The international programme launched at the end of 2021 was a great success. 57 projects were submitted. 30 of them were selected and will be financed by the CHF 3 million made available for this programme. All educational sectors are involved, from school education to tertiary education, adult education and extra-curricular youth activities. Some projects even build bridges between the different sectors of education. "We are delighted by the interest in this international cooperation programme. We could have supported more good projects, but the budget of CHF 3 million forced us to be selective," explains Julia Grünenfelder, coordinator of the international programme.
The international programme started as a pilot project between 2018 and 2020. After a one-year break in 2021, the official launch of the programme took place at the end of 2021. The entry into force of the new law on international cooperation and mobility in education on 1 April 2022 allowed for more flexibility in the programme. While the pilot programme gave Swiss institutions the opportunity to establish cooperation with institutions outside Europe only, the 2022 programme now allows cooperation with European countries as well.
The aim of the international programme is to support networking and the exchange of experience, to develop educational offerings and to strengthen the recognition and attractiveness of the Swiss educational area beyond its borders. In other words, it aims to strengthen and develop the Swiss education system.
The selected projects will develop cooperation with many countries. The countries most involved are Germany, Austria, Canada, the United States, Great Britain and Sweden. In Switzerland, the institutions most represented among the applicants are the universities of teacher education (7 projects) and the universities of applied sciences (7). Almost half of all projects even include several Swiss institutions.
In terms of themes, several projects address the cross-cutting priorities of Swiss education, research and innovation (ERI) policy, namely equal opportunities, digitalisation and sustainability. For example, in a project to improve the provision of adult education, the Université populaire jurassienne is collaborating with a German peer institution to integrate the aspect of sustainability comprehensively at all levels (curriculum, learning environment, organisation and network management and partnership). In another project, the University of Teacher Training Zurich is collaborating in Switzerland with the Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften (ZHAW) as well as with complementary institutions in Sweden and Australia to develop a curriculum for people working in day schools that will be implemented in the 6 participating institutions of different disciplines in the three countries. Yet another project for school education aims to develop and test with Swiss and German partners a didactic toolkit for (online and face-to-face) citizenship education, oriented towards the training of politicians.
The projects will start soon and are expected to last between 1 and 4 years. But a new call for projects will be launched with a deadline foreseen for spring 2023.