Internationalisation not only fosters exchange and cooperation between people, it is one of the major drivers forthe relevance of and quality enhancement within higher education. New ambitious initiatives at EU and national level underpin the political importance of an internationally competitive higher education system in Europe.
28. February 2018, Brussels
The DAAD, the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA) – a European umbrella organization of internationalization agencies – and SIU, the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education, have joined forces to organise a platform for discussion to take stock of the European Union’s policies for international higher education and to showcase innovative programme examples at member state level which bear the potential to inspire future policy-making and programme design at the European level.
The European Commission presented its intention to establish a European Education Area (EEA) by 2025. Among other things, this will include the creation of at least 20 “European University Networks”, which take internationalisation of higher education institutions to a new level. The “European University Networks” are based on an idea by French president Macron and were endorsed by European leaders at the end of 2017. The “European Universities” will offer commonly taught study programmes, increase student and teacher mobility, allow for mutual recognition of degrees, support language learning and promote research-based, innovative teaching. The Commission intends to work hand in hand with the EU member states to develop this idea further.
From theory to practice: internationalisation agencies from Germany, Norway, Hungary, Estonia, Austria and Slovakia – all of them ACA members – presented inspiring examples of strengthening the internationalisation of higher education, including the internationalisation audit for Hungarian higher education institutions, the establishment of better ways to link education, research and innovation in Norway and the Strategic Partnerships programme of the DAAD in Germany, which may provide some ideas for the creation of the “European University Networks”.
In the debate, participants agreed that internationalisation in academia plays a crucial role in preparing young people for global citizenship and for the cohesion of the EU. Internationalisation in higher education should not be elitist, but inclusive and reach out to society. Last but not least, it requires sufficient fundings for universities as the agents of internationalisation.
ACA celebrated its 25th anniversary on the occasion of this seminar. The DAAD is one of ACA’s founding members. Today, ACA comprises members in 13 European countries. Happy Birthday, ACA!