CHAPTER 4: Student mobility |
61. The EU has taken the lead in encouraging
mobility, most notably through the Erasmus programme. There is
also a Bologna Process dimension, with the 2009 Leuven Ministerial
Conference agreeing a target of achieving 20 per cent mobility
experience among students across the EHEA by 2020. The next Ministerial
Conference, in Bucharest on 26 and 27 April 2012, may also adopt
a requirement for each country to adopt a "mobility strategy".
The Communication on the Modernisation of Europe's Higher Education
System states that the Commission is developing a "mobility
scoreboard" to assess progress in removing obstacles to learning
mobility within the EU.
Student mobility across Europe is not only fuelled by participation
in the Erasmus programme but also by students who enrol abroad
for a whole course or part of a course.
The benefits of mobility
62. Some of our witnesses stressed the personal
benefits of mobility experience.
The EUA said that "it gives young people the opportunity
to move, to learn and to have different personal, social experiences
as well as a different learning experience. The skills that they
develop are skills for life and are absolutely the skills that
we need to make our economies perform better as well. They are
not just personal skills".
Other witnesses emphasised the benefits in terms of increased
employability for those who participate.
million+ told us that there were "real advantages to students
in placements overseas. Placements generally benefit students.
They help them to mature; they give them a wider set of experiences;
they make them much more employable by a wide range of employers;
and they are definitely to be encouraged".
The Scottish Government said they were "committed to increasing
the outward mobility of Scottish students in order to promote
personal development and ultimately their contribution to the
However, while the UK Bologna Experts agreed with the employability
benefits they also emphasised that "the mission of European
Higher Education must also uphold civic values, and develop knowledge".
Dovile Alsauskaithe, a Lithuanian student whom we met during our
visit to the University of East London, emphasised that her Erasmus
placement at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden had not only
benefited her personally and academically but had also demonstrated
her adaptability to prospective employers.
63. While there is much anecdotal evidence suggesting
that mobility experiences increase students' employability, it
seems that there is little hard evidence available, although the
1994 Group directed our attention to a HEFCE report. Based on
a survey of students studying abroad during 2003/04, the report
demonstrated that, statistically, participating students generally
achieved better degree results and earned higher graduate salaries.
The University of Salford stated that a much "more convincing
demonstration of the value of mobility (for students and researchers)
in terms of employment and business outcomes" was needed,
because much of "the current body of evidence is anecdotal
and is based on an assumption that mobility/international experience
is inherently 'a good thing' and worth the additional investment
of 'effort', time and money".
64. The NUS and the EUA also raised concerns
about the general lack of good quality data and different data
collection mechanisms relating to student mobility across Europe.
The NUS stated that "At present there are a number of different
agencies responsible for the collection of a variety of statistics.
For many Member States, this can mean they are unaware of how
many studentsand more importantly what typeare undertaking
study abroad, where they go, or what they do while there. We would
recommend a standardisation of data collection, with one overall
agency responsible at a supranational level".
The Minister agreed with the NUS's concerns about data quality
and supported improved collection methods as long as they were
cost effective and not unduly burdensome on institutions.
The UK Higher Education International Unit told us that, in the
United Kingdom, the Higher Education Statistics Agency already
provided very good data sets but acknowledged that this was not
necessarily the case in other Member States.
65. The Commission acknowledges that there is
a need for better labour market intelligence on current and future
skills requirements in order to help identify growth employment
areas and achieve a better match between education and labour
market needs. Through Eurostat, they intend to improve the availability
of data on learning mobility and employment outcomes, as well
as constructing a European Tertiary Education Register.
While we asked many of our witnesses about the Commission's proposed
European Tertiary Education Register none were in a position to
elaborate on the detail and some requested further information
from the Commission before its merits could be debated.
66. Substantive research into the links between
mobility experiences and increased employability is urgently required
in order to substantiate the anecdotal evidence.
In this vein we endorse the Commission's intention to
improve the availability of data on learning mobility and employment
outcomes but also urge them to pay more attention to how such
data is collected. More information also needs to be made available
about the proposed European Tertiary Education Register before
its potential to add value can be considered by all concerned.
The Erasmus programme
67. The Erasmus programme is one of the best
known and most successful EU programmes, which is aptly named
after Desiderius Erasmus, the renaissance humanist.
