Edition 205 - May 2018

News from ACA

Making a puzzle in Brussels on 11 June 2018










At a time when the value of internationalisation of higher education is being widely contested in many parts of the world and when proving the impact of internationalisation seems more pressing than ever, the next ACA seminar comes to provide some solutions to these important challenges. Under the title The impact of internationalisation – putting together the puzzle, the event will bring to Brussels on 11 June 2018 a host of 24 high-level experts to look into this salient matter. 

The programme is built to facilitate an honest and informed discussion on impact assessment at different levels – European, national, institutional, and individual and of different international education activities: 

  • Student and staff mobility
  • Strategic partnerships and joint programmes
  • Scholarship programmes 
  • Internationalisation at home and internationalisation of the curriculum
  • System-level assessment methodologies and indicators

The speakers will help take stock of the existing body of knowledge, data and other evidence on internationalisation of higher education. This would help to actively discuss and then conclude on what kind of impact-related questions can be answered with certainty, as well as to identity remaining gaps, to be filled by relevant research and data collection. 

With the event taking place in just 10 days, there are only a few open seats left. To register, please go to the event’s page.

Picture: pixabay.com 

TPF conference on innovative cities and universities in the Visegrad group









On the occasion of the Hungarian Presidency of the Visegrad Group and as a follow-up of Hungary’s HEInnovate activities, especially the joint OECD-European Commission report on Supporting Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Higher Education in Hungary, the Hungarian Ministry of Human Capacities and Tempus Public  Foundation (TPF) in collaboration with AmCham Hungary, organised an international conference on May 10, 2018. The conference brought together stakeholders of innovation networks to discuss and present best practices and new forms of cooperation between higher education institutions (HEIs), local governments, businesses and professional organisations.

Andrea-Rosalinde Hofer, Policy Analyst of the OECD and lead expert of the country review of Hungary, presented the most important learning models from the HEInnovate reviews conducted in five EU countries, including two Visegrad group members, Poland and Hungary. Set up by the European Commission (EC) and the OECD, HEInnovate as a tool and as an international network of universities and stakeholders promotes knowledge exchange and entrepreneurship as key elements of HEIs’ third mission. 

Third mission activities are one of the key elements in Hungary’s Higher Education Strategy” said Mr. István Szabó, Head of Department of the Hungarian Ministry of Human Capacities. He added that, in parallel with the EC-OECD HEInnovate country review recommendations, a national HEInnovate Expertise Platform was launched, and after stakeholder consultation, the ministry outlined an action plan for HEIs to develop their third mission activities. He emphasised that the innovation ecosystem and intellectual property management, as well as cooperation between universities and cities - in particular the smart city developments - are two areas where the Visegrad countries have similar challenges and opportunities. To this end, he initiated the establishment of a V4 level HEInnovate expert network. The first step of this initiative was the V4 for 3rd mission conference, which was a good opportunity to get acquainted with each other's good practices and challenges, so that V4 players can boost regional co-operation and get connected to the international network. This was ensured by keynote speeches and best practice presentations in the break-up thematic sessions as well as by networking in the social part of the programme.

The Hungarian Ministry of Human Capacities and TPF are devoted to the HEInnovate process, as this was already the forth related event – amongst which two with regional, cross-border aspects. 

More information here 

Conference website

Finnish-Eritrean higher education cooperation brings successful results

Finland has been a pioneer in higher education cooperation with Eritrea since 2015, when the Higher Education Institutions Institutional Cooperation Instrument (HEI ICI) was first launched. The programme was funded by the development funds of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and the five higher education capacity building projects are now coming to an end. The cooperation has been unique on many levels and the experiences from the bilateral programme could provide a model also for future initiatives. 

Within the programme, concrete results have been achieved: upgrade of equipment and facilities, revision of curricula, introduction of a new Master’s programme in Geoinformatics, digitisation and automatisation of university libraries, improvement of pedagogical skills and launch of research activities. Identified success factors of the collaboration include joint planning and priority setting, as well as the joint management structure between the Finnish and Eritrean counterparts and stakeholders.

Such joint management has ensured strong commitment and ownership from both sides and it has also contributed to solving challenges more efficiently.

Based on the need analysis in the preparation phase of the programme, the following elements were identified as the desired long-term impact of the programme: supporting human capacity development; improving access to higher education; improving the learning outcomes and ensuring that the skills graduates gain are relevant for society. The programme was designed to support the contribution of higher education to the development of society and the reduction of poverty in Eritrea. Long-term impact can only be judged in the years to come, but the results gained in the past three years are a sign that this development is well underway. The results achieved will contribute to continuous development work – and hopefully pave the way for more and deeper international collaboration to support Eritrean higher education in further development.

Reykjavik conference focuses on EUROSTUDENT VI results for Iceland

ACA’s Icelandic member organisation Rannís, together with the Icelandic Ministry for Education, Science and Culture and the National Union for Icelandic Students have recently organised a well attended conference in Reykjavik to discuss the results of the EUROSTUDENT VI survey for Iceland and their meaning for the Icelandic higher education system. 

In March, the EUROSTUDENT VI report was published and also featured in ACA newsletter. Iceland participated in the survey for the first time, with results based on the responses of 2000 students.  The Icelandic Ministry for Education, Science and Culture and Rannís were responsible for Iceland’s participation in the project. 


