European cooperation, the acquisition of international experience by our students and the further exploration of virtual education are priorities in the Strategic Plan of 2021-2026. The theme of the Coimbra Group webinar, in which Rector magnificus Cisca Wijmenga took part on December 4, was therefore also highly relevant: “Recommendations for the future of mobility and internationalization in the European Knowledge Area”.
During the webinar, Sophia Eriksson-Waterschoot (Director for Youth, Education and Erasmus +, European Commission) and Dirk Van Damne (Senior Counselor, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills) emphasized the importance of (virtual) mobility and the acquisition of global competences for students. The role universities play in societal transition processes (e.g. the energy transition) and the skills that students must acquire in order to contribute to this, were also discussed. The Erasmus program and the new European University networks (such as ENLIGHT, in which the RUG is involved) offer opportunities to this end.
During her presentation, Cisca Wijmenga underlined that in this context, it is important for students to acquire both international and interdisciplinary skills. She also emphasized that offline and face-to-face contact between teacher and student remains a central focus point within education at the RUG. This also applies to physical European student mobility, which will remain important, as soon as traveling is once again possible. At the same time, the corona crisis has accelerated the digitization of education, which offers both technological and didactic opportunities to diversify and innovate our educational programs. The demand for more flexible learning paths (e.g. via micro-credentials) and the development of techniques for high-quality online interaction between students and staff, come together beautifully within the course of these developments. ENLIGHT offers ample opportunities to get started with such innovations.
At the University of Groningen, we can draw on the experiences we have already gained, such as through the ENVOIE (Enabling Virtual Online International Exchange) project.
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