On the 19-20 April 2021 took place the second Peer-Learning Activity on Inclusive Mobility, as part of the PLAR-4-SIMP project. Hosted by the Federal Ministry Republic of Austria Education, Science and Research, the Flemish Ministry of Education and Training and the Support Centre for Inclusive Higher Education (SIHO), this second PLA gathered 30 participants representing 14 Ministries of Education of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and their respective National Agency for Erasmus+ or National Erasmus+ Office.
The discussions revolved around the barriers and challenges of organizing mobility in an inclusive way for all types of disadvantaged, vulnerable and underrepresented students, but discussions were solution-oriented and participants have had the chance to receive plenty of inputs from other countries and experts.
In particular, on the first day, participants took part in a panel where the Flemish and Austrian ministries highlighted their approach on setting up international strategies to make mobility more inclusive in their respective countries. Gabrielle Aberman presented the participatory and inclusive approach for the development of the Austrian Mobility and Internationalisation Strategy 2020-2030 (HMIS). Magalie Soenen focused on how has the topic of inclusion evolved since the Flemish mobility strategy in 2013 and how this is reflected in the new inclusive internationalisation strategy. Three experts Frederik De Decker (UGent), Irina Ferencz (ACA) and Howard Davies (EUA) also shared insights on the topics in an interactive panel, moderated by Dominique Montagnese (SIHO).
Through interactive workshops, facilitated by Helga Posset, Anna Wöckinger, Irina Ferencz and Howard Davies, participants have been able to share challenges, obstacles but also good practices and solutions for encountered challenges. Dominique Montagnese and Valérie Van Hees also conducted a workshop in which participants were invited to share their feedback and expectations towards the communication package and e-learning training package that will be developed throughout the project.
On the second day, a session with representatives from the European Commission took place and was centered onto ‘Inclusive Erasmus+ 2021-2027: New opportunities for more people’. After the keynote of the Commission representatives, Frederik De Decker moderated a discussion with participants focusing on how national authorities, national agencies and higher education institutions can cooperate to implement the new measures successfully at national and institutional level.
Helga Posset and Anna Wöckinger closed the PLA by explaining the next steps. A background paper has been published stating the current status of Inclusive Mobility around the EHEA. In October 2021, a research report and peer learning report will be published. The training and communication package will be launched at the final conference in February 2022. In the meantime PLA countries will be supported in drawing up their action plans, and they will be closely involved in the development of the training package.