LLLP was founded around internationalisation and mobility (which was cross cutting to all education and training sectors): there was a clear need to share intelligence and knowledge about the topic.
It was also part of our mission and vision and part of the Manifesto from 2015 (Building the Future of Learning). Since then mobility has been high in the EU agenda and it has been slowly extended beyond Higher Education. LLLP was missing a working group that would support the different sectors: share good practices, make education systems more international, cooperate and build partnerships. Also to work on how to improve mobility (including staff), curricula, how to have a better role in Europe and the world.
A renewed commitment to internationalisation
Last April, the Lifelong Learning Platform and its members kick started this joint endeavour. The Working Group activities will be carried out within the framework of LLLP’s advocacy strategy 2021 – 2023 which recognised the need for reinforcement in terms of capacity building for members and collecting best practices and lessons learned. Members of this group will be encouraged to share their practices/experience and propose joint actions. The Working Group will link projects and policy, in this way, bringing together the meta level of research/theory and practice dimensions of field evidence/knowledge.
The need to further bring learners, education and training providers and civil society into policy dialogue as active stakeholders and not just beneficiaries was also underlined. LLLP will ensure the consultation of members for their views and for their support in changing policy, influence decision makers and reinforce positive social norms and cultural practices that create an enabling environment to support sustainable social change. Members’ wide array of evidence and policy analysis will strengthen the impact of the joint advocacy efforts not just in education and training policies but also spill out towards social, economic and environmental policy issues at large.
Shared interests and common goals
During the first meeting, members highlighted the importance of exchanging experiences and different points of view in order to improve education in each Member State and to provide support to key actors such as educators in overcoming common challenges. This aspect also includes learning from realities beyond the European examples. Indeed, as part of Erasmus+ international cooperation is understood as European cooperation. This working group will look beyond that scope and take advantage of member’s expertise to foster cooperation at a global level.
Another key area of internationalisation is the mobility component (and the recognition of learning certificates across borders). It is expected that this working group can act as a catalyst for increased advocacy and concrete policy results. Joint initiatives on this topic are particularly relevant vis-a-vis the lack of mobility targets in the latest Education and Training Framework for 2030 and the funding issues facing Erasmus+ mobilities. Similarly, the linkages between mobility and the green transition is another topic for consideration.
Furthermore, members highlighted the developments of internationalisation strategies, mainly of VET providers as another important area of work for the Working Group. One of the key needs of VET providers is to develop partnerships and set up internationalisation strategies to support the uptake of innovative approaches and digital technologies for teaching and learning. A project developed by the main VET provider representatives in Europe and touching upon this topic, the VENHANS project was presented during the meeting.
Academic cooperation in Higher Education will remain a key area of internationalisation. The working group will monitor the development of the Commission’s work on the European Strategy for Universities which sets the tone for fostering deeper international cooperation within Europe and beyond and strengthening of higher education systems in partner countries. In the Higher Education sector it is also important to underline the importance of internationalisation for society (both abroad and at home). During the meeting the work of the IHES project was shared. The Mapping Report on IHES includes a needs-analysis of civil society vis-a-vis cooperation (or lack thereof) with higher education institutions.
Building strong partnerships to deliver on internationalisation
An important part of the activities of the working group will deal with developing partnerships in order to deliver concrete results on the wide array of topics comprising internationalisation. Members will take advantage of this working group to share their experiences as part of expert groups, consultations and alliances with EU and global institutions (European Commission working groups, European Parliament Interest Group, UNESCO and UN consultative bodies) and other joint initiatives develop with European and Global organisations (ETF, Cedefop, European Education Gateway, Learning Planet, ASEM-LLL, EPALE, OECD, among others).