80 representatives from national university associations, quality agencies and regional organisations in Latin America (LA) and Europe gathered in Santiago, Chile, from 5 to 7 March to discuss the interdependency between academic mobility and academic quality, and their respective roles in the regional integration of higher education.
Hosted by the the Chilean Rectors’ Conference (CRUCH) and organised by EUA, ASCUN and OBREAL, the event was the continuation of the first ALFA PUENTES regional integration seminar in Lima (Peru) in November 2011, which presented the state of play in quality assurance approaches at both national and regional level in Europe and LA. Drawing upon case studies from both regions, the event illustrated current European political and institutional investments to increase student and staff mobility.
This stimulated dialogue on developments in Latin America, where internationalisation and student/ staff mobility have become a greater priority, but where only few programmes exist at present to promote internal regional mobility. The university associations of the Mercosur region (Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay), in the context of ALFA PUENTES, are presently researching the current situation regarding mobility policies and approaches in the region.
This covers both short-term mobility, of which there is little, staff mobility, and larger degree-mobility schemes, such as the Brazilian ‘Ciencias sin fronteras’, which will provide 75,000 scholarships over four years to send Brazilian graduate students abroad. The event drew parallels with quality assurance trends, and participants agreed that mobility, internationalisation, and quality enhancement of teaching and learning should be inherently linked.
ALFA PUENTES is a European Commission co-funded project coordinated by EUA in conjunction with 23 national and regional university associations in Latin America and Europe. It is currently starting its second phase, which will consist of three sub-regional projects in the Andean Community, Mercosur and Central America, and focus on a regional QA framework, mobility enhancement and qualification frameworks respectively. This will culminate in a large bi-regional university association/university leadership conference from 12 to 14 November 2012 in São Paulo, Brazil.
See also The ALFA PUENTES project, Latin America forges Bologna-style links at home and in Europe.