The programme has now entered its 25th year, having been established
in 1987. Since then, almost 2.3 million students have participated
in study and work placements, and nine out of every 10 EU universities
participate in the programme. The average duration of an Erasmus
placement is 6 months and this has remained constant since 1987.
During 2009/10, 213,266 individuals participated, representing
just below 1 per cent of the total student population in the 32
participating countries. Of these over 61 per cent were female.
Spain sent the greatest number of students abroad (31,158), followed
by France (30,213) and then Germany (28,854). Spain was also the
most popular destination for Erasmus students (35,389) followed
by France (26,141) and then the United Kingdom (22,650). In total,
18 countries sent more students abroad than they received.
The total number of incoming and outgoing Erasmus students from
2000 to 2010 for the five most populous Member StatesFrance,
Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdomis contained
in Figures 1 and 2.
68. Apart from facilitating greater mobility,
the Erasmus programme was also expected to strengthen other forms
of co-operation between universities across Europe and thus help
to improve the quality of European higher education as a whole.
The Commission maintains that there is, as a result of the programme,
a greater sense of European citizenship and shared values.
All our witnesses were enthusiastic about the Erasmus programme
and its perceived benefits.
69. The Erasmus programme provides benefits
to the universities and the students who participate, as well
as to the EU as a whole. Not only do students going abroad benefit
from their experience, but British universities benefit from the
presence of Erasmus students from other countries. We believe
that the benefits for students include improved interpersonal
skills, language skills, character development, building confidence,
increased cultural awareness and enhanced employability.
ERASMUS FOR ALL
70. The Commission's Erasmus for All proposal
brings together all the current MFF funding programmes for education,
training, youth and sport into one unified programme, which will
apply the well-known 'Erasmus' brand to all of the new sub-programmes.
It will support three key action areas, with two thirds of the
budget being allocated to support greater learning mobility, including
joint degree programmes and the Masters degree student loan guarantee
mechanism (which is discussed below); one quarter of the budget
supporting cooperation on innovation and good practices, including
strengthening innovative partnerships between universities and
business; and with five per cent of the budget providing support
for policy reform, including the OMC approach, the proposed U-Multirank
tool and the further development of Bologna tools such as the
ECTS. The Jean Monnet Initiative, which promotes education and
research on EU integration through support for dedicated modules
and courses, Jean Monnet European Centres of Excellence and the
College of Europe
will be preserved as a separate activity within the programme.
We have already noted that many of our witnesses supported the
Commission's proposed funding increase for Erasmus for All and
while the British Council speculated that the increase could hypothetically
result in a doubling of student mobility funding for the United
Kingdom, the Minister
stood alone in opposing the proposed 70 per cent funding increase
for Erasmus for All as being "completely unrealistic".
The Minister was not, at that stage, in a position to tell us
if the Government intended to support any budget increase for
this proposal during the negotiations.
71. We welcome the Commission's intention
to integrate the existing EU funding programmes for education,
training, youth and sport into one unified programme. We note
the Government's opposition to the Commission's preferred funding
increase for Erasmus for All but reiterate our view that this
programme merits a proportionately larger allocation under the
next Multiannual Financial Framework.
Mobility to and from the United
72. Globally, the UK is the second largest destination
for students studying abroad, behind only the USA. The Government
told us that during the period 2009/10, there were approximately
406,000 foreign students studying at universities in the United
Kingdom while the number of UK students studying abroad was only
A study of British secondary school pupils intending to study
abroad showed that the majority preference was for North American
universities (56.5 per cent) rather than European ones (21.8 per
73. The British Council is the designated national
agency for Erasmus in the United Kingdom and works closely with
the Government regarding the operation of the programme. During
the period 2010/11, they told us that there were 12,873 UK Erasmus
participants, the highest number since the programme started in
1987. The increase
in participation seems to be, in part, due to the inclusion of
work placements in the Erasmus programme since 2007, which many
of our witnesses considered to be a positive step.
74. However, as we have already noted,
outward mobility from comparator countries including France, Germany
and Spain is still approximately three times that of the United
Kingdom and, as a result, the United Kingdom is a substantial
net receiver of Erasmus students from elsewhere in the EU. Regarding
possible reasons for British students' continued reluctance to
participate in mobility programmes, the NUS told us that their
research had found that "28% of students decided not to study
abroad because of uncertainty about language; 11% were unaware
that opportunities were there at all and did not know that they
could do it; and 37% cited financial implications".
