Belgian universities take part in pilot project for European diplomas

Belgian universities take part in pilot project for European diplomas
VUB graduates. Credit: Belga/Benoit Doppagne

Belgium's KU Leuven university will coordinate a European pilot project for the development of European diplomas as part of a wider initiative to strengthen cross-border cooperation in European higher education.

Six new projects that will explore and test the joint European diplomas were presented by the European Commission on Tuesday. The certificate will reflect the skills and learning outcomes of students who have attended a joint programme at different institutions in different countries. It will serve as a stepping stone towards a joint European diploma.

"The European Degree label can become a gamechanger, a catalyst that can change the development of joint degrees across Europe," said KU Leuven Rector Luc Sels at a press conference with European Education Commissioner Mariya Gabriel and Belgium's French-speaking Community Higher Education Minister Valérie Glatigny.

Only four institutions currently offer a joint bachelor's degree in European studies though it could have been 11 were it not for a number of obstacles in national and regional legislation.

Other Belgian universities

These obstacles are what the 'ED-AFFICHE' project aims to address, Sels stated. In the longer term, the project should make it easier for European universities and other higher education institutions to develop courses and award degrees together.

Behind ED-AFFICHE is a consortium of six alliances representing 51 higher education institutions from 22 countries. Altogether, the community comprises nearly two million staff and students. Also involved are 18 national and regional higher education ministries.

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In Belgium, the University of Ghent (UGent), the University of Antwerp (UAntwerp), Luca School of Arts, and the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) are also involved in one of the six projects on joint European diplomas.

Additionally, four projects will test new forms of cooperation in higher education: the Université de Liège, for example, is taking part in a project on the legal status accorded to cross-border alliances.

Each selected project can receive a budget of up to €200,000 from the Erasmus+ programme for one year.

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