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European universities need improved mobility strategies

European universities need a better strategy for mobility, according to an assessment of mobility practices led by the European University Association.

The assessment was part of a two-year project entitled Mapping university mobility of staff and students—Maunimo. Results were published in the report Mobility: Closing the gap between policy and practice.

Among the report’s most important findings were that many academic staff are unaware of mobility strategies in their institution. Mobility is especially important for doctoral students, whose travelling is usually managed separately from that of bachelor and master students, the EUA report said. The EUA added that mobility of administrative staff is not highly prioritised among academic staff, and that mobility programmes for staff, students, and researchers tend to be fragmented within each institution.

Based on the findings, the publication recommends that universities collect comprehensive data on the different types of mobility going on in their institution and use that data to develop mobility strategies. It also recommends that data collection should be coordinated on European and national levels.

The Maunimo project provided a self-assessment tool for universities with the aim of improving mobility programmes. Among the issues examined are mobility strategies, collection of data on mobility, the influence of external factors on mobility, and how mobility is perceived across the institution.

Targets set through the Bologna Process to align higher education in Europe state that, by 2020, 20 per cent of graduating students should have studied abroad.