Source: University World News http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20171124074223184
European leaders and the European Commission have backed proposals to step up higher education mobility and exchanges and create a network of European universities with integrated study programmes and curricula that enable students to study abroad.
The plans signal a new era in which education and culture will be put high on the European Union’s agenda after years of being a low priority, according to the European University Association.
European heads of state or government, meeting at an informal summit at Gothenburg in Sweden on 17 November, supported the measures to deepen higher education cooperation and agreed to:
- Promote mutual recognition of upper secondary education diplomas and the development of new curricula allowing for exchanges across European high school systems.
- Promote multilingualism by aiming at all students speaking at least two additional European languages.
- Launch a reflection on the ‘Future of Learning’ to respond to future trends and the digital revolution, including artificial intelligence.
- Promote the mobility and participation of students in cultural activities through a ‘European Student Card’.
They had met to discuss the social dimension of Europe, including education and culture and responses to the challenges of digitalisation, future skills demands and the rise of ‘fake’ news, xenophobia and extremism.
That the discussion of education and culture was the first debate under the European Leaders’ Agenda signalled that education and culture are being given a higher priority than in the past.
Following the meeting, European Council President Donald Tusk said they had constructive discussion about eight ideas, which “were suggested not by Brussels, not by the institutions, but by member states”.
“One example is to make the Erasmus programme more inclusive, so that an increasing number of Europeans benefit from getting to know each other’s cultures, while living and studying in another EU country.
“The second example is the European Student Card, which started out as a cooperation between France and Italy. It was later expanded to cover Germany and Ireland. Now the idea is to extend the geographical scope of this initiative and to offer cardholders access to cultural sites and activities across Europe.”
Tusk said that during the meeting “we established political support for these ideas” and “will make sure that this support is included in the conclusions of the European Council”. The financial aspect of the plans will have to be reflected in the next multi-annual budget discussion.
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