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At least 20% of students within the European Higher Education Area should experience mobility to an institution abroad.  This briefing examines why this target has never been reached, the ensuing risk to its credibility, and the need to re-think it.

The time is therefore ripe for a reconsideration of the definition and metrics of mobility. According to this briefing, a new consensus needs to be built and fourth edition of the ECTS Guide is needed to express and confirm it.

This paper also proposes several ways forward, such as including in the percentage calculation categories of mobility which are currently omitted, for example,  cross-border work placements of students undertaken outside Erasmus+. Current metrics also exclude foreign branch campuses and franchise programmes. More thought could be given to the degree of international experience which they might embody. This is equally true of the growing number of international consortia, many of which deploy techniques of cross-border virtual learning.

Furthermore, the briefing outlines how what is sometimes referred to as ‘virtual mobility’ is ill-defined and problematic to locate within the 20% mobility benchmark. Virtual exchanges, which have accelerated post-Covid, have exposed the extent of difficulty in measuring the degree of international experience in individual student life-cycles.

Going beyond the 20% student mobility benchmark

Howard Davies

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