Vi samler statistik ved hjælp af cookies

Vi bruger cookies til at forbedre hjemmesiden til glæde for vores brugere. Du kan altid slette cookies fra os igen.

Stepping up study and internship abroad

– a strategy for enhanced outbound mobility in the academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes

Foreword

A stronger internationalisation of the academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes is an important element in strengthening their quality and attraction. It may contribute to more young peoplechoosing a higher education. And it will ensure that the graduates are better equipped to cope in an ever more international workplace.

For these reasons, I have initiated the development of a strategy for increased outbound mobility within the academy profession and professional bachelor programmes. The objective of the strategy is to contribute to removing obstacles to internationalisation and to support and improve the internationalisation efforts at the academies of professional higher education and the university colleges. The strategy puts forward recommendations and initiatives to make more students choose a study period or internship abroad.

Several of the recommendations are directed towards the institutions. These recommendations have a concrete focus which will facilitate the work in the institutions to implement the strategy. I would like to highlight the recommendations and initiatives that I view as key to the implementation process: The strategy recommends that common key indicators for internationalisation in the development contracts of the institutions be established. This will give the signal that internationalisation is a high priority area and increase management focus on the effort. It is also important that the users be involved in the work to increase the outbound mobility. For instance, it is proposed to develop an international certificate of competence to document the students’ benefits from their stay abroad to the employers.

During the course of their study, the students shall be made more aware of the opportunities for a stay abroad. It is therefore proposed that the students receive better and more targeted information about the opportunities and benefits of a study or internship abroad. In addition to this, it is recommended that greater focus be given to the teachers’ role in the effort to promote the benefits of a study abroad. It is essential to arouse the students’ interest in going abroad, and to this end, as the direct contact with the educational system, the teachers are an important factor. If we are to achieve these objectives, it is necessary that there be ample opportunity to go abroad for a study period as well as for an internship without prolonging the duration of the study. Therefore, it is recommended that consideration be given to this when planning the study programmes.

The students will acquire important knowledge of other educational, professional, and cultural conditions when they go abroad. This is an indispensable element in ensuring that the competitiveness of Denmark remains strong when compared with other countries. It is therefore my hope that the strategy will be well received, and that the educational institutions will carry on with the implementation of the recommendations.

I look forward to seeing the strategy providing the opportunity and the desire for more students to go abroad for study periods and internships.

Tina Nedergaard underskrift

Tina Nedergaard
Minister for Education

1. Introduction

Traditionally, the internationalisation of vocational and professional higher education has been promoted by ‘fiery souls’, and therefore, the degree of internationalisation varies depending on the academic field and the institution. In addition, the number of students in academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes who complete a part of their education abroad is less than in the universities, and the trend is stagnating.

A stronger internationalisation of the academy profession and professional bachelor programmes shall strengthen the quality and attraction of the programmes so that more young people take a higher education. Moreover, if a strong Danish competitiveness has to be maintained, it is necessary that Danish students through their education achieve the skills required to get on internationally.

In March 2008, with the Act on academy profession education programmes and professional bachelor education programmes, a new framework for a strengthened internationalisation of the academy profession and professional bachelor programmes was established:

  • The institutions were charged with arranging the study programmes so that it would be possible for the students to complete parts of the education abroad within the standard duration of the education.
  • The institutions were given the option to organize the studies as parallel programmes so that parts of the Danish courses may also be completed at approved foreign institutions.
  • The institutions were given the option to organize the studies as joint degree programmes where parts of an education programme may only be completed at one or more approved foreign institutions.

The new internationalisation opportunities were an element of the implementation of the Bologna Process. Moreover, the initiatives take as their starting point the Government’s 2004 report to the Danish Parliament, Folketinget, about strengthened internationalisation of the education programmes and the Government’s globalisation strategy. Likewise, they are in line with the European Commission’s Green Paper “Promoting the learning mobility of young people”1 dated July 2009. The Green Paper points out among other things that young people who travel abroad during the course of their study also show more geographical flexibility later in their professional lives.

To ensure a strong, high quality implementation of the new opportunities for internationalisation, the Minister for Education in 2008 initiated a task to develop a strategy for internationalisation of the academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes with a special focus on making more students step up to a study period or internship abroad as a part of their education.

The strategy has been developed in cooperation with representatives of the institutions. A resource group was set up to assist the Ministry for Education in this task; the participants were appointed by the Rectors’ Conference of University Colleges Denmark, Danish Vocational Colleges, and Danish Agency for International Education2 (see Annex B).


1 A Green Paper is a document from the European Commission that analyses issues and suggest possiblemeasures under the auspices of the European Union. The Green Paper is used as a basis of discussion. Thepurpose is to create a debate and start a hearing procedure on the matter. The hearings may then form thebasis of a White Paper that represents concrete EU measures. Green Paper “Promoting the learning mobilityof young people”; COM (2009) 329/3. The Green Paper is in hearing until mid-December 2009.

2 The Danish Agency for International Education (until 1 January 2010 known as CIRIUS) supports the internationalisationof education and training in Denmark and is responsible for assessing foreign qualifications.

1.1. Purpose and focus

Closeup af bøger

The purpose of the strategy is to map the opportunities and obstacles to making more students spend time abroad and, on that background, to develop a strategy for a strong, high quality internationalisation of the academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes.