The survey reveals that the social conditions of students in Iceland are in many ways particular in comparison with other European countries. It is nowhere as common to be aged over 30 or to have children while enrolled in higher education. Students in Iceland spend more time on studies and paid jobs than anywhere else – 50 hours per week – and they consider their financial situation difficult. At the same time, their level of satisfaction with the organisation of studies and timetable, study facilities and teaching quality is high, and they have more experience than the average European student with cross-national mobility. 

At the event, the Minster of Education and Culture, Lilja Alfredsdottir, described the results of EUROSTUDENT VI as a turning point for higher education policy dialogue in Iceland by allowing for the first time for a comparison of student conditions across countries, which will give valuable input to the upcoming revision of the Icelandic Student Loan Fund. Students, researchers and other experts discussed in panel the link between the economic and social conditions of students and access to mobility and all agreed that sufficient funding opportunities and support to people with families are essential to ensure equal access to international opportunities.


European Policy

EU Commission proposal for Erasmus 2021-2027 is out

The much-awaited proposal of the European Commission (EC) for the next generation of the Erasmus programme came out on 30 May. As already indicated on 2 May in the EC Communication A Modern Budget for a Union that Protects, Empowers and Defends: The Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027, the proposed budget for the Erasmus programme is EUR 30 billion: double the amount of the current Erasmus+ programme (EUR 14,7 billion). On top of it, a further contribution will come from the Neighbourhood Development and International Cooperation Instrument and from the Instrument of Pre-Accession. But for those proposals, we will have to wait until 14 June.  

So far, so good. Doubling the allocation would indeed help achieving the objectives that the EC has set in the proposal for Erasmus, among which: reaching a European Education Area by 2025 and tripling the number of participants (up to 12 million) by making the programme as inclusive as possible. Moreover, the proposed programme is to be more accessible to organisations with little or no experience and limited organisational capacity, thanks to a specific action “small scale partnerships”. If this will result in a real simplification, it is to be seen.  The European Universities initiative is an integral part of the proposal as well, especially when it comes to future synergies with the new HorizonEurope Programme (the full proposal of which will be published on 7 June). 

Education and training is the part of the programme that is to be allocated the biggest share of the budget: EUR 24,94 billion. More specifically, higher education actions should be allocated 8,64 billion. 













The overall architecture of the programme will remain unchanged, with three main Key Actions for Education and Training: 

Learning Mobility (Key Action 1)

  • the mobility of higher education students and staff;
  • the mobility of vocational education and training learners and staff;
  • the mobility of school pupils and staff;
  • the mobility of adult education staff;
  • language learning opportunities, including those supporting mobility activities.

Cooperation among organisations and institutions (Key Action 2)

  • partnerships for cooperation and exchanges of practices, including small-scale partnerships to foster a wider and more inclusive access to the Programme;
  • partnerships for excellence, in particular European universities, Centres of vocational excellence and joint master degrees;
  • partnerships for innovation to strengthen Europe's innovation capacity;
  • online platforms and tools for virtual cooperation, including the support services for eTwinning and for the electronic platform for adult learning in Europe.

Support to policy development and cooperation (Key Action 3)

  • the preparation and implementation of the Union general and sectoral policy agendas in education and training, including with the support of the Eurydice network or activities of other relevant organisations;
  • the support of Union tools and measures that foster the quality, transparency and recognition of competences, skills and qualifications;
  • policy dialogue and cooperation with key stakeholders, including Union-wide networks, European non-governmental organisations and international organisations in the field of education and training;
  • measures that contribute to the qualitative and inclusive implementation of the Programme;
  • cooperation with other Union instruments and support to other Union policies;
  • dissemination and awareness-raising activities about European policy outcomes and priorities as well as on the Programme. 

Will the Erasmus budget really be doubled? This proposal is just the first step in a long “ping-pall match” between Council and Parliament, from which the proposed budget might come out considerably reduced. Many education practitioners think that the EC might and should much have been more ambitious than this. For the moment, we can just hope that the next Erasmus will not lose more than its “+”. 

Link to the full proposal 

Bologna implementation report: ups and downs since 2015

The Bologna implementation report 2018 was published on 23 May, just ahead of the Bologna Ministerial conference in Paris, 24-25 May. It was presented by David Crosier of Eurydice on 24 May, focusing on some of the main findings and trends in the implementation of the commitments in the Bologna process. 

The two first key words may be said to be ‘consolidation’ and ‘underfunding’. Namely, the reform process, since its inception, has achieved good results and despite uneven implementation, most countries have been working on reforms with relative success. However, public expenditure on higher education has throughout remained the same (1.2% GDP on average) despite the overall increase in student population, which adds to the challenge of the reform process. 

The implementation of the three key commitments yields mixed results. The 3-cycle degree structure reform has been implemented steadily, but it remains a challenge in some 10 out of the 48 EHEA countries. Particular complexity surrounds short cycle degrees, which exist in around half of the EHEA countries but with different levels of recognition of learning outcomes. On the other hand, the picture is brighter when it comes to quality assurance. The 2015 Standards and Guidelines for European Quality Assurance (ESG) have been well respected and improvements are noted on several indicators. According to the report, all higher education institutions are required to have policies for quality assurance in 20 HE systems, in contrast with 15 systems where there are no such legal requirements for higher education institutions. Where improvements are still needed is in the involvement of students in quality assurance processes and the quality assurance of joint programmes, where progress is slow due to limiting national legislation in many countries. Special attention in recognition is paid this time to the post-2015 issues many higher education systems have been facing, namely, the recognition of qualifications of displaced and refugee persons, and support for the highly skilled to continue education or enter the labour market. 