These factors are explored in more detail below, alongside consideration
of socio-economic and cultural barriers. Academic obstacles have
also been cited, including concerns about the recognition of credits,
the lack of compatible courses at partner universities and unaligned
term dates. As we have already discussed, while the development
of the ECTS has mitigated these concerns to an extent, some students
still experience problems in these areas.
75. We note that students in other European
countries appear to be more predisposed to participation in the
Erasmus programme and mobility schemes more generally. We urge
the Government and universities to do more to tackle the barrier
to mobility in the United Kingdom.
76. We also support the notion that each Bologna
country should adopt a "mobility strategy" and urge
the Minister to support this at the forthcoming Ministerial Conference
STEERING GROUP ON OUTWARD STUDENT
77. The Government told us that they were committed
to promoting outward student mobility and had established a Steering
Group to this end. It was chaired by Professor Colin Riordanwho
provided evidence to us during our inquiry on behalf of the UK
Higher Education International Unitand was tasked with
reviewing current incentives, financial support and obstacles
to outward student mobility.
After making an interim recommendation on the retention of the
fee waiver scheme in December 2011 it reported to the Minister
in March 2012, including recommendations on how to ensure that
mobility continued and increased in the future. We understand
that the Government is now deciding how matters should be taken
forward in this area.
FINANCIAL CONCERNS AND THE FEE WAIVER
78. The UK Higher Education International Unit
stated that the most commonly cited barriers to mobility were
financial. While Erasmus grants are available from the Commissionwhich
were an average of 272 per month during 2009/10 but reduced
to an average of 254 per month during 2010/11these
are rarely sufficient to cover the costs of the placement, especially
in the more expensive countries, which thus dissuades many less
financially privileged students from viewing it as a feasible
option. Some institutions
also offer bursaries to students from lower socio-economic groups
and since 2011/12 the British Council has made a one-off supplementary
grant of 500 available to students falling into this category.
The Scottish Government also recognised that financial concerns
presented a barrier to mobility for many students and suggested
that their commitment not to charge tuition fees should help to
overcome this barrier. They are also exploring options to provide
additional funding for Scottish students studying overseas as
part of their Saltire Scholarships Programme and considered EU
funding to be a crucial part of this.
79. An Erasmus fee waiver, which involves the
waiving of fees, for the duration of the placement that would
normally be incurred for study at the student's home university
in England and HEFCE, compensates the university concerned for
its loss. The fee waiver is provided in addition to the Commission's
Erasmus grants. HEFCE has proposed continuing the scheme until
2013/14, but there is no indication that they will be able to
afford to compensate universities for the loss of much higher
tuition fees in the longer term. The continuation of the fee waiver
scheme is currently under review by the Government appointed Steering
Group. The Devolved Administrations also provide a fee waiver
and we understand that none have any plans to revoke it. Many
of our witnesses pressed for retention of the fee waiver and the
EUA warned that its removal would hit underrepresented and disadvantaged
groups the hardest.
80. We consider the retention of the Erasmus
fee waiver scheme by the Government, in some form, to be essential
as it provides a substantial incentive for students to participate
in the programme, particularly those from lower income backgrounds.
81. The United Kingdom's lack of language competence
is well known and needs little documentation.
Over time, it has arguably been compounded by the de facto
adoption of English as the lingua franca of the EU institutions.
After financial concerns, the lack of language skills is cited
as a second important barrier to achieving greater UK mobility.
The UK Higher Education International Unit saw this as a substantial
reason for the United Kingdom's low participation in the programme,
as students were "afraid of studying/working in a non-native
language", meaning that the highest enrolment in Erasmus
programmes was among UK language students. Furthermore, many universities
were reluctant to send their students abroad unless the partner
university could provide a range of courses in English.
In this respect, the University Alliance considered language to
be less of an obstacle than previously because more Continental
universities were now offering courses in English.
82. Professor Riordan thought that the reluctance
to learn languages in the United Kingdom was probably due to historical
reasons and the British Council stated that this "fear of
language" needed to be overcome.
They considered that foreign languages should become compulsory
at both primary and secondary school, as a way of overcoming the
"linguistic deficit" suffered by many students.
