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Erasmus+ Looks at Joint Degree Label in Step Towards European Degree

Erasmus+ Looks at Joint Degree Label in Step Towards European Degree
by Wittenborg News -
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Erasmus+ Looks at Joint Degree Label in Step Towards European Degree

Standardising education across borders

European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel is spearheading the internationalisation and standardisation of education across Europe with ten innovative Erasmus+ projects. Four of these projects will generate alliances between higher education institutions to investigate how partner institutions cooperate, and to eventually pursue European legal status for these groups. Around six of the projects have been created to investigate, create and test a joint European Degree label system. The programmes were initiated to explore new ways of collaboration in international education, in what the European Commission has called a key milestone for pursuing a European Education Area.

According to the EC, 'Each selected pilot project can receive a budget of up to €200,000 from the Erasmus+ programme for the duration of one year, which is expected to start in spring 2023. In cooperation with the relevant national, regional and/or institutional authorities, they will offer guidance for next steps and will elaborate proposals towards a possible joint European Degree and legal status for alliances in agreement with the higher education sector and Member States.'

The European Degree label refers to a certificate awarded to students who graduate from recognised joint programmes at participating higher learning institutions. The programmes must achieve a common set of criteria created in cooperation with European schools. The certificate serves as a path to developing a common European Degree system, which would entail students learning in two different European languages and completing a significant portion of their studies abroad. Whether privately-funded education organisations like Wittenborg will be invited to partake in this initiative is to be announced.

European universities

The idea for 'European Universities' was famously pitched in 2017 by French president Emmanuel Macron during his Sorbonne speech where he rejected the 'path of withdrawing into our nations' and advocated for a more integrated European system. In the second point of his speech, he stated:

'We must strengthen exchanges, so that each young European will have spent at least six months in another European country (50% of a class graduating in 2024), and that each student speaks two European languages by 2024.

'We must create European universities, networks of universities which allow students to study abroad and follow classes in at least two languages. In high school, we must set up a streamlining or mutual recognition process for secondary education diplomas (just like in higher education).'

As it is currently 2023 and such a programme has not yet been implemented, it is unlikely the 2024 goal will be reached. The lack of implementation has partially to do with resistance to Macron's vision on the part of various European governments, including the Dutch Tweede Kamer. Following Macron's speech, the Dutch Minister of Education at the time, Ingrid van Engelshoven, expressed criticism, arguing there is no purpose for so-called European universities and was opposed to an entirely new university framework which might not be suited to an individual country's education infrastructure. She still advocated for increased collaboration between institutions.

It should be noted that the EC's recent communication on Minister Gabriel's initiative assures that, 'Any future step will not replace existing national solutions, and will aim to provide for complementary solutions, on a voluntary basis, to facilitate deeper transnational cooperation, fully respecting the principle of subsidiarity and institutional autonomy.'

WUP 27/02/2023
by Olivia Nelson
©WUAS Press

581 words