Internationalisation is said to be on increase across the EHEA countries albeit in different forms and degrees of engagement. In terms of degree mobility, the observed trend is mobility within the EHEA, not so much outside. Despite uneven mobility flows across the EHEA, the report indicates progress when it comes to measuring and monitoring student mobility. 

Fostering shared values and strengthening the social dimension of higher education was echoed strongly and repeatedly at this year’s Bologna Ministerial conference. But despite the consensus on their relevance, the need for more inclusiveness and openness for disadvantaged groups persist as a challenge in the Bologna Process. Particularly difficult, it was noted in the presentation, is it to assess values across higher education systems. Still, the ministers agreed in Paris that academic freedom, institutional autonomy and stakeholder participation in HE governance are the foundation of higher education - and have been seriously challenged in some EHEA countries in the past period. 

Bologna Implementation report (PDF)


EC press release

Bologna Ministerial Conference: European identity, Academic Freedom and Social inclusion in focus

On 24 and 25 May the 2018 Bologna Ministerial conference took place in Paris, under the organisational wing of France, which took over the Bologna Secretariat after the 2015 conference in Yerevan. This year’s gathering left an impression of a renewed sense of purpose and appreciation for cooperation within and outside the EHEA in light of the achievements in the past 20 years since the Sorbonne declaration. The conference gathered more than 70 ministers of education and an audience of more than 500 high-level representatives of governments, European and international associations, higher education institutions, and other higher education stakeholders. 

The definite red thread in both documents adopted at the conference - the Paris Communiqué and the Statement of the Fifth Bologna Policy Forum (BPF) - was a) an emphasis on the social and civic responsibility of higher education (institutions) and b) strong support for the peer learning approach, which so far has been the modus operandi within the EHEA, and which will be introduced in cooperation between EHEA and non-EHEA countries, i.e. as part of the BPF work. 

The Paris Communiqué calls for firmer commitment to and protection of fundamental values such as academic freedom and integrity, institutional autonomy, public responsibility and participation of students and staff in HE governance – some of which have been challenged in certain EHEA countries, and it further emphasises the social responsibility of higher education. Digitalisation, innovative approaches and the quality in teaching and learning remain a strong focus of the EHEA community and the importance of lifelong learning for its social and academic inclusiveness, drawing from the Ministers’ statements at the conference. 

Uneven progress in the implementation of the Bologna commitments remains a challenge, as well as the need for more inclusiveness, European-level quality assurance of joint programmes and the usual suspect – recognition, with particular emphasis on persons with a refugee background in the aftermath of the “refugee crisis”. More details can be found in the separate article on the Bologna implementation report here.

In light of the three key commitments

  • Three-cycle system compatible with the EHEA qualifications framework
  • Compliance with the Lisbon Recognition Convention
  • Quality assurance in line with the European Standards and Guidelines

the accompanying adopted measures comprise a revised Diploma Supplement, the adoption of short-cycle qualifications as a stand-alone qualification level within EHEA qualifications framework, and the document on the structured peer support approach in the implementation of the three above key commitments, plus the Belarus strategy 2018-2020 in light of the country’s recent joining of the EHEA. 

The vision of the EHEA beyond 2020 is one of more ambition in terms of innovation, cross-border cooperation and all three missions of higher education: more cross-disciplinarity, much stronger links between higher education and research and the two respective areas – EHEA and the European Research Area (ERA), stronger social dimension of higher education and inclusion of disadvantaged groups and equally, EHEA’s global outreach and cooperation with non-EHEA regions and institutions. One of the guiding stars of the conference was the Macron-sparked idea of European university networks, which has been strongly endorsed by the EHEA community and as repeatedly stressed, such university alliances should not focus solely on the EU, but go further to at least include the 48 EHEA countries. 

More information about the Ministerial conference can be found here 

Paris Communiqué here 

Bologna Policy Forum statement here

EU education headline targets: saved by the ladies

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, recently published new data on progress towards the two EU “headline targets” relating to education. The good news: there is progress. But the picture is to a high degree due to female students and pupils. Men lag behind. 

The Union introduced its five headline targets already in 2002, and it has been measuring progress annually ever since. Two of the targets concern education. The first one measures the share of the population of 30-34-year-olds who have completed tertiary education. The EU-wide target set was 40% - individual countries have their own (higher or lower) targets. In 2002, the EU-wide average was 23.6%. In 2017, it stood at 39.9%, i.e. minimally below the target (to be reached in 2020). The shares rose for males and females alike. But the percentage of women has at any time been higher than that of men. In 2017, the female share stood at 44.9%. That of males, on the other hand reached only 34.9%. The highest percentages of all tertiary graduates are to be found in Lithuania, Cyprus and Ireland. With values ranging from 58% to 53.5%. At the bottom of the table, with under 30%, are Romania, Italy and Croatia. Half of the 28 EU countries have already reached or exceeded their individual country target.