Other witnesses sympathised with this position.
At the university level they thought that the problem could also
be tackled by allocating more resources to language centres or
to extra-curricular courses offered by language departments, while
the UK Higher Education International Unit called on the Commission
to allocate specific funding for the provision of language training
both before and during placements.
83. The Government told us that they were fully
committed to the teaching of languages in schools and that the
current review of the National Curriculum was considering the
status of languages at both primary and secondary level. They
considered that the introduction of the English Baccalaureate
would "encourage more young people to take a language at
GCSE level and should lead to a renaissance in languages in our
The Scottish Government were also conscious about the lack of
language skills being a problem and pointed out in their evidence
to us that they were taking action to promote more widespread
learning of languages in Scottish schools. They believed that
raising awareness of the benefits of acquiring such skills, particularly
for employability, would encourage greater participation.
84. The growing trend of using English as
the dominant language in the academic world, as well as in the
EU institutions, should not encourage the United Kingdom to be
unconcerned about the opportunities and benefits presented by
learning and working in another language. The United Kingdom has
already fallen behind in language-learning capability. If this
is not reversed it will not only threaten its ability to participate
fully in EU programmes such as Erasmus but will also severely
hamper individuals' employability
and the country's competitiveness within the Single Market and
85. As part of their reappraisal of language
teaching policy, we recommend that language learning becomes compulsory
at both primary and secondary school. Account should also be taken
of the need for effective transition arrangements between primary
and secondary school in this respect. Students need to be persuaded
that they could benefit from Erasmus placements, even if they
do not speak the relevant language fluently at the start of their
assignments. Universities could also do more to encourage language
skills among their students through language centres and extra-curricular
courses, with support from the Commission where appropriate.
SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS
86. The Communication on the Modernisation of
Europe's Higher Education System calls on Member States and institutions
to encourage individuals from traditionally under-represented
socio-economic groups into university education, through outreach
in schools, targeted financial support to students from lower
income backgrounds, by providing more transparent information
on educational opportunities and bespoke guidance to inform study
choices and reduce drop-out rates.
87. A 2010 HEFCE report found that the most mobile
students in the UK were "disproportionately young, female,
white and middle-class, and are academic high-achievers".
The NUS considered this situation to be "untenable",
in terms of the Bologna Process' social dimension and wider responsibilities
to social mobility, and called for more targeted funding and resources
(including information, advice and guidance) to be directed towards
the students most in need.
The Government provided us with statistics on the socio-economic
breakdown of UK Erasmus participants for the period 2008/09, which
demonstrated clearly that students from ethnic minorities; with
a disability; who were older; or who had parents from a non-professional
background, were less likely to participate in the Erasmus programme.
These statistics are summarised in Figure 3.
Analysis of UK Erasmus participants for
2008/09 by ethnicity and socio-economic group
Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency
88. The "social dimension" first received
recognition under the Bologna Process, with the 2005 Bergen Ministerial
Conference agreeing that it was a "constituent part of the
European Higher Education Area". The 2007 London Ministerial
Conference Communiqué also agreed that "the
student body entering, participating in and completing higher
education at all levels should reflect the diversity of our populations"
and that "students [should be] able to complete their studies
without obstacles related to their social and economic background".
We understand that an Observatory on the Social Dimension in Higher
Education began to be developed after the 2007 Ministerial Conference
in order to improve data and monitoring in this area. The British
Council and Government called for more research to be conducted
by the Commission into social mobility issues in higher education
so providing adequate funding for the Observatory may provide
a good opportunity to meet this objective. In this respect, we
also noted with interest Birkbeck College's social class, gender,
participation and lifelong learning (GLAS) projectco-financed
by the EU Lifelong Learning Programmeand endorse its view
that these issues are "common to all European countries and
something, which requires a transnational, trans-cultural collaborative
We look forward to receiving notification of this project's findings
in due course.
89. The EUA told us that "students whose
parents have not attended higher education and have not been mobile
have a much more difficult threshold to get over" and suggested
that providing access to mentors inside the universities may mitigate
The UK Higher Education International Unit talked about the persistence
of "cultural and motivational barriers" and the "reluctance
of individuals to move out of their comfort zone", stating
that "many studentsespecially less privileged ones
and those who undertake part-time employment alongside their studiesdo
not see going abroad as practical possibility". Staff from
the University of East London also mentioned that many of their
students had rarely left the local area let alone travelled abroad
beyond visiting their ancestral country of origin.
