In a speech at a conference about the Erasmus exchange programme and troubles with recognition of studies, ESU Chairperson Ligia Deca presented ways to improve the recognition of higher education in Europe.
Financing and recognition are often referred to as the two main obstacles for student mobility. At an Erasmus Student Network (ESN) conference last Friday, the latter was debated.
Oneof the mobility obstacles that is most commonly referred to is an increase in the rigidity of curricula and learning paths, areas in which the Bologna Process was expected to bring greater flexibility and openness.
“As we all know, there are several countries in Europe in which students are protesting about exactly this kind of problems, with the legitimate claim that the national implementation of the Bologna Process hampered flexible learning paths and mobility opportunities”, says Deca.
In the ESU report Bologna With Student Eyes (2009), several national student unions indicate that higher education institutions have tended to try to include the content of an old, longer degree in a 3-year first cycle programme.
Unions also reported that students felt compelled to continue their studies into the second cycle, not identifying graduation as a true exit point to the labour market, while also having the perception that “there is no time for mobility in the first cycle”.
Education institution rankings have been debated a lot in the course of the least year, but ESU is firmly opposed to rankings as a way of providing reliable information to students. Instead, Deca believes trust should be generated not just through bilateral agreements and mission/prestige clustering, but through university’s leadership commitment, transparent and understandable procedures for recognition.
“These should be designed so that they are easily understood by both students and academics and, and they should move away from the “personal touch” of recognition from the side of professors not trusting their peers to systemic approaches that guarantee students’ rights and ensure non-discriminatory procedures”, says Deca.
Deca delivered the speech at an Erasmus Student Network conference titled “PRIME: Problems of Recognition In Making Erasmus” on January 22. You can read the whole speech here.