School drop-out is on the way down, which is also good news. Early school-leavers, defined as the percentage of 18-24-year-olds who have completed at least lower secondary education and who were not in in further education and training, stood at 10.6%, compared to 15.3% in 2006. Again, fewer young women than young men drop out. The respective shares are 8.9% and 12.1%. 

The recent focus on inclusiveness in European policies is very welcome. But too rarely is it being recognised that more or less half of the population – males – belong to those who are ‘challenged’. 

More information 

May 2018 Education Council Conclusions and Recommendations

The Education, Youth, Culture and Sports Council met in Brussels on 22-23 May 2018. In the field of education, the Council adopted three main documents:

Most related to the field of higher education is the third document, which highlights the role of education and culture in bringing Europeans together and for the future of the EU. The conclusions invite member states to cooperate and to continue reflecting on a shared vision of an EEA, including its possible goals, objectives and scope, and its links with the post-2020 strategic framework for cooperation in education and training. Special emphasis is placed on: Erasmus +, digital skills and education, higher education, high quality and inclusive education, involvement of new stakeholders including disadvantaged groups, language learning and the recognition of qualifications. 

Prominent in the conclusions is also the declared support for the European Universities initiative, described as ”bottom-up networks that are geographically and socially inclusive and work seamlessly across borders, and which could play a flagship role in the creation of a European Education Area as a whole”. The document also clarifies the wider aim of this initiative, namely “to empower new generations of European citizens and to strengthen the international competitiveness of higher education in Europe”. The Council further invites the European Commission to develop and establish the key objectives and concept of European Universities as well as support their development. 

The Council adopted its conclusions on the same day that the European Commission adopted a new package of measures aiming to bolster the implementation of the EEA by 2025.

National Education and the Global Context

Hungary: Open Society Foundations to relocate to Berlin




The Open Society Foundations created by Hungarian-born US billionaire and philanthropist George Soros have decided to move their Budapest-based European headquarters to the German capital, Berlin. The decision was announced by the President of the organisation, Patrick Gaspard, on May 15.  

Gaspard stated that “the government of Hungary has denigrated and misrepresented our work and repressed civil society for the sake of political gain, using tactics unprecedented in the history of the European Union”. He also claimed that “it has become impossible to protect the security of our operations and our staff in Hungary from arbitrary government interference”. The present Hungarian government has long had a strained relationship with foreign NGOs operating in Hungary and with the Open Society Foundations in particular. Ironically, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has launched a “Stop Soros” package of legislation, is a former grant holder of Soros.

The Open Society Foundations promote liberal values, the freedom of expression and thought, civil rights, democracy and the rule of law. The focus of their activities was and predominantly still is on Eastern Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Union. The organisation is mainly a grant-making body. 

Another Budapest-based organisation with links to Soros, the Central European University (CEU), is highly likely to shut down its operations in Hungary, too. Hungary’s law on higher education allows the operation of foreign universities in Hungary, but only if they also run academic operations in their ‘country of origin’. The CEU has US (and Hungarian) accreditation, but did not, until recently, run teaching or research activities at its legal seat, New York State. CEU has now changed this, hoping to avoid a shut-down of the Budapest campus. Sources believe that this will not avoid the end of the Budapest operations. The university had earlier this year announced to move a small part of its operations to Vienna, but it is now highly likely that all their operations will need to transfer to the Austrian capital.

The Austrian government has, for a long time, tried to attract the CEU, and is currently renovating premises which could accommodate all CEU operations. Renovation is scheduled to be finalised by 2022. In the likely event that CEU needs to shut down its Budapest campus earlier, it would even need to find interim locations. 

Happy 50th birthday KU Leuven!









This year marks the 50th anniversary of the year when the Catholic University of Leuven became a fully Flemish, independent university. Founded in 1425, the University of Leuven worked as a bi-lingual university until 1968, when Flemish students took the street and demanded that courses were given in their Dutch language. This led to the separation of the university in two separate entities: the French-speaking Université Catholique de Louvain and the Dutch-speaking Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven). 

Since then, KU Leuven has been distinctly Flemish and international, strengthening more and more its reputation of a high-quality higher education institution: 5th in the Reuters World Ranking of Most Innovative Universities (2017), 47th in the Times Higher Education World University Ranking (2017-2018), 71st in the QS World University Ranking (2017-2018). Furthermore, KU Leuven is the 6th university in the EC Horizon 2020 programme and the 10th university in the ERC grants programme with over 110 projects. 

The academic offer of KU Leuven reflects its mission to be as international as possible: 78 Bachelor programmes (4 in English), 205 Master programmes (62 in English, 1 in French), 44 advanced Master programmes (24 in English) and 7 Erasmus Mundus programmes. KU Leuven also offers a number of co-operative programmes: 39 joint degrees, 28 double degrees, 43 programmes organised with international partners. International students amount to 9,844, which corresponds to 17% of the total number of students (around 55,000).  

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of KU Leuven, an international symposium was held at KU Leuven on 4 May on the theme Internationalisation of Universities and the national language. Internationalisation is strictly linked to language, and today English is by far the most powerful language in the world. It already is the common language of research and education. How to deal with this dominance of English? How do we choose a language for academia these days? In short, how can we be international but at the same time champion the use of the national language? The conference brought together a number of HE experts from different parts of the world, who all tried to answer this very simple, but at the same time very challenging question. 