The strategy shall contribute to removing obstacles to internationalisation and support and develop the internationalisation efforts of the academies of professional higher education and the university colleges so that more and more students will have the opportunity and desire to complete a part of their education abroad or to encounter the internationalisation as an integral part of their education and of the educational institution in Denmark.

The new opportunities for internationalisation, which were introduced by the Act on academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes, take as their starting point the overall objective of the Government’s globalisation strategy that more students shall spend time studying abroad.

As such, the strategy is a follow-up on the new opportunities for internationalisation given by the law, and it focuses in particular on one aspect of the internationalisation effort: the outbound mobility in the study programmes; that is to say that more Danish students in academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes shall complete a study period abroad as part of their study and within the standard duration of the study.

Internationalisation of study programmes and educational institutions is a broad and multifaceted phenomenon. Focusing on outbound mobility means that a number of other aspects of the internationalisation effort, e.g. the inbound mobility, are not considered in the strategy. The inbound mobility is discussed, however, in the national strategy for marketing Denmark as an education country that focuses on attracting highly qualified students.

The present strategy for outbound mobility in the academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes should therefore be viewed as a complement to other strategies and key efforts directed towards an internationalisation of higher education.

1.2. Basis

Mandlig underviser står foran tavle

As already noted, the purpose of the strategy is in part to map the opportunities and obstacles to outbound mobility in academy profession and professional bachelor education.

To this end, as a basis for the strategy, several surveys have been conducted for the purpose of providing better insight into internationalisation and outbound mobility:

  • Obstacles to and benefits from periods abroad experienced by Danish university college students and students at academies of professional higher education (quantitative report).
  • Study abroad of Danish university college students and students at academies of professional higher education – benefits and rejections (qualitative report). • Demand for international skills and the interest in establishing internships abroad.
  • Internationalisation efforts of educational institutions.
  • Models for organising the internationalisation effort.
  • Parallel and joint study programmes – terminology and experience.

This strategy document is arranged so that the strategy itself is presented in Part I as a series of recommendations and initiatives directed towards a better framework for mobility, better motivation of students, internationalised institutions and a more supportive labour market. In time, the Ministry of Education will implement a number of the initiatives. Other suggestions have more long-term goals that the Ministry of Education will work for in the future. Several of the recommendations are directed towards the institutions, and here the objective is that the institutions, individually as well as jointly, work further on with the development and implementation of these recommendations. The background of the strategy is presented in Part II under four headings, which represent different emphases in the mapping of obstacles and opportunities for increased outbound mobility: the students, the educational institutions, the labour market, and parallel and joint study programmes.

The background and contents of the surveys are laid out in more detail in the introduction of each chapter in Part II, and the chapters will form the summaries of the principal conclusions of the surveys.

1.1. Purpose and focus

Closeup af bøger

The purpose of the strategy is to map the opportunities and obstacles to making more students spend time abroad and, on that background, to develop a strategy for a strong, high quality internationalisation of the academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes.

The strategy shall contribute to removing obstacles to internationalisation and support and develop the internationalisation efforts of the academies of professional higher education and the university colleges so that more and more students will have the opportunity and desire to complete a part of their education abroad or to encounter the internationalisation as an integral part of their education and of the educational institution in Denmark.

The new opportunities for internationalisation, which were introduced by the Act on academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes, take as their starting point the overall objective of the Government’s globalisation strategy that more students shall spend time studying abroad.

As such, the strategy is a follow-up on the new opportunities for internationalisation given by the law, and it focuses in particular on one aspect of the internationalisation effort: the outbound mobility in the study programmes; that is to say that more Danish students in academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes shall complete a study period abroad as part of their study and within the standard duration of the study.

Internationalisation of study programmes and educational institutions is a broad and multifaceted phenomenon. Focusing on outbound mobility means that a number of other aspects of the internationalisation effort, e.g. the inbound mobility, are not considered in the strategy. The inbound mobility is discussed, however, in the national strategy for marketing Denmark as an education country that focuses on attracting highly qualified students.

The present strategy for outbound mobility in the academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes should therefore be viewed as a complement to other strategies and key efforts directed towards an internationalisation of higher education.

1.2. Basis

Mandlig underviser står foran tavle

As already noted, the purpose of the strategy is in part to map the opportunities and obstacles to outbound mobility in academy profession and professional bachelor education.

To this end, as a basis for the strategy, several surveys have been conducted for the purpose of providing better insight into internationalisation and outbound mobility:

  • Obstacles to and benefits from periods abroad experienced by Danish university college students and students at academies of professional higher education (quantitative report).
  • Study abroad of Danish university college students and students at academies of professional higher education – benefits and rejections (qualitative report). • Demand for international skills and the interest in establishing internships abroad.
  • Internationalisation efforts of educational institutions.
  • Models for organising the internationalisation effort.
  • Parallel and joint study programmes – terminology and experience.