The 1994 Group remarked that those students who enjoy the "social
advantage of travelling widely before they go to university know
that 'abroad' is not a frightening place".
The UK Higher Education International Unit suggested that a way
of overcoming this barrier was by intervening in schools and families
from an early age.
The NUS also talked of the "boyfriend/girlfriend effect":
having to spend time apart, giving up accommodation and a part-time
job all acting as a disincentive.
90. The social dimension of the Bologna Process
and the Erasmus programme is of paramount importance in terms
of widening participation in higher education.
91. We consider that socio-economic and cultural
considerations constitute significant barriers to mobility but
we acknowledge that these issues are much harder to address than
financial and linguistic challenges. In order to inform this matter
we urge the Bucharest Ministerial Conference to endorse the further
development of the Observatory on the Social Dimension in Higher
Education in order to improve data and monitoring in this area.
Intervention at an early age to ingrain mobility opportunities
could also prove crucial in overcoming this barrier. Improving
the flexibility of placements, and the provision of information
about them, could also help to achieve wider participation.
92. Many witnesses thought the current emphasis
on Erasmus placements of up to a year were too long, therefore
reducing their appeal and that greater flexibility was needed.
The UK Higher Education International Unit was also supportive
of shorter placements, stating that this "would enable many
more students, and especially those currently underrepresented,
to take part in the Erasmus programme, since shorter mobility
periods would present less of a financial burden and would appear
less daunting to individuals. This might also encourage longer
periods of mobility at a later point, by helping to increase interest
in work and study abroad and to build confidence in students".
93. The Scottish Government indicated that they
had suggested to the Commission that the three month minimum duration
for Erasmus placements was too long, particularly as it disadvantaged
those on low incomes, as well as those with children or caring
responsibilities. Their view was that "It is not so much
the length of the experience that is significant but rather the
quality of it and the learning outcomes that result ... For those
who are less confident [about travelling to Europe to study] a
short taster of studying abroad may well be the catalyst to further
mobility in the future".
The NUS emphasised the benefits of shorter periods of as little
as two weeks, as well as shared semesters and also mentioned the
possibilities offered by "virtual mobility" in terms
of allowing students who are most at risk of never going abroad
to experience what studying abroad was like and imbue them with
some of the same benefits, including increased cultural awareness
and academic confidence.
94. We call on the Government and the Commission
to investigate the feasibility and potential advantages of introducing
more flexible and shorter Erasmus placements, including how any
administrative difficulties could be overcome in this respect.
95. The University of Salford remarked that,
by the time students started university they were often reluctant
to undertake placements and exchanges abroad due to their lack
of knowledge about the opportunities and suggested that mobility
opportunities should be promoted more widely in schools. The British
Council agreed, saying that "one key aspect of stimulating
greater interest in the opportunity for mobility as a university
student is to introduce the idea at school and to develop curricula
and awareness at school which will lead naturally to an aspiration
to mobility during tertiary education".
The University Alliance agreed that prospective students needed
to be targeted with more information, especially about the emphasis
that employers place on this type of experience. They also suggested
using "student ambassadors" to speak about their experiences,
promote the benefits of the scheme and provide advice to those
considering mobility. Other witnesses agreed
and it was also suggested that the Commission could make grants
available for such ventures, as well as encouraging universities
to organise promotional Erasmus days and workshops.
In this respect, we were pleased to hear that the British Council
is developing an online mobility portal for students providing
a central repository of information.
96. The Government stated that the Steering Group
had examined how greater interest in mobility opportunities could
be generated among university students by increasing awareness
at school of programmes such as Erasmus, as well as providing
more centralised information about mobility opportunities and
involving employers in this process.
97. We consider the provision of more information,
as well as promotional activities about the mobility opportunities
that are available, by universities and policy makers, to be key
in increasing engagement with the Erasmus programme. In this respect,
we welcome the British Council's development of an online information
portal for students.
Threats to the UK's competitive
98. Concerns were raised by our witnesses about
the development of divisions and differences between studying
in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in the EU with some considering
that the introduction of higher tuition fees in England would
have a negative impact on mobility.
