Results of the survey on international cooperation

22. 6. 2020

In May, we conducted a short survey among project coordinators in the field of school education on the implementation of mobility projects (KA1) and school partnerships (KA229). We were very satisfied with the response – KA229 119 responses out of 194 (61%) and KA1 146 out of 219 (67%).

The answers are very encouraging:

  • in KA1 projects in the field of school education, 95% of respondents want Erasmus+ mobility to remain a real (physical) experience abroad as much as possible also in the future. 96% of respondents want to go abroad on mobility as soon as possible. 70% of respondents believe that their institution is adequately equipped for virtual work and 64% believe that they are qualified to participate in various ways of virtual mobility.

I am aware that integration into the European and wider cultural and thus learning space is essential for quality coexistence and creation in the present and the future. Now even more than ever.

I believe that the virtual experience for our students – secondary vocational education, where students gain experience in companies, can in no way replace virtual mobility. Also, today’s students have been in the virtual world for too long and physical experience, genuine experiences, contacts,… give students a real, memorable experience that they can then share with other peers and their environment.

  • in school partnerships (KA229), 86% of respondents will continue with actual, physical, mobility as soon as things return to normal. 93% of respondents believe that their institution is adequately equipped for virtual modes of participation and 84% of them believe that they are qualified to participate in different ways of virtual mobility until physical mobility will be possible.

I would not like to replace Erasmus mobility with a virtual exchange. We already have other projects for this (eTwining). Experience abroad cannot be replaced by computer work. I myself do not have the slightest concerns about mobility abroad, but I am afraid that some will fear so much and that it will also influence decision-makers. Therefore, I ask you to actively advocate for the Erasmus programme and not leave it to fate. I believe that it is beneficial for the individual and for society as a whole.

I think that an actual visit abroad is what enriches the participants in the project the most – when you feel the pulse of life at another school, move in their environment, observe the locals, intensively break the boundaries of thinking that your home environment (inadvertently) sets for you. It’s also important to move from the comfort zone to the new, the unknown. We are rewarded with personal growth and meeting new people who can become our friends. Physical socializing makes it easier to give birth to new ideas, share knowledge and strengthen values.

A similar questionnaire was sent to mobility participants in the field of higher education (the questionnaire was addressed to Erasmus+ and CEEPUS participants). The questionnaire was sent to 497 students and 133 staff; we collected 312 responses (50%). Based on the answers, it is clear that:

  • when possible, everyone will return to physical mobility, with professors being even more courageous than students, with over 90% expressing such an opinion compared to 77% of students.
  • the CEEPUS program has the advantage of being smaller in size, regional and therefore less vulnerable to the global pandemic situation.
  • more than 80% of academic staff believe that higher education institutions are adequately equipped for virtual work and that staff members are prepared for virtual mobility. For students, this agreement is slightly lower, at a good 60%.
  • most staff would postpone mobility to 2021 if the restrictions continue beyond the summer of 2020, thus gaining the experience of physical mobility.
  • physical mobility is an added value, especially for students, for reasons related to personal and professional development. Sharing is a valuable, memorable life experience. For staff, physical mobility is often a reward and cannot be replaced by a virtual experience.

I am aware of the limitations, but it is difficult to fully transfer all activities to e-environment. Social contact and a sense of the country cannot be replaced by virtual environment. Some activities cannot be carried out in the e-environment, as they require the physical presence of participants. However, I am an advocate that perhaps a combination can be a good solution, suggesting that the first contact is made physically, to get to know each other better and better understand the needs and cultural environment, and part of the activities can then be carried out in the future with the help of a virtual environment.

Mobility is an added value that we must absolutely continue with.