Tag: international student market

New study on how Norwegian students make decisions about outward mobility

A new report from NIFU has examined in more detail why Norwegian students choose to go abroad and how they find information about countries and  institutions they would want to study in.

According to most recent OECD Data (Education at a Glance 2016), about 6% of the students in OECD countries are international students, and the ratio of incoming and outgoing students can vary substantially between countries. While studies have examined the motivation of students to go abroad in other contexts (see for example this study for UK), there are few comprehensive studies in the Norwegian context, the last study of this kind being conducted about 15 years ago.  One could argue that Norway is an interesting case for studying outgoing students in a European context. It has traditionally had a large number of outgoing students and a student loan/support system that is favourable for studies abroad, as it also opens for support for tuition fees (up to a limit).

The NIFU study is based on a survey that was the largest of its kind in Norway, covering 5464 students who had obtained support from the State Loan fund to study abroad for a full degree. The survey shows that students are in general rather happy with their choice to study abroad.




EAIE 2014: Stepping into a new era

Dr. Leasa Weimer (University of Jyväskylä / EMA Association)

Dr. Leasa Weimer
(University of Jyväskylä / EMA Association)

This guest entry is written by Leasa Weimer who is a post-doctoral researcher at University of Jyväskylä in Finland after having finished her PhD in at the University of Georgia. She is also the current president of the Erasmus Mundus Alumni and Students association, a network composing of about 9000 Erasmus Mundus alumni and students. In this post she shares her impessions of the recent EAIE conference. 

European Association for International Educators (EAIE) conference was held in Prague, September 16-19, 2014.

A sunny Prague welcomed over 5,000 attendees from 90 countries to the26th annual EAIE conference. The conference was abuzz with discussions focused on university partnerships, internationalization strategies, and student and staff mobility.

An expo of over 200 exhibitors (universities, providers, and country pavilions) served as the meet-up spot for networking, building future partnerships, and learning more about products and services in the international education market.

The theme this year was “Stepping into a New Era” and many speakers, dialogues, and sessions brought light to the current geopolitical environment and world events as they discussed international education. When introducing the opening plenary, the EAIE President mentioned those in the international education field who were impacted by the Malaysian flight accidents. The booth for the 2015 EAIE conference, scheduled to be in Glasgow, was lively as conference attendees stopped by to speak with the local Scottish individuals about the succession vote. Dialogue debates tackled such hot topics as international education as an initiative for peace and a united, yet divided, Europe.




UNESCO working towards global recognition of higher education qualifications

unescoIn recent years, mobility of students and workforce has created increased attention on instruments that would make cross-border recognition of educational qualifications easier. This has frequently been presented as an issue and can understandably be a quite frustrating process to have your hard earned foreign diploma not recognized in your home country. While a number of regional initiatives have emerged world wide – are we now witnessing a more global effort in this area?

Lisbon Convention

UNESCOs convention on recognition of qualifications for the European region was adopted in 1997 in Lisbon, and is signed by all of the 47 countries in the Council of Europe with the exception of Greece and Monaco.

It introduced a rather novel idea at the time as it states that qualifications are to be recognized between the countries that have signed the regional convention unless the recognition granting institution can prove “substantial differences”. Basically this means that the process of recognition is turned around – by default one does not need to prove equivalence of degrees to assure recognition, but one has to prove that there is substantial difference for degrees not to recognize a qualification. This is also one of the reasons why Lisbon Recognition convention has been essential in the context of the Bologna Process.

Increased focus on cross-border mobility and recognition in Europe

Recognition and cross-border mobility seems to be a topic that is increasingly gaining focus, also in difficult economic times when mobility of labour force and students is perhaps more relevant than ever and the inherent benefits of mobility are frequently emphasized in political documents and official statements.




Erasmus+ now approved in the European Parliament

EUA few days ago, on Tuesday, the European Parliament approved the new Erasmus+ programme and budget for 2014-2020. Erasmus+ represents a new approach by the European Union to approach its various programmes where existing programmes for education, training, youth and sport will be merged into one unified programme with a growing budget that will begin in January 2014.

The budget for the new programme is €14.7 billion which represents a 40% increase in comparison to current budgets. The name follows up on the existing Erasmus programme which is a successful mobility scheme for European higher education students. Erasmus has since its introduction in 1987 been the flagship project for education in the European Union, and in July 2013 the number of Erasmus students reached 3 million.

In the new Erasmus+ programme, existing EU programmes will be merged into one, including the Lifelong Learning Programme (Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Comenius, Grundtvig), Youth in Action and five international cooperation programmes (Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, Alfa, Edulink and the programme for cooperation with industrialised countries). This also represents a more holistic perspective on education promoted by the EU in recent years where there is a clear aim of more policy coordination between various educational sectors but also with relevant adjacent policy areas.

The new programme will provide mobility grants for 4 million individuals, the press release highlighted that this includes 2 million higher education students, 650 000 vocational training students and apprentices, and half a million youth in exchange programmes as well as volunteers. Furthermore, funding will be provided for education and training staff, youth workers and for partnerships between universities, colleges, schools, enterprises, and not-for-profit organisations, following up on existing instruments and programmes.




Number of Erasmus students has reached 3 million

Newest statistics launched by the EU show that the number of students who have spent parts of their studies abroad with an Erasmus grant has now passed 3 million. Erasmus mobility programme was introduced in 1987 and is considered one of the definite success stories of European initiatives in the area of education. The programme includes at this point 33 countries (EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey).

Number of students annually (Source: Europa.eu)

Number of students annually (click to view full size image)
(Source: Europa.eu)

26 years ago when the programme was introduced it attracted 3,244 students Europe wise. The numbers for the 2011/2012 academic year indicate a new record – over 250 000 students spent either part of their studies abroad or had a job placement with a foreign company. Furthermore, well over 45 000 staff members, both academic and administrative received support to teach or train abroad. Over 33 ooo of these were teaching assignments, marking a 5.4% increase compared to the previous year.

The highest growth amongst outbounding students was in Croatia with 61,8%, potentially explained with their recent joining with the programme. However, high growth rates were also shown in Denmark, Slovenia and Turkey. The country sending out most students was Spain, followed by Germany and France – all three being among the larger countries in Europe. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Spain was also the most popular destination country with a clear margin, followed by France and Germany.

The Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou commented on the recent numbers: “Erasmus is more important than ever in times of economic hardship and high youth unemployment: the skills and international experience gained by Erasmus students make them more employable and more likely to be mobile on the labour market. Erasmus has also played a tremendous role in improving the quality of higher education in Europe by opening up our universities and colleges to international cooperation. Looking to the future, I’m delighted that our new Erasmus+ programme will enable 4 million young people to study, train, teach or volunteer abroad in the next seven years.”

Have you had experience with an Erasmus programme? How did the experience contribute to your studies?