This strategy document is arranged so that the strategy itself is presented in Part I as a series of recommendations and initiatives directed towards a better framework for mobility, better motivation of students, internationalised institutions and a more supportive labour market. In time, the Ministry of Education will implement a number of the initiatives. Other suggestions have more long-term goals that the Ministry of Education will work for in the future. Several of the recommendations are directed towards the institutions, and here the objective is that the institutions, individually as well as jointly, work further on with the development and implementation of these recommendations. The background of the strategy is presented in Part II under four headings, which represent different emphases in the mapping of obstacles and opportunities for increased outbound mobility: the students, the educational institutions, the labour market, and parallel and joint study programmes.

The background and contents of the surveys are laid out in more detail in the introduction of each chapter in Part II, and the chapters will form the summaries of the principal conclusions of the surveys.

Part I – The Strategy

To kvinder og en mand diskuterer

2. Stepping up study and internship abroad

In 2020, at least 20% of the graduates within the European space of higher education shall have spent a study period or an internship abroad as a part of their education. This is the goal that the ministers have set in the Bologna Process at the meeting of the ministers in Leuven and Louvain-la- Neuve during the spring of 2009 3.

In 2007/2008, the number of students in studies or internships abroad made up 7.6% of the graduates with a medium-cycle higher education (including professional bachelors) and 3.8% of the graduates with a shortcycle higher education (including the vocational academy educated). In universities, the number of students in studies or internships abroad constituted 28.9% of the graduates with a long-cycle higher education 4.

In other words, a strong and targeted effort is required to make more academy profession and professional bachelor students spend a period abroad if the academy profession and professional bachelor programmes are to contribute towards the 20% goal.

The strategy consists of several recommendations and initiatives aimed at making more students study abroad as a part of their academy profession and professional bachelor education without this involving an extension of the standard duration of study. The recommendations and initiatives have been formulated on the basis of a number of surveys of opportunities and obstacles to outbound mobility, which are summarized in Part II of the strategy. The recommendations and initiatives are reviewed under the headlines:

  • Better framework
  • Better motivated students
  • Internationalised institutions
  • A supportive labour market.

3 The 20% is an overall goal for the European space of higher education. The task of developing an indicator for the goal is a part of the work plan of the Bologna Process in the years to come.

4 Mobility statistics 2007/2008: Danish Agency of International Education. The percentage statistics of graduates show how many students have been in an exchange programme relative to the number of graduates in 2007/2008. The count deals with two different groups of students and can therefore only give a general idea of the percentage of a year group that go out in an exchange programme. The base of the calculations is the number of graduates. Therefore, the students who go abroad without completing their study and students who go abroad several times will cause the share shown to be overestimated in relation to the actual share of a year group that goes abroad. The term ‘study period’ covers both credit-giving study periods and internships

.

2.1. Better frameworks

1. Common key indicators of internationalisation in the institutions’ development contract shall be established
From 2008/2009 on, development contracts have been implemented for academies of professional higher education and university colleges. For the academies of professional higher education, a so-called ‘common key indicator’ for internationalisation has been defined; this means that all profession academies shall establish benchmarks for this indicator regarding the institution’s outbound mobility and number of collaboration agreements. So far, no common key indicators of internationalisation have been developed for university colleges.

The purpose of common key indicators is to facilitate aggregation of the results in selected areas of the core services of a sector. Moreover, a common key indicator is a signal that we are dealing with a high priority effort covering the entire education sector. Thus, establishing common key indicators of internationalisation ensures automatically management focus on the area because the institution has to establish concrete targets and subsequently report on these. Common key indicators for internationalisation do not preclude that an individual institution may establish further goals for internationalisation, for instance on the basis of the institution’s own strategy for internationalisation.

On this background, the Ministry of Education will work towards

  • establishing common key indicators for internationalisation focusing on outbound mobility in the development contracts of the academies of professional higher education and university colleges,
  • developing new common key indicators targeting for example outbound mobility, collaboration agreements (qualitative goals), international development activities, establishing parallel study programmes, and international competence development for the teachers.

2. The academies of professional higher education and the university colleges shall be attractive partners for foreign institutions Academies of professional higher education and university colleges in Denmark differ from many of their potential collaboration partners abroad by not having the right to perform research or to offer master’s programmes. The institutions themselves mention this obstacle as being key for the opportunity to enter more, binding collaboration agreements with attractive foreign institutions because the Danish institutions have to put great effort into documenting their level and because the foreign institutions also would like to have the option of cooperating at the master’s degree level.

Through the Act on academies of professional higher education and university colleges, the academies of professional higher education obtained the possibility to be accredited to offer professional bachelor and diploma degree programmes; this has been significant for the recognition of the institutions abroad and has thus facilitated the conclusion of binding and strategic collaboration agreements with attractive foreign institutions.

On this background, the Ministry of Education will work towards ▷ establishing a development based professional master’s degree education programme 5.

3. It shall be explored if the financial frames for outbound mobility may be improved In 2004, the financial framework for internationalisation efforts of the institutions
were improved when an internationalisation grant was introduced to cover costs in connection with sending and receiving exchange students and free movers 6.

Moreover, the existing financial frames combined imply that the institutions generally have a financial incentive to work on attracting more foreign students to the institution because foreign students trigger either a grant (EU/EEC students) or a study fee (non-EU/EEC students). Sending more Danish students abroad will, on the other hand, result in the institution’s losing revenue/grants for the Danish students while they are abroad.

