The ACA – Academic Cooperation Association has recently published the Erasmus + Staff Mobility – Comparative data analysis study, carried out with the support of the Indire’s Erasmus+ National Agency and the Erasmus Agencies of Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Iceland, Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia.
The survey analyses some aspects that characterize the European and extra-European mobility of academic and administrative staff, highlighting the reasons for participation, the impact at a personal and institutional level, the methods of recognition of activities carried out abroad, and general satisfaction.
The work examines 75,023 responses provided, between 2014 and 2019, to the European questionnaire that participants from the nine countries completed at the end of their mobility. The questions are presented in a structured form and in most cases are multiple choice. Here are some of the main data that emerged.
If the reasons for a training experience abroad are mostly linked to the improvement of the services of the home institution (61%) and to the acquisition of practical skills related to work (60%), for the 86.6% of teachers in mobility the first reason indicated is sharing knowledge and skills with students.
However, in 73.7% of the answers, the need to test and develop new learning and teaching methods emerges. Other recurring reasons include the acquisition of specific teaching skills (73.4%), followed by the creation of joint curricula and courses (68.8% of responses) and the strengthening of cooperation with partner institutions (66,6%). This confirms the Erasmus programme’s capacity to contribute to the development of teaching staff’s skills and therefore to the general improvement of the quality of the training offer.
Erasmus mobilities for training and teaching abroad are generally of short duration; therefore, it is unlikely that there will be a long-term impact on both home and host institutions. However, positive results emerge both at a personal and professional level. 90% of participants agree that the experience has strengthened or expanded their professional network (Italy: 92.8%). Also, with regard to the acquisition of good practices, 90% of teachers and staff declared they “strongly agreed” or “fairly agreed” on this aspect (Italy: 86.5%).
As for the most relevant aspect of teaching, as many as 97% of teachers (Italy: 98.7%) highlighted the importance of sharing knowledge and skills acquired abroad with students; they expressed a less positive opinion about the impact on the introduction of new teaching methods at the home institution (only 50% declared they “strongly agreed” or “fairly agreed” on this aspect).
With regard to the perceived impact on the mobility and internationalization of the home institution, 76.5% of the participants agree that they have contributed to increasing the quality and quantity of student or staff mobility to and from their own institution (Italy: 76%). On the other hand, in 72.6% of cases, they declared that they “strongly agreed” or “fairly agreed” with the statement according to which staff mobility has contributed to the internationalization of their institution (Italy: 77, 6%). This type of mobility produces greater cooperation between the home institution and partner organizations, as it was confirmed by 73% of responses (Italy: 77.8%). Positive effects are also found on the host institution, since 3 out of 4 participants think they have motivated “non-mobile” students to undertake a study or internship experience (Italy: 79.3%).
From the responses, it emerges that the Italian participants express the lowest level of satisfaction with the methods of recognition followed by the institution to which they belong. The percentage of those who declare to be satisfied varies between 50.6%, expressed by Italy, to 71.5% indicated by the participants from the Czech Republic. This means that 27.2% (maximum value) of Italian teachers declared not to be satisfied compared to 7.7% (minimum value) of their Czech colleagues.
However, as a whole, the degree of satisfaction with the experience abroad, is very high in all the countries that took part in the survey.