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Erasmus Policy Statement

Erasmus Policy Statement - Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (HiOA). Part D of application for ECHE 2014.

You can also download the Erasmus Policy Statement as a PDF-document here.

HiOA aims to be internationally recognised for its professional programmes ( Strategy 2020). In line with this aim, the institution will cooperate internationally on a variety of levels. The institution will actively prioritise participation in international councils and committees of strategic importance. In our strategic plan, HiOA emphasises internationalisation of research: knowledge must be brought from abroad, internationalisation is a condition to enhance quality, EU funding is a stamp of quality demonstrating that we are able to compete.

Items from The Action Plan for Internationalisation

  • Strengthening the strategic cooperation with a selected number of universities of applied sciences
  • Give priority to cooperation with Nordic countries and Europe, but also cooperate with USA, Russia, China, India and selected countries in Latin America and Africa
  • Support the development of joint degrees with international partners
  • Increase the number of courses taught in English
  • Increase mobility through a variety of promotion initiatives
  • Make all information on the institution's website accessible in English
  • Systematic use of teacher exchange and integration of international researchers in the academic staff
  • Language courses for students and staff members as part of competence enhancement

Strategies and objectives

HiOA's strategy for Europe is expressed in our current EPS: We are prepared to follow up the European strategy (such as the Europe 2020 Strategy to make Europe an advanced knowledge based society and a world quality reference), the national strategy (such as increased number of joint degrees), and the Bologna Process (such as creation of the European Higher Education Area and exchange of >20 percent of the students by 2020).

HiOA is also focused on the objectives of LLP (such as social cohesion and active citizenship, employability, language learning and language diversity, and creation of a sense of European citizenship) and more explicitly, those of the Erasmus programme (such as increased mobility of students and staff, increased institutional cooperation and cooperation between higher education institutions (HEI) and enterprises).

Partner institutions

Choice of partner institutions is based on information through participation in international conferences such as EAIE and NAFSA, and on preparatory visits to the institutions concerned. Bilateral agreements are signed after thorough evaluation of possible cooperation and exchange, taking into consideration the quality of courses on offer, joint subject areas, similar course structure, complementary expertise and courses taught in English if the national language is too challenging. An important point to consider is whether the university will also attract our students. In line with this, preference is given to universities situated in a metropolis, having good information in English on their web pages, and offering courses in English.

It is a national priority to send students to countries where Norway has commercial interests. In Europe, Norway's most important trading partner is Germany. However, in spite of several initiatives to promote Germany, very few students choose Germany as host country, preferring instead to travel to Australia, South Africa and the USA. It is therefore a challenge to promote Europe.

On the other hand, teachers and administrative staff prefer Europe, and HiOA has the highest number in Norway of participants in Erasmus staff training. HiOA has 300 bilateral agreements in Europe, of which 37 are found in Germany. Out of the total 300 agreements, only 39 have been formed outside of Europe. This clearly reflects our strategic priorities, even if the students do not respond accordingly.

Target groups

Target groups of HiOA's mobility activities are all students and all staff members according to the corresponding actions of the Erasmus programme, i.e. SMS, SMP, STA and STT. The objectives correspond to the respective objectives found in the LLP Guide 2013.

For SMS:

  • To benefit educationally, linguistically and culturally from the exchange

For SMP:

  • To prepare for the EU-wide labour market
  • To understand the economic and social culture of the host country
  • To promote cooperation between higher education institutions (HEI) and enterprises

For STA:

  • To encourage HEIs to broaden and enrich the range and content of their courses
  • To allow home students to benefit from the knowledge and expertise of academic staff from abroad
  • To exchange expertise and experience on pedagogical methods

For STT:

  • To acquire knowledge and know-how from good practices abroad
  • To promote cooperation between HEI and enterprises

For all actions the following applies: to promote cooperation between institutions, and to motivate students and staff to become mobile.

Erasmus Mundus and IPs

HiOA has coordinated several IPs and Erasmus Mundus Master programmes. Some joint degrees have followed the progression path IP:

Curriculum Development to Joint Master Programme to Erasmus Mundus Master Programme to Erasmus Mundus PhD Programme. All these have received funding from the EU, except for the PhD programme which was unfortunately not selected.

HiOA intends to implement the following cooperation projects for innovation and good practices expected to be supported under the future programme.