On this background, the Ministry of Education will examine

  • ▷ if the current grant rules may be adjusted in order to mitigate any grant-related obstacles to increasing studies abroad for academy profession and professional bachelor students.

4. Internationalisation shall be integrated to a higher degree in the research and development projects of the institutions
The Ministry of Education administrates a minor yearly allocation of funds for research and development projects directed towards academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes.

Increased focus on internationalisation may be supported by a requirement that all applications for these funds account for any international elements or dimensions in the project. An international dimension should not be a precondition for receiving a grant; nonetheless, the requirement is introduced to focus on potential international aspects.

On this background, the Ministry of Education will require

  • that all applications for grants of research and development funds for projects for academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes relate to any international elements and dimensions of the project, especially how it affects the mobility of the study programmes.

5 It emerges from the notes to the Act on academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes that “it shall be considered if the opportunity should be given to introduce professional master’s programmes within the adult education system”.

6 A free mover is a guest student who is not attached to an established exchange agreement.

2.2. Better motivated students

5. The benefits of studies abroad shall be branded more vigorously
The benefits of a stay abroad are complex and difficult to quantify as compared to more traditional and personal skills. On top of the academic gain, students who have studied abroad agree that they have achieved strong intercultural, personal and social competences, and in general they rate the stay abroad as positive.

To motivate more students to study abroad, it is essential that the benefits to the individual student be made visible and tangible. An obvious possibility is to let the students themselves contribute to expressing the benefits of their stay abroad. This will communicate the benefits of a stay abroad to students who are considering going abroad.

On this background, the Ministry of Education will ▷ set up a work group with a view to develop an international certificate of competence.

Furthermore, it is recommended

  • that the institutions carry out role model campaigns in which students who have studied abroad are used to communicate the most typical international competences that are the result of a stay abroad. The campaign may be differentiated according to the various conditions that apply to studies directed towards the public, respectively the private sector,
  • that the institutions work with storytelling as a tool to ensure better communication of the good stories about the benefits of studies abroad – in other words, that good cases, stories, and best practices are gathered and communicated.
An international certificate of competence

Among other things, the certificate of competence shall be visible proof of the skills the student has acquired through a stay abroad. Moreover, the certificate of competence may be a supplement to the diploma so that it works as a branding of international competences vis-à-vis the employers.

For instance, a certificate of competence may list the international activities and study periods abroad that the student has completed as a part of the education including the student’s own evaluation of such activities and stays abroad.

The certificate of competence will serve as visible proof of studies abroad, to the student as well as to teachers and employers.

The certificate of competence is prepared by the student and checked for quality by the Danish educational institution.

6. The effort to step up the number of students who go abroad shall be targeted at the groups of students that have the largest potential for going abroad
The students who choose not to study abroad may be divided into four distinct groups:

  • Students who have begun planning a stay abroad but for various reasons do not go.
  • Students who do not find a stay abroad relevant because their study is directed towards the Danish labour market.
  • Students who have never considered a stay abroad because they are not or have not been made aware of the option.
  • Students who do not have the possibility to study abroad because of obligations in Denmark (family, fiancé(e), friends, or other personal relations).

On this basis, it is believed that there is a great potential in targeting the effort to bring more students to study abroad towards students who have begun planning a stay abroad and students who never considered a stay abroad. In addition to this, the effort in relation to the different types of students should be differentiated.

Regarding the students who have begun planning a stay abroad, the most important reasons for not going through with the stay abroad are:

  • it is difficult to arrange,
  • the student did not have the money/ economy to do it,
  • lack of guidance and information from the educational institution.

In this connection it is also significant that approximately one third of the students who have not studied abroad regret that they did not go.

On this background it is recommended

  • that the institutions during the course of study continuously alternate the focus of the information effort between the different groups of students so that all students are informed about opportunities to study abroad that match their preferences,
  • that the institutions for each line of study describe various international profiles of the study that appeal to different target groups, for example different study tracks depending on whether the student wants an education that is a little, a lot, or entirely international,that the institutions give the students the option to go abroad for shorter periods on summer schools. This will give an international element to the education of the students who do not have the possibility to study abroad for longer periods,
  • that the institutions establish strong and integrated international study environments so that the students who do not have the opportunity to study abroad get in contact with international students during their education, and that the students who wish to get out may be more motivated to do so through meeting foreign students. Strong and integrated international study environments where the foreign students mix with Danish students will also strengthen the linguistic skills of the Danish students and thus their opportunity and mind to travel abroad.
Increased attention on the opportunities to study abroad

At a university college, a method is employed that raises the students’ awareness of international opportunities already from the start of the study and at the same time gives the institution information about which ones of the various offers the students find interesting. When the first-year students are introduced to Blackboard and e-learning, they fill out a questionnaire in connection with the course where they may check which international activities they are interested in participating in. The advantage is that all students answer, and the institutions get an overview of which offers are particularly in demand.

7. Models and opportunities for grants for internships abroad shall be published in an internship manual
An internship is a compulsory part of all academy profession and professional bachelor programmes and thus an obvious opportunity to complete a stay abroad.

Some of the most frequent obstacles to a stay abroad mentioned by the students are money/economy, lack of guidance, and that stays abroad are difficult to arrange.