The first round of speakers addressed the topic English as the common language of research and of international university education. Prof. Karen Lauridsen held a presentation on Multilingual Learning in an internationally oriented university, in which she explored the link between multilingualism and multiculturalism; Prof. Ulrich Ammon, addressed the topic of the advantages and disadvantages of the use of English as the common language of Research, with a focus on Germany; Prof. Manuel Célio Conceição spoke on The policy of the European Language Council and the internationalisation of universities. 

The last part of the symposium focused on Beyond language: how to bring international visitors in contact with the local culture? Here, different case-studies were presented, showing the perspectives of Ghent University; the Nordic region and their work with on Parallel Language policies; Estonia; Slovenia. Other more specific cases came from Wales, Catalonia, Aruba, and South-Africa. These insights were necessary also to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, because this issue is also linked to the general context of each country and their respective language. 

You can access the full presentations here

Launch of Franco-German joint research initiative












The Franco-German initiative “Make our Planet Great Again”, initiated after the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement in June 2017, can finally start. 

An expert jury of DAAD has selected 13 renowned international researchers who will start projects on climate, energy and earth system research in Germany. 7 out of the 13 scientists come from the United States, 2 from the UK and the others from Switzerland, Canada, South Korea and Australia, respectively. They were selected from around 300 applicants. 

On the French side, coordinated by Campus France, 18 researchers were selected in the first phase and 3 more recently joined them, for a total of 21 international researchers (out of 1822 formal applications). Also in this case, the majority of applications came from the United States, followed by the UK and India. 

In the coming months, the participants will set up their own research group at the respective university or external research institution. In addition, regular meetings and conferences are planned with researchers from both sides, in order to consolidate the Franco-German research cooperation. The research groups will focus on: Climate Change, Energy Transition and Earth System Research. The programme is designed for a total of five years and is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research with 15 Million euro (for the German side) and by the French Ministry of Foreign Affaires and the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation with 30 Million euro (for the French side). 

More information

While students' protests continue in France, Parcoursup publishes admission results









In our October 2017 edition, we covered the launch of the new Plan Etudiants, which will affect the way in which French students can access higher education in France. This initiative has sparked several protests among students all around the country: Paris, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes, Nancy and especially Montpellier, where violence reached high peaks. Protesters believe that the new system of admission “Parcoursup” is elitist and discriminatory, as it will disadvantage students from poorer backgrounds. The previous system was not so different, though. In fact, before the introduction of Parcoursup, the admission of students to over-subscribed courses was managed by another system called APB (Admission Post Bac), which “decided” if students could be admitted or not on a purely lottery-like basis. 

Despite the widespread protests, the government had proceeded with its plan and, on 15 January, the new platform Parcoursup was officially launched. During the following two months students have had the possibility to express their wishes on the platform (maximum 10). 

On 22 May the first admission results were published: students were informed if they were admitted to one or more universities, if they were not admitted to any university or if they were put on a waiting list (in which case they have to wait for a place to get free). Students have time until 21 September to make a choice. 

For transparency reasons, the Ministry of Education has made public the algorithm used by Parcoursup; the algorithms used by the individual universities, on the other hand, have not (secret des délibérations). It is not yet clear how universities will continue to justify this decision after the 25 May, date in which the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) entered into force, making it binding for all organisations manipulating personal data to make the use of those data transparent and explicit.

Pictures: thelocal.fr and parcoursup.fr 

IIE expands its PEER project to new countries

In March 2017, ACA member the Institute of International Education (IIE), together with the Catalyst Foundation for Universal Education launched its flagship initiative Platform for Education in Emergencies Response (PEER) with the objective of providing refugee and displaced students with a comprehensive resource of education opportunities, scholarships, online and language learning. 

What PEER does is as simple as much needed: via a mobile-ready, low-bandwidth database, which is also available in Arabic, it creates a bridge between students and all those opportunities coming from governments, NGOs, foundations and volunteers, enabling students to proceed with their higher education and take ownership of their own lives. This way, the project aims to fill a stark gap between refugee youth and higher education opportunities: data show that only 1% of them have access to higher education (compared to 34% of all youth worldwide). 

At its dawn, the project only focused on Syrian students at the university level, who were the ones with the most dramatic proportion of drop-outs due to war: it is estimated that over 200 000 young Syrians have had to interrupt their tertiary education. In its first year, PEER has been able to provide around 600 educational opportunities. Users of the platform are between 24 and 25 years of age, which is a clear sign of their will to                                                                              reconnect with their studies. 

As of 28 May, PEER will not be available for Syrian students only, but it will expand to the ten countries that at present have the highest number of internally or externally displaced population: Colombia, Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Nigeria, Ukraine, Yemen. IIE sees this as a long-term investment in the development of those countries that are currently affected by wars. This means that in the future, other countries and new opportunities will be included on PEER in order for it to become as much as possible a global resource for education opportunities. 

More information

Education under Attack 2018

The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) is composed by CARA (Council for At-Risk Academics), Human Rights Watch (HRW), Institute of International Education/ IIE Scholar Rescue Fund, Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict (PEIC), Save the Children, UNICEF, UNESCO, and UNHCR. Its mission is the protection of students, teachers, schools, and universities from attacks around the world. 

