The Swiss-European Mobility Programme SEMP has been promoting the mobility of students and staff at Swiss institutions of higher education within Europe since 2014. Prior to this, Switzerland participated in the European programme as an associated country. Movetia’s latest publication, the Mobility Monitoring on Swiss Higher Education Mobility, examines developments and trends since 2011/12 and identifies major fluctuations: whereas the association sparked growth, since 2014 there have been slumps or stagnation in some areas.
The SEMP only replaces individual mobility activities of Erasmus+, but the European programme offers much more than just funding for mobility in higher education. The other activities are represented by the plus in Erasmus+: over the last 30 years, the European programme has evolved considerably and seeks to achieve comprehensive internationalisation for institutions through strategic university-level collaborations. In particular, initiatives such as European Universities for multilateral cooperation or Erasmus without paper for the digitisation of mobility management are the drivers that reinforce this. At the Swiss level, there is still no counterbalance to these strategic instruments of Erasmus+.
Mobility trends show that although the continuity of Swiss mobility within Europe was assured after 2014, the non-association to Erasmus+ has left its mark: growth has slowed, and in certain areas the numbers have fallen sharply or are subject to severe annual fluctuations. Universities of Applied Sciences and of Teacher Education have been hit the hardest. The Universities are holding steady, although the numbers appear to be stagnating.
The SEMP programme maintenance was also examined in the Monitoring. Movetia found that SEMP has become more complex for Swiss tertiary level institutions. Since 2014, Swiss institutions have required more agreements to maintain the mobility figures.
And what is the situation in comparison with the rest of Europe? Are Swiss students more mobile than their European counterparts? A comparison with a neighbouring country suggests the opposite: Austria achieves 26% more mobility as part of Erasmus+.
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