On this background, the Ministry of Education will

  • prepare an internship manual that informs, guides, and explain models and opportunities for grants for internships abroad.

8. Positive experiences of students regarding studies abroad shall be used more methodically to motivate other students to go abroad The students who have been abroad are generally very satisfied with the stay. Moreover, the students who have sought counselling about studies abroad are most satisfied with the counselling from fellow students (72%).

On this background it is recommended

  • that students who have been abroad be attached for a period to the international office as councellors for other students,
  • that, as far as possible, reports from other students who have stayed abroad should be made available on the Internet as inspiration and guidance for other students,
  • that the knowledge and competence that students have gained abroad be used and integrated in the teaching.

9. Information and counselling of students shall be systematised and optimised
Less than half (43%) of the students who have not studied abroad during the course of their education answer that they have been informed of the opportunities to take a credit-giving study course or internship abroad. On the other hand, more students state that they have been informed of the opportunity for an internship (66%). Most of them were informed through information meetings or other students. Less than one third of the teachers inform students of stays abroad as a part of the study.

On this background it is recommended

  • that it be required that the study programme descriptions in the Education Guide (www.ug.dk) include information about the opportunities to study or go on internship abroad as a part of the education,
  • that the students systematically and continuously be informed of the opportunities to study abroad, including that the point in time where this information is given be adapted to the time when the students have the possibility to go abroad; moreover that the institutions hold a yearly international day where, for instance with the help of international students, special focus is put on the opportunities for going abroad to study, on international competences, international elements in the study programmes, etc.,
  • that the teachers be more aware of their mission to inform about studies abroad and that they integrate it in their teaching.

10. The study abroad grant scheme shall be made visible and marketed to academy profession and professional bachelor students
In 2008, a study abroad grant scheme was established to enable Danish students to receive a study abroad grant to cover partially or in full the tuition for a study period or for an entire graduate degree abroad.

Study abroad grant statistics for the first year show that the scheme has not completely caught on among academy profession and professional bachelor students. During the first year of the scheme, 629 students have studied abroad; of these, only 7 were academy profession students and 86 university college students, whereas 252 were university bachelor students and 284 were postgraduate students.

On this background, the Ministry of Education will

  • develop better information material about the study abroad grant scheme to academy profession and professional bachelor students,
  • implement an information campaign about the study abroad grant scheme targeted on academy profession and professional bachelor students.

11. Additional opportunities for grants to student exchange
The analyses show that the economy of the individual student is the second most frequent reason given not to study abroad. For this reason, exchange programmes that give financial grants to stays abroad on an exchange basis are popular. For instance, the EU Erasmus Programme accounts for a relatively large share of the total exchange mobility; approximately 38% of all outbound Danish exchange students and approximately 73% of the inbound international exchange students are exchanged under this programme.

During the period 2006-2008, the Ministry of Education maintained a programme to support the development of an institutional framework to strengthen the collaboration between university colleges in Denmark and in the Australian state, Victoria. The experience from this programme shows that with relatively few means, it is possible to exchange many students and build lasting relations and networks with strong institutions in an attractive country.

There is a great interest among the students to go to North America on an exchange programme, and there is a great potential for Danish institutions to enter strong development collaboration with North American institutions. A bilateral exchange programme aimed at North America will therefore contribute to making more Danish students study abroad because such a programme will lessen the economical and administrative obstacles to the stay abroad.

On this background, the Ministry of Education will work for

  • establishing a Denmark-USA/Canada programme to support exchange of students and teachers as well as joint development projects.

2.3. Internationalised institutions

12. Teachers shall be aware of their key role and take responsibility for the effort to make more students study abroad
The teachers are the students’ direct contact to their education, and the teachers, therefore, are instrumental to how the students perceive the value and benefits of a stay abroad.

A large part of the teachers do not inform of studies abroad in the course of teaching (almost one third). Several of them explain that they think it is the duty of the international office to inform of studies abroad, or that they were not aware that it might be relevant to inform about this.

Yet more striking, approximately one fourth of the teachers wouldn’t recommend the students to take a study period or internship abroad. The teachers express that they do not think that a stay abroad is a good idea because, in their opinion, the benefits are not sufficient compared to the Danish study program, or that they will only recommend a stay abroad to the best students.

When asked about obstacles to studies abroad, most of the teachers at the educational institutions refer to limited international experience.

On this background it is recommended

  • that one or more persons at each institution be made responsible for international coordination across each curriculum, ▷ that the teachers’ own international competences, linguistic skills, experiences, and networks be strengthened (see text box), ▷ that the teachers to a fuller extent use and integrate knowledge and experience from students who have studied abroad in their teaching.

Moreover, the Ministry of Education will work for

  • a requirement being posed that an international perspective is applied when hiring lecturers and when assessing associate professorship candidates, for instance that the applicants have participated in an international activity.
Strengthening the teachers’ international competences, linguistic skills, experience, and networks

Here are some examples:

  • Every teacher is required to establish and maintain collaboration with an international colleague.
  • The teachers’ international involvement is discussed as an item in the yearly employee development dialogue (MUS).
  • Greater focus on international experience when recruiting teachers.
  • Competence development of teachers focuses on international networks, exchange, and development projects.

13. Academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes shall facilitate study periods and internships abroad
Today, it is a requirement that the educational institutions plan the academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes so that there is a delimited course of study that in contents and duration as estimated by the institution may be substituted by a relevant study period and/or internship abroad. This implies that a part of the study program should be planned in such a way that a student who wishes to complete the education by including a stay abroad will be able to continue the course of study when returning at the same stage as the other students of the same year group. For some study programmes, this may require added modularisation of the education because it has the consequence that a study programme cannot be arranged as a progression or share courses between several academic fields. In order for a study program to be accredited, an institution must have accounted for and documented that the students will have the opportunity to complete one or more parts of the study abroad within the standard duration of the study.

Since it is typically easier to substitute an internship by a stay abroad, many institutions will choose to meet the planning requirement by accounting for how internships may be completed abroad. However, it is important that it also be possible to complete a study period abroad.

On this background, the Ministry of Education will work for

  • a more stringent formulation of the planning requirement in connection with accreditation of the study programmes that will ensure that more students get the opportunity to spend time abroad in internships and for studies.

Furthermore, it is recommended

  • that the institutions, when planning the study programmes, allow for the option of completing study periods as well as internships abroad, ▷ that students in teacher education programmes with a foreign language as main subject have the opportunity to study abroad so that a student, for instance, with German as main subject may study parts of the subject in Germany.

14. More parallel and joint study programmes shall be developed and established
The opportunity to arrange these education programmes as parallel and joint courses of study was established by the Act on academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes.

The new opportunities for internationalisation have resulted in more institutions working actively today to establish parallel study programmes, and some institutions are considering the possibility of developing joint programmes. The work has been actively supported by development and implementation funds, and looking at the number of applications in 2008 and 2009, a markedly increased interest in developing and implementing parallel and joint courses of study has been noticed.

Parallel and joint study programmes are innately international studies. The studies contain either an optional or a compulsory study period abroad, planned and credit-rated in advance. This way in particular, the establishment of more parallel study programmes in the existing education programmes lead to far more students getting the opportunity to go abroad in a way that is flexible and unbureaucratic because it has been credit-rated in advance.

On this background, the Ministry of Education will

  • gather and make visible experience and knowledge from the projects that have been initiated and implemented with grants from the globalisation funds so that the institutions may learn from each other’s experience,
  • clarify the framework for parallel and joint courses of study so that the institutions have an unambiguous basis for establishing these types of education programmes.

15. Management rooted internationalisation strategies shall be transformed into concrete plans of action
Almost all institutions report they have an internationalisation strategy. The question is to what extent these strategies are rooted centrally in the management and manifested by concrete plans of action for the specific academic fields or courses of study.

Surveys show that the single most significant factor in supporting internationalisation in an institution is that the management is committed and actively supports the activities. Moreover, surveys show that a successful implementation of international initiatives in particular requires that the body of teachers is involved in the undertakings because they are the ones who first and foremost shall promote the international dimension to the students.

On this background it is recommended

  • that all institutions have a central and management rooted internationalisation strategy,
  • that the strategy take a conscious starting point in various approaches to and models for organising the internationalisation effort of the institution,
  • that the internationalisation strategy be linked to the goals of the development contract of the institution,
  • that the strategy be transformed into concrete plans of action for the specific academic fields and/or courses of study including specifying the role of the teachers in realising the goals.

16. Assessment of pre-approved and final credits shall be based on an overall assessment of the learning benefits The possibilities available to students to go abroad as a part of their education without going beyond the standard duration of the study is based, for one thing, on pre-approval of credits for the internship and/or study elements included in the study abroad and, for the other, that the institutions subsequently award full credit for the study abroad.

The assessment of pre-approved credits and final credits may turn into a bureaucratic process where, in some cases, a narrow one-by-one assessment of courses and contents of modules is made. In order to create flexibility and motivation for studies abroad, it is crucial that the credit assessments be based on an overall evaluation of whether or not the learning benefits have been achieved and not on whether the specific contents, method, and theory of the modules are equivalent.

Another problem may be that students who have been given pre-approval of a number of specific modules at a foreign institution may get caught in the situation that the foreign institution after all does not set up one or more of these modules. The consequence may be that a student subsequently does not receive full credit for the study abroad and thereby is delayed in the study.

On this background it is recommended

  • that assessment of pre-approved and final credits is based on an overall evaluation of whether the learning benefits match the Danish part of the education for which the credits are requested,
  • that the institutions ensure that they live up to their duty to counsel the students about the possibility of appealing a credit decision to the Board of Qualification,
  • that institutions establish procedures for following up on students abroad so that alternatives may be found early in case the foundation of the credit pre-approval changes.

2.4. A supportive labour market

17. International competences shall be more strongly branded vis-à-vis the employers
The enterprises understand the concept of international competences as relating to specific skills, such as oral language skills, and to less tangible and more intercultural competences such as acceptance of cultural diversity, ability to work together etc. Conversely, the enterprises perceive to a lesser degree personal and social competences as international competences – precisely the competences that are put highest on the list when the enterprises are asked to name the competences that are most important when hiring new employees.

