus avoids any potential risk of social exclusion.

On that account, ESU holds the opinion that the following measures should be reflected in the mobility strategy. Therefore ESU asked the BFUG to further explore 10 points and highlighted these by the BFUG member states in order to make mobility an opportunity for all. These ten points can be found here below:

1.    to promote the portability of grants and loans systems for all EHEA countries

2.    to foster the equal access and opportunities for students from under-represented backgrounds
3.    to implement and developing more concrete mobility tools at European, national and institutional level such as the Lisbon recognition convention, NQF and diploma supplement
4.    to promote and motivate students, institutions, teachers and staff through language and cultural awareness
5.    to avoid any additional obstacles for international students by introducing tuition fees: members states should find other solutions to face the exceeding number of incoming mobility eg. by improving the attractiveness if the HEI in the regions where outgoing degree mobility exceeds by far the incoming mobility etc
6.    to develop the use of mobility windows and different types of mobility such as virtual mobility for EHEA and non-EHEA countries and through the teachers’ and students’ mobility bring an international dimension at home education
7.    to improve and increase the access to information
8.    to identify and remove the administrative barriers to mobility such as visa regime, working permits, states regulation etc:
9.    to involve students, teachers and staffs in all stages (drafting, implementing and monitoring process of their strategy)
10.    all the obstacles should be addressed at the respective level