Early this year, by mandate of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), Movetia launched a new international pilot programme. It is aimed at Swiss educational institutions wishing to try out new mobility ideas or models of cooperation beyond the borders of Europe. Whether with America, Asia, Africa or Oceania, what matters in terms of the project is its innovative nature, its multiplier effects and its function as a model, that is to say, its reproducibility. Therefore, the projects have to demonstrate added value for the institutions themselves and for the Swiss education system.
An outline fund of nearly CHF 2.3 million is available for the period 2018-2020, corresponding to approximately CHF 760,000 a year. In principle, three annual calls for projects will be organised until 2020 and an overall assessment of the programme will be carried out with the SERI, with the aim of improving and developing the Confederation’s incentive practices in the field of international cooperation.
Within the framework of the first call for submissions, 101 projects from different levels or sectors of education were submitted, that is 27 projects in the “guided” projects category and 74 in the “carte blanche” category. Half come from higher education institutes, approximately twenty from vocational education and training and ten or so from the school education sector. A few projects come from adult education or from the youth sector. This high number is gratifying and demonstrates the growing interest of stakeholders in the Swiss education system in international mobility and cooperation.
On the downside, the assessment and prioritisation of the projects were complex and difficult, above all because of the limited financial resources available. Thus, of the 101 projects, it was possible for 17 to be accepted by Movetia and validated by the SERI. That is to say, 7 for tertiary education, 5 for vocational education and training, 3 for school education and 2 for the youth sector. Innovation and the added value for the Swiss education system were among the main criteria considered in the choice of those projects.
Promoting international mobility for the purposes of education and training is a fundamental element of the Confederation’s education policy. A geographical expansion of mobility activities is seen as extremely beneficial for the development and attractiveness of the Swiss education system. Today, many of the stakeholders in this system are putting structures in place or working out systems offering mobility stays, integrating work experience placements abroad or developing strategic partnerships. The exchange of good practices, the transfer of innovation, and the search for partnerships and cooperation on an international scale are tending to become key factors in the development of education systems worldwide and also, of course, in Switzerland.
The next call for projects will take place in December this year.