This is odd considering that the enterprises generally agree that young people become more mature after a stay abroad and express, for example, that an internship abroad shows maturity, personal drive, self-reliance, and ability to stand on their own feet and manage for themselves.

Thus, the employers do not immediately make the connection between international competences and the personal and social competences in demand, and this may influence their appreciation of international competences and studies abroad when recruiting. It is an important factor for the motivation of the students to go abroad that the employers will assess it positively when hiring.

On this background, the Ministry of Education will

  • implement an information project aimed at the employers in the public as well as in the private sector that will brand international competences of academy profession and professional bachelor graduates with special focus on intercultural, personal, and social competences.
  • set up a work group with a view to developing an international certificate of competence (cf. the recommendation on page 13).

18. Danish enterprises should make more internships available to international students so that Danish educational institutions can more easily establish mutual agreements about exchange of internships with international educational institutions
The interest in participating actively in arranging internships abroad for Danish students is limited (16% of the private enterprises and 25% of the public enterprises). In practise, most enterprises will probably refer students and educational institutions directly to their daughter companies or collaborators abroad.

However, Danish enterprises may play an important role in the work of procuring more internships abroad for Danish students. Frequently, the work to procure internships abroad is facilitated by a Danish educational institution entering an agreement with a foreign educational institution about exchange of internships. If the foreign educational institution has to find and make available internships for Danish students, it is conversely required that the Danish institution come up with Danish internships for foreign students.

It may, however, be difficult for Danish educational institutions to procure internships for foreign students. A closer collaboration with the enterprises about taking advantage of the resource in a foreign internship student will simultaneously give the educational institutions an opportunity for sending more Danish students on internships abroad. Likewise, the educational institutions may contact international enterprises in Denmark with a view to inquiring about the opportunity for Danish students to obtain internships in the foreign branches of these enterprises.

On this background it is recommended

  • that the educational institutions enter a closer cooperation with Danish enterprises with a view to establishing mutual agreements about exchange of internships to ensure that more Danish students may go on internship abroad (see the text box).
  • that the educational institutions focus on Danish enterprises abroad, which may work, for example, as goodwill ambassadors for Danish education programmes and Danish students.
More mutual internship agreements

- more international students in internship in Danish enterprises will give more Danish students an opportunity for going on internship abroad.

In 2009, FBE (Forum for Business Education) has, in cooperation with people from academy profession and professional bachelor institutions, prepared the pamphlet PIST – praktikforløb for internationale studerende (internships for international students) with a grant from the research and development fund of the Ministry of Education.

The pamphlet PIST addresses private and public enterprises that consider offering internships to international students from academy profession and professional bachelor institutions. The pamphlet describes various models for internships and the role an internship host plays.

The educational institutions may use the pamphlet in their effort to enter closer cooperation with public and private enterprises about making internships available for international students and this way indirectly secure more internships for Danish students abroad.

2.1. Better frameworks

1. Common key indicators of internationalisation in the institutions’ development contract shall be established
From 2008/2009 on, development contracts have been implemented for academies of professional higher education and university colleges. For the academies of professional higher education, a so-called ‘common key indicator’ for internationalisation has been defined; this means that all profession academies shall establish benchmarks for this indicator regarding the institution’s outbound mobility and number of collaboration agreements. So far, no common key indicators of internationalisation have been developed for university colleges.

The purpose of common key indicators is to facilitate aggregation of the results in selected areas of the core services of a sector. Moreover, a common key indicator is a signal that we are dealing with a high priority effort covering the entire education sector. Thus, establishing common key indicators of internationalisation ensures automatically management focus on the area because the institution has to establish concrete targets and subsequently report on these. Common key indicators for internationalisation do not preclude that an individual institution may establish further goals for internationalisation, for instance on the basis of the institution’s own strategy for internationalisation.

On this background, the Ministry of Education will work towards

  • establishing common key indicators for internationalisation focusing on outbound mobility in the development contracts of the academies of professional higher education and university colleges,
  • developing new common key indicators targeting for example outbound mobility, collaboration agreements (qualitative goals), international development activities, establishing parallel study programmes, and international competence development for the teachers.

2. The academies of professional higher education and the university colleges shall be attractive partners for foreign institutions Academies of professional higher education and university colleges in Denmark differ from many of their potential collaboration partners abroad by not having the right to perform research or to offer master’s programmes. The institutions themselves mention this obstacle as being key for the opportunity to enter more, binding collaboration agreements with attractive foreign institutions because the Danish institutions have to put great effort into documenting their level and because the foreign institutions also would like to have the option of cooperating at the master’s degree level.

Through the Act on academies of professional higher education and university colleges, the academies of professional higher education obtained the possibility to be accredited to offer professional bachelor and diploma degree programmes; this has been significant for the recognition of the institutions abroad and has thus facilitated the conclusion of binding and strategic collaboration agreements with attractive foreign institutions.

On this background, the Ministry of Education will work towards ▷ establishing a development based professional master’s degree education programme 5.

3. It shall be explored if the financial frames for outbound mobility may be improved In 2004, the financial framework for internationalisation efforts of the institutions
were improved when an internationalisation grant was introduced to cover costs in connection with sending and receiving exchange students and free movers 6.

