The opposite is the school and the student as an instrument for the development of society. Here, the internationalization of education is seen as crucial for the nation’s prosperity development in a global competitive situation, and as an investment in and for the future. In this perspective, internationalization is also used as a tool to be able to be measured against others . For example, PISA measurements under the auspices of the OECD have been of great importance in increasing the education systems’ ability to talk to each other . PISA measures 15-year-olds’ competence in reading, mathematics and science. In Norway, the results from the PISA surveys had great significance for the school policy debate and the priorities in the school. This has been made visible by the fact that today more time is set aside for mathematics, reading and writing instruction than before. In addition to PISA, there are also frameworks such as the EU’s EQVET , which makes it easier to compare vocational education and training in different countries in Europe.
5: EU and education
According to INSIDEWATCH, the EU is an important driving force in the work of internationalizing education in Europe. Knowledge must be able to circulate as freely as possible, and the level of education in the population must be raised. International education and research cooperation is seen as an important tool for strengthening the EU’s economy and competitiveness . Therefore, over the last 25 years, the EU has invested heavily in European education cooperation. For example, the Erasmus exchange program was established in 1987.
The EU’s program for lifelong learning (LLP 2007–2013) ended in 2013, and from 1 January 2014 was replaced by Erasmus + (2014–2020). Erasmus + is, to an even greater extent than LLP, a response to the deep economic crisis in Europe, and the programme’s budget has been increased by as much as 40 percent, to 14.5 billion euros. In Europe, 400,000 people participate annually in various forms of learning and cooperation with other European countries. By 2020, the European Commission wants this number to double.
Erasmus + is divided into three main actions (“Key actions”), two of which are particularly relevant for schools to seek support for: mobility and strategic partnerships . Collaboration can take place in many ways. Schools can now collaborate with other sectors, such as companies, colleges, universities and libraries, on a project. Erasmus + still opens up for traditional school partnerships. In addition, there are Regio partnerships, which involve cooperation between education authorities, schools and institutions from specific geographical areas. The old program names consist of: Comenius (school, teacher and student collaboration ), Leonardo da Vinci ( vocational education ), Grundtvig ( adult learning) and Erasmus ( higher education ).
6: What do the schools collaborate on?
Neither Erasmus + nor any of the other major educational programs place specific guidelines on the academic content, but the collaboration naturally affects goals in the curriculum. Within vocational education and training, there has been collaboration in the following different areas in recent years: health ( Strømmen high school with placement among health institutions in Greece, Crete), design and crafts ( Setesdal high school with schools in Germany, Finland and the Netherlands), restaurant and food subjects ( Kristiansund high school with school in France) and Dalane high school near Egersund which collaborates with schools in Germany, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands on the establishment of a separate wind power line.
The VET Wind project at Dalane upper secondary school highlights the relevance of international cooperation. The school aims to be the best in the country in terms of green energy, especially wind power. But how will they be able to build up such a study offer, which is not found anywhere else in Norway? They had to go out and get the expertise where it is. Therefore, they took the initiative to collaborate with schools and companies in several European countries. “It’s about learning from others who have come much further than us ,” says the project manager at the school.
7: Mobility as a sign of internationalization
Pupils and students who cross national borders to study are examples of international mobility. International mobility, the number of incoming and outgoing pupils and students, is often used as a barometer, a pressure gauge, for the internationalization of education. In Erasmus +, the European Commission has set aside almost two thirds of the budget for individual mobility. In Norway, it is also an important goal that pupils and students, as well as teachers and researchers, travel abroad.
Mobility in basic education
Outgoing mobility in basic education covers very different activities, from traveling to a few days of project meetings to taking one or more years in upper secondary school in another country. Outgoing students in Norway are based primarily on approved co-operation programs between Norwegian and foreign upper secondary schools, stays through approved exchange organizations (EF Education, YFU, STS and others), the EU’s Erasmus + program and the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Nordplus Junior. The picture is that the overall mobility in basic education is increasing .