The EUA told us that more needed to be done to explain the new
system to European partners and "precisely what the new policy
means for exchanges and students who wish to come in and students
who wish to go out" otherwise the complications may prevent
joint degree programmes and other collaborative projects being
students from other Member StatesErasmus or nothave
to be treated in the same way as domestic students under EU law,
students coming to the UK before 1998 did not have to pay any
tuition fees. However, with the successive fee increases since
this date, the next generation of students have been faced with
a substantially more expensive period of study in English universities.
While it is too early to tell for sure whether the new tuition
fee arrangements are dissuading foreign students from coming to
the United Kingdom in significant numbers, early statistical returns
confirm that the number of EU applicants is declining, for whatever
99. This risk is compounded by the recent growth
of courses taught in the English Language by Continental universities,
particularly at the postgraduate level, which is a feature of
the increasingly competitive global market for international students.
The NUS remarked that the University of Maastricht was stepping
up its efforts to recruit students from the United Kingdom.
This is a good example of a Continental university which is very
close to United Kingdom in terms of standards and quality, but
which charges significantly lower course fees.
Such courses are undoubtedly attractive to British students who
lack the necessary language skills it also means that the United
Kingdom can no longer guarantee that it will retain its competitive
edge in attracting foreign students. While the Minister accepted
that universities in the United Kingdom were facing an increasingly
competitive challenge from elsewhere in the EU, he generally considered
this to be a good thing.
100. It is too early to tell what the effect
of higher tuition fees in England and increased competition from
Continental universities will be on the attractiveness of the
United Kingdom as a destination for EU, and even domestic, students.
We nevertheless urge the Government to be vigilant about this
and to engage actively with its partners across the EU in promoting
the strengths of the higher education sector in the United Kingdom.
Erasmus Masters Degree Mobility
101. The Commission intends to increase the mobility
of postgraduate students, who acquire the kind of advanced skills
that are particularly valued by employers, by improving their
access to affordable finance through the provision of a Masters-level
student loan guarantee facility.
They hope to make such a facility available from 2014, so that
students who normally face financial constraints can elect to
take their Masters degree in another Member State. The Commission
is clear that this is an area in which they can add value, particularly
as national loans are not typically transferable abroad and commercial
loans are commonly not accessible for students from lower income
102. Many of our witnesses supported the Commission's
proposal for a loan guarantee facility as a step in the right
direction, which could address the lack of funds available in
this area and increase mobility.
The NUS supported its introduction as a positive way to increase
participation but cautioned that: "We would however want
guarantees surrounding the rate of interest, length of repayment
and the point at which graduates start repayment. A system of
loans that has commercial terms and conditions attached would
not be acceptable. We strongly believe that there should be significant
subsidy from the Commission so that mobility loans do not attract
real interest rates. If such a loan system was introduced we would
also want there to be appropriate monitoring of access to the
loans to ensure that it is supporting a widening of access".
The NUS also cited the view of the ESU, of which it is a member,
which has called for the scheme to be frozen due to their commitment
to the principle of free education.
Other witnesses agreed but called for more details about the proposed
facility before they could consider the merits, some having concerns
that it could "cut across" Member State competences.
The British Academy thought that the scheme could provide a valuable
alternative source of support and encouragement to individuals
to pursue postgraduate study and research but considered that
the size of support was unlikely to be sufficient.
We have already noted concerns about the position of the United
Kingdom's one-year Masters degree in the context of the EHEA.
103. We endorse the proposed Masters level
student loan guarantee facility if it incorporates competitive
interest rates and favourable repayment terms. We also call on
the Government to be vigilant in ensuring that the UK one-year
Masters degree is properly taken into account as the details of
the proposed scheme are developed.
Revision of the Professional
104. The operation of the ECTS does not necessitate
the automatic recognition of qualifications. However, in order
to facilitate the free movement of certain professionals throughout
the European Economic Area,
the Professional Qualifications Directive
grants automatic recognition to seven professions on the basis
of agreed (and binding) minimum training standards, including
the requisite bachelor and masters degrees that may be required
to practice those professions.
On 22 June 2011 the Commission published a Green Paper on the
modernisation of the Directive and in response to this we published
a report which focused on the operation of the existing Directive
in relation to healthcare professionals.