Strategic partnerships

According to our Action Plan for Internationalisation 2013-2015, HiOA will strengthen the strategic cooperation with a selected number of universities of applied sciences. HiOA has already prioritised cooperation with Hogeschool van Amsterdam, extending our agreement to cover the majority of our subject areas.

We are looking for new candidates among our 300 European partners, and Berlin has already been highlighted as an area of cooperation that will receive priority. As also stated in the Action Plan, HiOA will apply for membership in strategic university alliance and join other international networks in the period 2013-2015.

Knowledge alliances between HEI and enterprises

HiOA participates in the cooperation alliance "Knowledge Oslo" ("Kunnskap Oslo" in Norwegian) which includes education institutions on different levels, private as well as public, and social partners. The objective is to develop cooperation between education institutions, public administration, industry and finance. It also aims to promote Oslo as an attractive workplace, study place and conference venue for national and foreign researchers, professionals and students.

HiOA is also a member of the Oslo Chamber of Commerce (Oslo Handelskammer) and can thus make use of the organisation's services for incoming international researchers and for cooperation with industry. HiOA will take into consideration the influence of initiatives within these frameworks and their ability to compliment Erasmus for All.

International cooperation with third countries

HiOA coordinates two Erasmus Mundus Master Programmes. The funding period for one of them (DILL) has expired, and the other (IMEC) will expire next year. To keep these programmes going, HiOA will apply for a continuation under Erasmus for All. These EMMPs have proved to be excellent tools for capacity building in third countries. HiOA is prepared to initiate additional joint courses based on a similar pattern.

Priority 1: Increasing attainment levels to provide the graduates and researchers Europe needs

HiOA will follow up the Europe 2020 education headline target that, by 2020, 40 percent of young people should successfully complete higher education studies. HiOA already attracts a broad cross-section of society into higher education. The prospect of taking a period of the education programme abroad is one of the benefits we emphasise in our presentation of HiOA for young people at information meetings, open days and fairs.

Norway is far below the 3 percent of GDP research investment target. However, HiOA aiming at university status, gives priority to research and a growing number of doctoral candidates. As women represent the majority of the staff, the potential of female talent is fully taken advantage of. Research is a main part of the STA and STT activities.

Priority 2: Improving the quality and relevance of higher education

As a university of applied sciences, HiOA has a close cooperation with the market place. Most study programmes have work placement as part of their curriculum. HiOA has the best score in Norway for Erasmus SMP, which prepares the students for the EU-wide labour market and promotes cooperation between higher education institutions (HEI) and the business sector. This contributes to relevance of gained knowledge and skills.

HiOA has a large Faculty of Health Sciences with active STA and STT and research related to an aging population. This matches skills with emerging jobs. HiOA also has a career centre to promote graduate employment. International exchange forms a part of their recommendations. Improving the quality and relevance of higher education is one of the elements listed in our Strategy 2020.

Priority 3: Strengthening quality through mobility and cross-border cooperation

HiOA will follow up the Europe 2020 target of increasing the proportion of students completing a study or training period abroad to 20 percent by 2020. The Norwegian adoption of the aims of the Bologna process has facilitated cross-border cooperation.

Our two Erasmus Mundus Master Programmes (DILL and IMEC) have represented a major increase in student mobility, and have contributed to attract the best students, academics and researchers from outside the EU, thus contributing to European competitiveness.

Priority 4: Making the knowledge triangle work

In 2011, Oslo University College (HiO) merged with Akershus University College (HiAk). The latter had a very close cooperation with regional enterprises and business. In 2013, HiOA merged with two research institutes (AFI and NOVA). Thus, the triangle education, research and business is continually being strengthened.

The impact of Erasmus actions on this development is difficult to judge, but HiOA's increased diversity and commitment will make us an interesting partner in an international context, and it will improve our ability to fully take advantage of the potential of the Erasmus programme

Priority 5: Improving governance and funding

Except for a few private institutions, all HEIs in Norway are publicly funded. Thus, additional sources of funding are not critical. However, HiOA receives funding from a range of international programmes, such as Erasmus, Erasmus Mundus and EU's Framework Programme for Research. Much time and effort is devoted to the preparation of project applications, whereof many are selected, thus having an important impact on our funding. EEA grants, especially the scholarship funds in Poland, represent an interesting source of funding. On receiving Polish staff and students through the framework of EEA, results in generous funding for the host institution.

- MGK/01.05.13

You can also download the Erasmus Policy Statement as a PDF-document here.

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