BERLIN – “European integration is concerned with mutual exchange and understanding. One of its main goals is to improve student mobility. It can only be achieved if student flows are balanced between different regions in Europe,” says Tinja Zerzer, a member of the Executive Committee of the European Students’ Union (ESU), but she was nominated to represent students’ views in the Working Group on Mobility and Internationalisation.
The Working Group gathered for the first time on 6 and 7 December in Berlin, Germany, to discuss its plan of work for the period from 2013 to 2015. It focuses on reaching tangible outcomes that facilitate mobility of students and assists in creating the necessary favourable environment in the European Higher Education Area. ESU has on several occasions pointed out how important it is to balance student mobility in Europe. That will also be one of the priorities of the Working Group, which is a part of the Bologna Follow Up Group (BFUG).
ESU regrets decision to drop visa discussions
For the next three years the Working Group will also promote the concept of the European Higher Education Area and pay attention to the issue of joint degrees, as they face major shortcomings especially in relation to accreditation. ESU thinks it is however unfortunate that the group decided to remove questions of what consequences visa restriction might have on student mobility from its terms of reference. “I regret that the Working Group decided in the end to kick out its commitment to facilitate granting visas. Immigration regulations are still major obstacles for a great number of students from outside the European Union,” says Zerzer.
Initiative taken to harmonise descriptions
ESU appreciates the initiative taken by the Working Group to harmonise descriptions of study programmes available within the EHEA, an idea relatively simple to carry out that would nevertheless make it easier to join studies across borders.
It was noted at the meeting that necessary data was still missing. Therefore, the Working Group will make it a priority to create an inventory for researches that have been conducted on the topic so far.
Meanwhile, ESU is working on the development and renewal of its policies on internationalisation and mobility. The results of that task will be presented in the new Policy Paper on Internationalisation in early 2013.
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The European Students’ Union, headquartered in Brussels, is the umbrella organisation of 47 national unions of students from 39 European countries. ESU represents and promotes the educational, social, economical and cultural interests of students at the European level. Through its member unions, ESU represents over 11 million students in Europe. To find out more about ESU, follow us on Twitter @ESUtwt, check out or Facebook page or visit www.esu-online.org. ESU celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2012.