105. On 19 December 2011, the Commission published
their proposal to revise the Directive.
Among many other provisions, it proposes that the minimum training
standards, which were originally formulated in the 1970s and 1990s,
should be updated to reflect current practice, alongside other
measures to ensure better compliance with the agreed standards.
This was in accordance with one of our report's recommendations.
In terms of the duration of these training periods, the proposal
also states that closer alignment will also be sought between
the terms of the revised Directive and the ECTS.
106. In the context of our inquiry, the Government
told us that they believed that the forthcoming negotiations on
the revision of the Directive should take into account Bologna
instruments and the European Qualifications Framework (EQF)
and synchronise them with the updated minimum training standards.
Otherwise, they were concerned about the risk of creating different
sets of frameworks for higher education, which did not take account
of labour market inflexibilities.
107. We endorse the Government's intention
to seek closer alignment between the revised Professional Qualifications
Directive and the European Qualifications Framework and Framework
for Qualifications for the European Higher Education Area.
123 COM (2011) 567, p.11 Back
UK Bologna Experts, Russell Group and Q 53 Back
Q 124 Back
British Council and Q 101 Back
Q 100 Back
Scottish Government Back
UK Bologna Experts Back
See Appendix 3 Back
Q 100. HEFCE/British Council, International student mobility,
2004 & 2010 (updated). The report confirms that there is a
lack of hard evidence concerning the impact of mobility on employability
but much anecdotal evidence from employers that graduates benefit
from having had a mobility experience during their studies. Back
University of Salford. The British Council echoed this view, Q
Q 60 and EUA Back
Q 85 Back
Q 16 Back
COM (2011) 567, pp. 10-11 Back
HEFCE and QAA Back
He was born in the Netherlands and during his lifetime studied,
taught and worked in Belgium, England, France, Italy, and Switzerland.
He published a number of influential texts, including new Latin
and Greek versions of the New Testament, and also debated the
merits of the Reformation with Martin Luther. Back
European Commission, The Erasmus Programme 2009/2010: A Statistical
Overview, December 2011 Back
The existing Leonardo da Vinci and Grundtvig programmes for vocational
training and adult education, respectively, will become known
as 'Erasmus Training', while the existing Comenius programme for
schools will become known as 'Erasmus Schools'. Back
The College of Europe was founded in 1949 and provides postgraduate
degrees in European studies through its campuses in Bruges and
Warsaw. Many of its alumni progress to senior positions in the
EU institutions. Back
Q 49 Back
Q 87 Back
BIS, Motivations and Experiences of UK Students Studying Abroad,
January 2010 Back
British Council Back
QAA, University Alliance, BIS, UK Higher Education International
Unit and Q 59 Back
See Figures 1 and 2, p. 36 Back
Q 59 Back
UK Higher Education International Unit and Q 52. Also see Chapter
2. The Erasmus Student Network conducted a survey of 9,000 Erasmus
students during the period 2010/11-PRIME 2010: Problems of
Recognition in Making Erasmus, 27 September 2011-which found
that only 73% received full recognition for their studies abroad,
with some having to repeat either courses or exams on their return
The work of the Steering Group was supported by four expert working
groups, which considered the fee waiver scheme, business involvement
and benefits to employability, UK institutional best practice
and international best practice. BIS and the UK Higher Education
International Unit acted as the joint secretariat. Back
European Commission, The Erasmus Programme 2009/2010: A Statistical
Overview, December 2011 Back
UK Higher Education International Unit Back
Scottish Government Back
Q 45, Q 102 and Q 118 Back
Research by the National Centre for Languages (CILT) suggests
that foreign language learning in the UK, which was already comparatively
low, has deteriorated even further over the last decade. See CILT,
HE language students in the UK 2002-03 to 2008-09: Annual analysis
of HESA data, 2010 Back
UK Higher Education International Unit Back
University Alliance, supplementary evidence. The British Council
stated that approximately 50 per cent of outgoing UK Erasmus participants
were language students, whereas incoming Erasmus students study
a much wider range of disciplines, with only around 15 per cent
of them studying languages. Back
Q 8 and Q 37 Back
British Council. The previous Government changed the National
Curriculum to make languages optional. Back
Professor Furlong, University of Salford, Q 100 and Q 115 Back
British Council and British Academy Back
The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is a new performance measure
for any student who secures good GCSE or accredited certificate
passes in English, mathematics, history or geography, two sciences
and an ancient or modern foreign language. The Government
intends the EBacc to become one of the main measures of achievement
for schools in the future. Back
Scottish Government Back
Including candidates applying for jobs in the EU Institutions. Back
COM (2011) 567, p. 4 Back
HEFCE/British Council, International student mobility,
2004 & 2010 (updated), p. 2 Back
BIS, supplementary evidence. The statistics also show that over
96 per cent were between the ages of 18 and 26 during 2008/09.
