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Student mobility

Resolution 2044 (2015)

Author(s):
Parliamentary Assembly
Origin
Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 6 March 2015 (see Doc. 13715, report of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media, rapporteur: Mr Christian Barilaro).See also Recommendation 2066 (2015).
1 The Parliamentary Assembly stresses that international student mobility is one of the core goals of the Bologna Process, which set up the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), and which constitutes an important tool for economic progress, social development and intercultural understanding.
2 International student mobility has contributed to a better qualified workforce and a more diversified culture all over Europe and improved the capacity to interact in a globalised world by fostering open-mindedness, adaptability and the creativity of millions of European students. These positive developments, however, are hindered by a number of obstacles, such as a lack of information, fear of problems with regard to recognition of qualifications, long bureaucratic procedures, doubts about the quality of studies abroad, fear of prolonged studies, lack of financial resources and so on.
3 The Assembly considers that it is important to remove these obstacles and to provide students with more opportunities to develop competences that are essential in a globalised economic environment and a more positive attitude to diversity in a multicultural society.
4 The Assembly therefore calls on Council of Europe member States to review their policies and practices to enhance student mobility as follows:
4.1 address factors that influence decisions to enter mobility programmes by improving personal perception, social influence and the institutional capacity of European universities and by organising awareness-raising campaigns on the positive impact of student mobility;
4.2 increase the availability of student funding and portability of student support, and in particular:
4.2.1 sign and ratify the European Agreement on Continued Payment of Scholarships to Students Studying Abroad (ETS No. 69), and enhance its implementation;
4.2.2 develop scholarship or grant schemes, paying attention to social, academic and geographical criteria and bearing in mind the principles of equality of opportunities and non-discrimination;
4.2.3 take into consideration the standard of living and the real living costs in the host country when taking decisions regarding the amount of financial support to be provided;
4.2.4 guarantee students participating in credit- and full-degree mobility the full amount of financial support provided for domestic students;
4.2.5 encourage private businesses to support student mobility;
4.3 improve recognition of learning outcomes, and in particular:
4.3.1 sign and ratify the Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region (ETS No. 165), and enhance its implementation;
4.3.2 implement the Bologna Process structural reforms, including the three-cycle degree system and the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), aligning national qualifications frameworks with the Qualifications Framework of the European Higher Education Area (QF-EHEA);
4.3.3 evaluate recognition policies and practice at national level and participate in external quality assurance processes;
4.3.4 reduce the bureaucratic burden as regards recognition of qualifications for both the State and the student concerned;
4.4 streamline administrative procedures that have an impact on student mobility – visas, social cover and residence and work permits – and in particular:
4.4.1 abolish visa fees for students enrolled in mobility programmes, and reduce the response time with regard to applications;
4.4.2 issue residence permits in a timely manner for the full period of any visas granted;
4.4.3 take measures, in co-ordination with other countries, to remove administrative barriers related to the application of different social security systems and double taxation;
4.5 develop and implement measures to encourage the return of graduates to their home countries after taking part in student mobility programmes, to prevent brain drain; and facilitate, in particular, their access to employment, recognising student mobility as an added value.
5 With due regard to the fundamental values of academic freedom and university autonomy, the Assembly calls on higher education institutions to promote student mobility and, to that effect, to:
5.1 raise students’ interest and motivation, by explaining the benefits of mobility for personal fulfilment and development of personal identity, and recognise and attach more value to international student mobility;
5.2 provide clear information to students about academic mobility programmes, such as the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, including the financial support they could obtain, the study programmes for degree and credit mobility, the requirements for accessing such programmes and the application and administrative procedures and offer advice and assistance to students for the submission of their applications;
5.3 include international student mobility in the university curriculum rather than just as an extra-curricular possibility; and promote mobility as part of integrated courses, allowing students to study in partner universities on an alternating basis;
5.4 provide joint degrees and promote them among the student population;
5.5 provide foreign language courses and self-learning opportunities for mobile students, and offer courses taught in a language other than that of the country of residence; and encourage students who take part in the Erasmus+ programme to take full advantage of its online linguistic support programme;
5.6 develop training schemes for teaching staff in partner universities and provide information platforms and tools for understanding marking systems so as to simplify the conversion of ECTS credits;
5.7 promote positive peer influence by developing sponsorship programmes between incoming and outgoing students; and strengthen family support and the involvement of students on- and off-campus.
6 The Assembly calls on the European Union to consider modalities for the possible participation in the Erasmus+ programme of students from European countries currently not covered by this programme, in particular those from Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Switzerland.
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