DAAD has addressed the topic of widening inclusion in international higher education activities in general, and in the forthcoming Erasmus 2021-2027 programme in particular, in an event organised jointly with European partners in Brussels.

Inclusion is a journey and we still have a long way to go. This event is a step into the right direction.

Ágnes Sarolta Fazekas, Eötvös Loránd Science University

Ágnes Sarolta Fazekas, chairperson of the EAIE access and diversity expert community, opened the event with a keynote speech. She stated that the idea of inclusion is very often mentioned in recent national-level and EU policy documents (such as in the European Commission proposal for Erasmus 2021-2027), but it is still to be fully defined as a policy goal and to be further operationalised for a successful implementation.

The event organised by DAAD together with ACA (the Academic Cooperation Association – a European umbrella organisation of internationalisation agencies), Diku (the Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education), and Flanders Knowledge Area (FKA) could provide a first response to this request by presenting some good practice examples from ACA member organisations and European higher education institutions how inclusion can be tackled.

Good practice examples

  • FKA – on Flemish policies and support measures for inclusive international student mobility (with contributions from SIHO - Support Centre for Inclusive Higher Education);
  • DAAD – on a study abroad campaign for reaching out the first-time academics;
  • EDUFI – on a Finnish, national-level project addressing equity in internationalisation;
  • University of Antwerp – on the use of Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL);
  • Metropolia University of Applied Sciences – on virtual mobility in technical fields as a tool to diversify educational offering at home and to provide an international experience.

The examples addressed both mobility actions abroad, as well as internationalisation@home activities and discussion both featured the need for support to groups with special needs, as well as the need to motivate groups, who haven’t participated in internationalisation activities so far, to do so in the future. Alexander Haridi from DAAD, made a strong point in requesting that solutions for more inclusion should be designed together with the target groups, and not on behalf of them.

Inclusion of first time academics is paramount. How? Let the students speak from themselves.

Alexander Haridi, DAAD

The European Commission presented its plans to widen diversity in the next Erasmus programme (2021-2027) via actions like: working on an inclusion strategy, with clearly-defined target groups, revising the Erasmus+ Charter for Higher Education (2.0), revising the mobility grants, working to enable flexible mobility formats (combining physical mobility with virtual collaboration) and ensuring automatic mutual recognition.

In the coming months the European Commission will closely work together with stakeholders and National Erasmus+ Agencies to operationalize the goal of inclusion and make mobility a reality for all in the Erasmus 2021-2027 programme.

Please visit the event page for further information.