However, five individuals over 65 years of age also participated
during the same period. Back
British Council and BIS Back
Birkbeck College Back
Q 118 Back
See Appendix 3 Back
Q 103 Back
Q 24 Back
Q 57 Back
British Council, NUS, QAA, Scottish Government, University of
Salford and Q 116 Back
UK Higher Education International Unit Back
Scottish Government Back
NUS. Such a scheme would essentially apply the culture of the
Open University-online lectures, tutorials and discussion forums-on
a cross-border basis. Back
British Council Back
Mixed Economy Group of colleges (MEG) and Businet and UK Higher
Education International Unit Back
UK Higher Education International Unit Back
British Council Back
HEFCE, British Academy, Russell Group, million+ and Q 92 Back
Q 117 Back
UCAS, 2012 Applicant Figures, 30 January 2012, states that
the number of EU applicants for full-time undergraduate courses
fell by 11.2 per cent year on year. This was flagged up in supplementary
evidence from million+. Back
Q 65. An article by the university's president, Professor Martin
Paul-'Moving beyond the Bologna process: Europe as one higher-education
space', Guardian Professional, 9 November 2011-states that
the number of UK students studying there had increased fivefold
over the past two years. Back
In contrast to the maximum annual tuition fee of £9,000 for
an undergraduate degree in England the equivalent rate is 1,713
(approximately £1,450) at Maastricht University. Back
Q 77. UK Higher Education International Unit agreed, Q 10. Back
The detail of this proposal has yet to be determined but may involve
the Commission acting as the guarantor to loans provided by commercial
COM (2011) 567, p. 12 Back
1994 Group, British Council, EUA, Engineering Professors' Council,
Russell Group, million+, UK Bologna Experts, University of Kent
and University of Salford Back
Q 57. University of Salford and Russell Group echoed this view. Back
See ESU, Statement on the Modernisation Agenda, 12 November
2011. It states that "education is a right and has to be
considered as a public good which citizens pay taxes for. Loans
are thus not an acceptable way of financing higher education". Back
BIS, UK Higher Education International Unit, Russell Group and
Scottish Government Back
British Academy Back
See paragraphs 20 and 21 Back
The EEA was established on 1 January 1994 following an agreement
between the member states of the European Free Trade Association
(EFTA) and what became the EU. It allows Iceland, Liechtenstein
and Norway to participate in the EU's Single Market without becoming
Member States of the EU. As a result they are obliged to adopt
all EU legislation relating to the Single Market, except regarding
agriculture and fisheries. Back
Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications Back
They are doctors, dentists, general care nurses, midwives, pharmacists,
veterinary surgeons and architects. Back
European Union Committee, 22nd Report of Session 2010-12, Safety
First: Mobility of Healthcare Professionals in the EU (HL
Paper 201) Back
18899/11, COM (2011) 883: Proposal for a Directive amending
Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications
and Regulation on administrative cooperation through the Internal
Market Information System Back
The Commission developed the EQF, which was introduced in 2008,
to act as a translation device to make national qualifications
more readable across the EU. It encourages Member States to relate
their national qualifications systems to the EQF so that all new
qualifications issued from 2012 onwards carry a reference to an
appropriate EQF level. The EQF is closely related to, and compatible
with, the Framework for Qualifications for the European Higher
Education Area, which was agreed by the Bologna countries in 2005.
BIS. The Government's impact assessment, which accompanied their
Explanatory Memorandum on the proposal, also noted that in 2010
over 11,000 professionals from the EEA applied to practise their
profession in the United Kingdom, while only 880 British professionals
applied to do the same elsewhere in the EEA. It seems that a reluctance
to participate in mobility schemes is not restricted to the student
population of the United Kingdom. Back