Education under Attack 2018 is at its fourth edition. The first two were published by UNESCO in 2007 and 2010, the third by GCPEA in 2014. This report covers the period between 2013 and 2018 and focuses on the following countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Yemen.

According to the report, between 2013 and 2017 attacks on education have been carried out in 74 countries (including the 28 above mentioned), registering an increase in violence directed towards students, educators and their institutions compared to the 2014 report (where attacks were registered in 70 countries). The report takes into consideration six categories of attacks on education, one of which regards higher education (HE)

Attacks on HE include attacks on universities, technical and vocational education training institutes, and other HE facilities, as well as attacks that target students, professors, and other HE staff. This category includes violent repression of demonstrations related to education matters such as policies and laws, or of on-campus protests, during which state security forces kill, seriously injure, or otherwise use excessive force against university students or staff. Attacks on HE also include deliberate acts of coercion, intimidation, or threats of physical force that create a climate of fear and repression that undermines academic freedom and educational functions. This report excludes violations such as infringement on academic freedom that does not consist of either physical violence or the threat of physical violence. While the detention of academics is included when imprisonment occurs in relation to their scholarship because this is a physical punishment, the report does not track violations such as the suspension of academics, censorship of research, travel bans, or revocation of citizenship.

Overall, reported attacks on HE appeared to be more widespread from 2013 to 2017 than previously documented. GCPEA found reports of attacks on HE facilities and other property in 28 countries, including 20 of the 28 countries profiled in the report. Of the profiled countries, HE facilities were attacked in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Kenya, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria, Thailand, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Yemen. Attacks on HE personnel, including targeted killings, abductions, threats, harassment, or violent repression of education-related protests that injured or killed a student or university staff member, were found in 52 countries, including every country profiled in this report. The countries with the highest number of reported attacks on HE facilities were Bangladesh, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. This included attacks with explosives and gunmen targeting university campuses. There were also widely-reported deadly attacks on universities in several other countries, including Pakistan and Kenya. 

The report also provides possible solutions, such as the endorsement and implementation of the Safe Schools Declaration, an inter-governmental political commitment to protect education during armed conflict, and provides a set of recommendations.  

Read the full report here

Public Tenders and Calls for Proposals in the EU

H2020 SwafS: Research innovation needs & skills training in PhD programmes

This call aims to develop a broad package of skills-related training, integration and intelligence for researchers and scientists in all career stages. Preferably pilots will be organised by (or in cooperation with) experienced projects which already received EU funding or are currently funded under Erasmus+, Horizon2020, ITN, MSCA. In all cases, partners should be able to demonstrate proof of concept and initial impact of the PhD training and reasoning for improving and formally integrating skills training. Initial postgraduate tracking exercises have to be integrated in the proposal, to demonstrate ability to trace postgraduates during employment (including sex-disaggregated data). Counselling initiatives of PhD candidates and PhD graduates into focused careers in and outside academia should be provided.

Planned opening: 11 December 2018

Deadline: 2 April 2019 (17:00 Brussels time)

Total Budget: EUR 2 million 


This call aims to further intensify the services provided by the EURAXESS Service Centers by expanding their mandate of taking care of the early career development of researchers and entrepreneurs in Europe with particular focus on female Higher Education Institution students and researchers. 

The services of the EURAXESS network will reach out to mobile and non-mobile researchers and entrepreneurs with the aim of contributing to European policy developments in this area on opening new career trajectories in industry, thus including start-ups. 

This action will support activities of the EURAXESS Service Network represented by Bridgehead Organisations to address strategic issues related to support services of the network. The further diversification of career development and/or support for dual careers centers will be expanded over a wider geographical range of the network, support to researchers and young entrepreneurs for start-ups in SMEs and industry and concepts for better integration of researchers into the culture of the host country and to the culture of a business environment, as well as mentoring programmes for researchers.

Planned opening: 11 December 2018

Deadline: 2 April 2019 (17:00 Brussels time)

Total Budget: EUR 3 million  

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Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions: Individual Fellowship 2018

The goal of the Individual Fellowships is to enhance the creative and innovative potential of experienced researchers, wishing to diversify their individual competence in terms of skill acquisition through advanced training, international and intersectoral mobility.

Individual Fellowships provide opportunities to researchers of any nationality to acquire and transfer new knowledge and to work on research and innovation in Europe (EU Member States and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries) and beyond. The scheme particularly supports the return and (re)integration of European researchers from outside Europe and those who have previously worked here, as well as researchers displaced by conflict outside the EU and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries. It also promotes the career restart of individual researchers who show great potential.

Deadline: 12 September 2018 17:00:00 (Brussels time)


  • MSCA-IF-GF Global Fellowships (EUR 45,000,000)
  • MSCA-IF-EF-ST Standard European Fellowships, MSCA-IF-EF-SE Society and Enterprise panel, MSCA-IF-EF-RI Reintegration panel (EUR 220,000,000)
  • MSCA-IF-EF-CAR Career Restart panel (EUR 8,000,000

Only one proposal per individual researcher per call will be evaluated. 

