6.5 Cross-border learning mobility
- Policy framework
- Main cross-border mobility programmes for students in formal education
- Promoting mobility in the context of non-formal learning, and of youth work
- Quality assurance
There is no particular national strategy dealing with internationalisation and mobility, but the overall Strategy for Education Development in Serbia by 2020 envisages the adoption of a strategy which should include the mobility of international and local students. It also provides a general framework for internalisation of higher education while some higher education institutions (HEIs) have developed their own internationalisation strategies, and others have developed rulebooks by which mobility of students is regulated.
At the level of HE, the international cooperation of HEIs, the mobility of teachers and students are perceived as elements that contribute to better quality of higher education, increase competences of both teachers and students and gives them a better chance of employment. The Strategy envisages creating opportunities for mobility in all three cycles of education, in the structure of study programmes and programmes for the achievement of joint degrees with foreign universities, and binding HEIs to issue a diploma supplement.
The main actions lines for HE listed in the Strategy for Education Development in Serbia 2020 are:
- Enhance international openness of the HE system
- Establish international mobility of students, staff and researchers
- Internationalisation of study programmes
- Strengthening strategic partnerships with HEI from other countries.
In addition it defines the following goals without specifying exact targets:
- Increasing the number of incoming and outgoing staff,
- Increasing the number of incoming and outgoing PhD students,
- Increasing the number of international projects,
- Increasing the number of study programmes accredited and offered in English for foreign students.
A Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the European Communities and their Member States and the Republic of Serbia, approved in 2013 enabled the participation of Serbia in the European Union programmes laid in Framework Agreement between the European Community and Serbia and Montenegro in 2004. This further led to special agreement between the EU and the Republic of Serbia on the Serbia’s participation in the Erasmus+ program in 2014. Serbia's participation in the programme was gradually built up, and in 2019 it became a full member, enabling youth mobility through several types of projects and activities funded through the program.
As it is described in more details on Eurydice page 13.2 Mobility in Higher Education, higher education institutions from Serbia actively participated in the EU programmes for international cooperation, especially in the previous Tempus programme, but also in Erasmus Mundus and Lifelong Learning Programme which provided mobility opportunities and fostered international cooperation.
Currently running programme Erasmus+ enables student and staff mobility through Erasmus+ international credit mobility projects. The Republic of Serbia has been participating in the Erazmus + programme since the beginning of 2014. So far, according to available data, 4410 students have been exchanged or participated in joint masters or doctoral degree programmes in Erazmus + Member and partner States.
Other programmes and projects that enabled mobility of student and academic staff in Serbia are:
CEEPUS is an exchange programme for students and teachers that aims at improving education. The programme is based on international agreements signed by the member states and a student exchange is organized within university networks.
The outgoing mobility of students studying in Serbia is promoted and funded through the Fund for Young Talents. It was founded by the Government of the Republic of Serbia. It is being administered by the Ministry of Youth and Sports. The main goal is to support young talent’s achievements and their professional development by awarding scholarships to up to 500 top students from Serbia for masters or doctoral studies at the universities of the European Union member states and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), as well as in world's leading universities. Funds are determined in the budget of the Republic of Serbia, in line with earnings and fiscal capacities of the budget of the Republic of Serbia, at the proposal of the Ministry of Youth and Sport. Depending on the funds, the Fund for Young Talents determines the amount and the number of scholarships for each calendar year.
In addition, almost all universities and many colleges in Serbia have established bilateral and multilateral cooperation with universities in the EU countries, the USA, Canada, Asia and other regions. This cooperation is focused mainly on mobility of students, study visits, exchange of teaching staff and research.
At the level of secondary education Erasmus+ programme is available to VET pupils. Learner’s mobility of VET pupils is possible for VET schools in Serbia through KA1 Vocational Education and Training component of Erasmus+ programme as of 2017. This action can finance projects promoting VET traineeships up to 12 months. Pupils of secondary VET schools can be hosted at a workplace or at another VET school.
The Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Programme is a United States Department of State-sponsored program for secondary school students from countries of Eurasia. The program provides merit-based scholarships for students to travel to the United States, live with a host family, and attend an U.S. high school for a full academic year. The program is free of charge as it is funded by the Government of the United States and, so far it is attended by over 600 students from Serbia.
Serbia takes part in the Erasmus+ Youth in Action, a key instrument for non-formal and informal learning in a European dimension. The Foundation Tempus has been delegated the task of a body in charge of provision of information and guidance service on outward learning mobility in a document issued by the Government in May 2019. In line with the document, the Foundation Tempus is in charge of implementing activities related to the internationalisation of education, promotion of formal and non – formal learning opportunities for young people with the aim of supporting international cooperation in education. For these purposes informing about opportunities to participate in Erasmus+ Youth in Action through website, email, telephone, individual consultations (all year), as well as Erazmus + Info days are being organized annually.
In March 2019, Serbia has become the 38th member state of the Eurodesk network. The National Eurodesk Centre in Serbia operates within the Tempus Foundation and is located in the Tempus Foundation Information Centre. Eurodesk is a European network which provides free, high-quality and reliable information about the opportunities for mobility of young people, promoting European mobility programs such as Erasmus + and the European Solidarity Corps, encouraging active citizenship of young people and the development of youth policy.
There is no centralized quality assurance system for evaluating cross-border mobility programmes. However, the Erasmus+ Programme has quality assurance built into the application and project implementation processes.
In addition to this, in 2019 Serbia became a member of the RAY network, a self-governed European research network of National Agencies of the Erasmus+: Youth in Action Programme and their research partners. So far, Serbia participated in RAY MONITORING research project whose research objectives are focused at the implementation of Youth in action in general and the effects learning mobilities have on individuals and participating organisations all with the aim of contributing to the youth policy development and quality assurance and quality development in the implementation of Erasmus+: Youth in Action.