EAC/A05/2017 Erasmus+ Programme (last open strands)

Total budget: EUR 2 490,9 million 

  • Education and Training: EUR 2 253,2 million
  • Youth: EUR 188,2 million
  • Jean Monnet: EUR 12,1 million
  • Sport: EUR 37,4 million 

Deadlines for the submission of applications (all deadlines for submission of applications specified below end at 12.00 Brussels time)

  • Key Action 1

— Mobility of individuals in the field of youth: 4 October 2018

  • Key Action 2

Strategic partnerships in the field of youth: 4 October 2018

  • Key Action 3

Meetings between young people and decision-makers in the field of youth: 4 October 2018

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DAAD National Agency for EU Higher Education Cooperation presents annual report 2017

The National Agency for Higher Education Cooperation within the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has recently launched its annual report for 2017. In the academic year 2015/2016, 45,126 German students went in Erasmus abroad, showing a 1% increase compared to the academic year 2014/2015 (44,709 students). This proves the continuously growing interest in the programme. Also the staff mobility has impressively increased by 16,8%. 

The report also reveals that German Erasmus students choose respectively Spain, France and Great Britain most frequently as their host country for study abroad. The same countries are also preferred destinations for internships abroad, but in a different order of preference (UK, Spain, France). 94% of German students  who went abroad declare themselves satisfied with the experience. 

The 2017 report is embedded in a much wider report on the 30 years since the launch of the Erasmus programme. Data are provided on all the initiatives and projects put in place in Germany during the first 30 years of the Erasmus mobility programme. In 1087, the year when Erasmus was launched, only 657 German took the chance to go to study abroad. 










Full report (in German)

Beyond economic: How international education delivers broad value for New Zealand















In May 2018 Research New Zealand (RNZ) published a report upon request of Education New Zealand (ENZ) on the broader contribution that international education makes to New Zealand, beyond the economic results ($4.5 billion in 2016). The report refers to community-based and socio-cultural benefits, as well as educational benefits, resulting from the presence of international students in New Zealand’s schools and campuses and in communities in general. In a nutshell, in 2016 almost 132 000 international students were enrolled to study in New Zealand. Of these, half were from China (29%) and India (21%). 

The report builds on four case studies: a school, an engineering business, a New Zealand embassy, and a tourism operation. This research study involved two main streams of work which were completed between May and July 2017: the literature scan, based on the current largest providers of international education (Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada), which reviewed how other countries value contributions made by international students, and case studies of New Zealanders who have had actual, first-hand experience of the benefits and contributions made by international students who have gone to study in New Zealand.

Overall, the scan found strong evidence that the international education industry and the tourism activities of international students and their families, directly and indirectly contribute to economic activity and job creation in their host countries. In particular, it brought benefits to: national and regional economies; tourism; soft-diplomacy and international trade; business, innovation and workforce; community-based, cultural and educational value. 

Full report here


The Future Agenda for Internationalization in Higher Education

D. Proctor, L. Rumbley,  The Future Agenda for Internationalization in Higher Education - Next Generation Insights into Research, Policy, and Practice, Routledge 2018, 242 pages, ISBN 9781138289796

The internationalisation of higher education is a world-wide phenomenon, subject to multiple interpretations at national, institutional and individual levels. Still, much of the mainstream literature on this topic is concentrated on a small number of countries and a narrow range of key topics.

To address this gap, The Future Agenda for Internationalization in Higher Education offers a broader set of perspectives from outside the dominant English-speaking and Western European paradigms, while simultaneously focusing on dimensions of internationalisation that are known to be under-researched. Additionally, the editors give primacy to next generation perspectives, not only to amplify our current understanding of key issues around the world, but also to shine a light on possible future agendas for this important aspect of contemporary higher education.

The notions of new modes, new topics, and new contexts frame the analysis, providing new pathways for exploring and understanding distinct aspects of this crucially important phenomenon in higher education around the world. Key topics covered include:

  • the current state of research and analysis on the internationalisation of higher education
  • aspects of internationalization and international activities which have not previously been explored or have limited current exposure
  • how research into internationalization is conducted, showcasing innovative methodological practices
  • a synthesis of common themes and differences in relation to the future agenda of topics, modes and contexts for internationalization
  • an identification of key areas for future research

A thoughtful guide for considering the many possible directions ahead for internationalization in higher education, The Future Agenda for Internationalization in Higher Education is essential reading for academic researchers and graduate students, as well as international education practitioners and leaders keen to make sense of evolving trends in this field.


Educational Policy-making

M. Kogan, Educational Policy-making A Study of Interest Groups and Parliament, Routledge 2018, 258 pages, ISBN 9781138487932 

Originally published in 1975, this masterly study of policies and policy-makers in education opens up a major, and fascinating, area of public policy to analysis. In this book, Professor Kogan draws together many of his previous findings to provide a searching examination and overview of education and its relationship both to government and to individuals and groups within the system. The result is not only a definitive statement on the making of educational policy, but a study of pressure groups; and in broader terms it is a commentary on the democratic efficiency of the British policy-making process both inside and outside Parliament.

The core of the book is an analysis of the main policies which were the major concerns of educational government between 1960 and 1974. This shows how the various interest groups in education differ in their attitudes and their ways of working; and provides both an intriguing insight into the historical development of education over this key period and a variety of personal views from the individuals who helped to shape this development.


Fostering Imagination in Higher Education

J. Whitton, Fostering Imagination in Higher Education - Disciplinary and Professional Practices, Routledge 2018, 228 pages 

Imagination and creative teaching approaches are increasingly important across all higher education disciplines, not just the arts. Investigating the role of imagination in teaching and learning in non-arts disciplines, this book argues that a lack of clarity about what imagination looks like in higher education impedes teachers in fostering their students’ creativity.

Fostering Imagination in Higher Education tells four ethnographic stories from physics, history, finance and pharmaceutical science courses, analytically observing the strategies educators use to encourage their students’ imagination, and detailing how students experience learning when it is focussed on engaging their imagination. The highly original study is framed by Ricoeur’s work on different forms of imagination (reproductive and productive or generative). It links imaginative thinking to cognitive science and philosophy, in particular the work of Clark, Dennett and Polanyi, and to the mediating role of disciplinary concepts and social-cultural practices.

The author’s discussion of models, graphs, strategies and artefacts as tools for taking learners’ thinking forward has much to offer understandings of pedagogy in higher education. Students in these case studies learned to create themselves as knowledge producers and professionals. It positioned them to experience actively the constructed nature of the knowledge and processes they were learning to use – and the continuing potential of knowledge to be remade in the future. This is what makes imaginative thinking elemental to the goals of higher education.


Higher Education, Globalization and Eduscapes

Higher Education, Globalization and Eduscapes: Towards a Critical Anthropology of a Global Knowledge Society, P. Forstorp, U. Mellström, Palgrave Macmillan 2018, IBSN: 978-1-137-44046-4 

This book examines transnational scapes and flows of higher education: arguing that the educational and political vision of a national, regional and global knowledge society needs to be perspectivised beyond its ethnocentric conditions and meanings. Using eduscapes as its most important concept, this book explores the educational landscapes of individual as well as institutional actors; particularly the agential aspects of how global eduscapes are imagined, experienced, negotiated and constructed. In addition, the authors highlight the critical potential of anthropology, using this perspective as a resource for cultural critique where the Western experience and assumed ‘ownership’ of the global knowledge economy will be put into question. This comprehensive book will appeal to students and scholars of educational policy, the sociology of education and the globalisation of education. 

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ACA events

11 June 2018
EPS2 - The impact of internationalisation – putting together the puzzle
Brussels, Belgium
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9 November 2018
EPS 3 - Mobility-migration nexus: policies, practices, discourses and evidence
Brussels, Belgium


5 June 2018
European Student Card
Promoting the Student mobility and the European higher Education Area
Paris, France
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May 27-June 1 2018
NAFSA 2018 Annual Conference & Expo
Diverse Voices, Shared Commitment
Philadelphia, US
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13 June 2018
Academic Refuge
Dangerous Questions: Why Academic Freedom Matters
Ljubljana, Slovenia
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14-15 June 2018
HEInnovate 2018
HEInnovate: Supporting Institutional Change in Higher Education
Ruse, Bulgaria
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May 29-June 1 2018
CESE XXVIII Conference 
Identities and Education: Comparative Perspectives in an Age of Crisis
Nicosia, Cyprus
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15-18 June 2018
World Congress on Education
Global Issues in Education and Research
Dublin, Ireland 
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17-20 June 2018
EDEN 2018 Annual Conference: #EDEN18
Exploring the Micro, Meso and Macro:
Navigating between dimensions in the digital learning landscape
Genova, Italy
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17-20 June 2018
BCCIE Summer Conference
Things we should be talking about in International Education
Vancouver, Canada
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20-22 June 2018 
HEAd'18 - 4th International Conference on Higher Education Advances
Valencia, Spain
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5-6 July 2018 
LLLP Annual Conference 
Lifelong Learning Culture: A partnership for rethinking education
Vienna, Austria
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9-10 August 2018
27th New Zealand International Education Conference and Expo (NZIEC)
Inspiring Global Citizens
Wellington, New Zealand
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26-29 August 2018
40th EAIR Forum 
Competition, Collaboration and Complementarity in Higher Education
Budapest, Hungary
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30 August - 1 September 2018
CHER 31st Annual Conference 
Differentiation and Integration in Higher Education: Patterns and Dynamics
Moscow, Russia
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11-14 September 2018
Geneva 2018: 30th Annual EAIE Conference and Exhibition 
Facing outward
Geneva, Switzerland
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17-18 September 2018
30th anniversary of the Magna Charta Universitatum  
University values in a changing world
Salamanca, Spain
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6-8 October 2018
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities 32nd Annual Conference 
Championing Hispanic Higher Education Success
Atlanta, US
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10-12 October 2018
The Online, Open and Flexible Higher Education Conference OOFHEC 2018
Blended and Online Learning: Changing the Educational Landscape
Aarhus University, DK
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9-12 October 2018
Australian International Education Conference
Empowering a New Generation
Sydney, Australia
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18-20 October 2018
Leadership in Higher Education Conference
Minneapolis, USA
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7-10 November 2018
CIEE College Study Abroad Annual Conference
Leading Innovation: Educating Global Citizens in the Digital Age
Barcelona, Spain
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13-15 November 2018
International Association of Universities
Higher Education Partnerships for Societal Impact
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
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19-20 November 2018
Global University Network for Innovation 
International Conference on Humanities and Higher Education: Generating Synergies between Science, Technology and Humanities
Barcelona, Spain
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21-23 November 2018
UNESCO global conference 
Quality Assurance in Higher Education
Paris, France
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