Moreover, the existing financial frames combined imply that the institutions generally have a financial incentive to work on attracting more foreign students to the institution because foreign students trigger either a grant (EU/EEC students) or a study fee (non-EU/EEC students). Sending more Danish students abroad will, on the other hand, result in the institution’s losing revenue/grants for the Danish students while they are abroad.

On this background, the Ministry of Education will examine

  • ▷ if the current grant rules may be adjusted in order to mitigate any grant-related obstacles to increasing studies abroad for academy profession and professional bachelor students.

4. Internationalisation shall be integrated to a higher degree in the research and development projects of the institutions
The Ministry of Education administrates a minor yearly allocation of funds for research and development projects directed towards academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes.

Increased focus on internationalisation may be supported by a requirement that all applications for these funds account for any international elements or dimensions in the project. An international dimension should not be a precondition for receiving a grant; nonetheless, the requirement is introduced to focus on potential international aspects.

On this background, the Ministry of Education will require

  • that all applications for grants of research and development funds for projects for academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes relate to any international elements and dimensions of the project, especially how it affects the mobility of the study programmes.

5 It emerges from the notes to the Act on academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes that “it shall be considered if the opportunity should be given to introduce professional master’s programmes within the adult education system”.

6 A free mover is a guest student who is not attached to an established exchange agreement.

2.2. Better motivated students

5. The benefits of studies abroad shall be branded more vigorously
The benefits of a stay abroad are complex and difficult to quantify as compared to more traditional and personal skills. On top of the academic gain, students who have studied abroad agree that they have achieved strong intercultural, personal and social competences, and in general they rate the stay abroad as positive.

To motivate more students to study abroad, it is essential that the benefits to the individual student be made visible and tangible. An obvious possibility is to let the students themselves contribute to expressing the benefits of their stay abroad. This will communicate the benefits of a stay abroad to students who are considering going abroad.

On this background, the Ministry of Education will ▷ set up a work group with a view to develop an international certificate of competence.

Furthermore, it is recommended

  • that the institutions carry out role model campaigns in which students who have studied abroad are used to communicate the most typical international competences that are the result of a stay abroad. The campaign may be differentiated according to the various conditions that apply to studies directed towards the public, respectively the private sector,
  • that the institutions work with storytelling as a tool to ensure better communication of the good stories about the benefits of studies abroad – in other words, that good cases, stories, and best practices are gathered and communicated.
An international certificate of competence

Among other things, the certificate of competence shall be visible proof of the skills the student has acquired through a stay abroad. Moreover, the certificate of competence may be a supplement to the diploma so that it works as a branding of international competences vis-à-vis the employers.

For instance, a certificate of competence may list the international activities and study periods abroad that the student has completed as a part of the education including the student’s own evaluation of such activities and stays abroad.

The certificate of competence will serve as visible proof of studies abroad, to the student as well as to teachers and employers.

The certificate of competence is prepared by the student and checked for quality by the Danish educational institution.

6. The effort to step up the number of students who go abroad shall be targeted at the groups of students that have the largest potential for going abroad
The students who choose not to study abroad may be divided into four distinct groups:

  • Students who have begun planning a stay abroad but for various reasons do not go.
  • Students who do not find a stay abroad relevant because their study is directed towards the Danish labour market.
  • Students who have never considered a stay abroad because they are not or have not been made aware of the option.
  • Students who do not have the possibility to study abroad because of obligations in Denmark (family, fiancé(e), friends, or other personal relations).

On this basis, it is believed that there is a great potential in targeting the effort to bring more students to study abroad towards students who have begun planning a stay abroad and students who never considered a stay abroad. In addition to this, the effort in relation to the different types of students should be differentiated.

Regarding the students who have begun planning a stay abroad, the most important reasons for not going through with the stay abroad are:

  • it is difficult to arrange,
  • the student did not have the money/ economy to do it,
  • lack of guidance and information from the educational institution.

In this connection it is also significant that approximately one third of the students who have not studied abroad regret that they did not go.

On this background it is recommended

  • that the institutions during the course of study continuously alternate the focus of the information effort between the different groups of students so that all students are informed about opportunities to study abroad that match their preferences,
  • that the institutions for each line of study describe various international profiles of the study that appeal to different target groups, for example different study tracks depending on whether the student wants an education that is a little, a lot, or entirely international,that the institutions give the students the option to go abroad for shorter periods on summer schools. This will give an international element to the education of the students who do not have the possibility to study abroad for longer periods,
  • that the institutions establish strong and integrated international study environments so that the students who do not have the opportunity to study abroad get in contact with international students during their education, and that the students who wish to get out may be more motivated to do so through meeting foreign students. Strong and integrated international study environments where the foreign students mix with Danish students will also strengthen the linguistic skills of the Danish students and thus their opportunity and mind to travel abroad.
Increased attention on the opportunities to study abroad

At a university college, a method is employed that raises the students’ awareness of international opportunities already from the start of the study and at the same time gives the institution information about which ones of the various offers the students find interesting. When the first-year students are introduced to Blackboard and e-learning, they fill out a questionnaire in connection with the course where they may check which international activities they are interested in participating in. The advantage is that all students answer, and the institutions get an overview of which offers are particularly in demand.

7. Models and opportunities for grants for internships abroad shall be published in an internship manual
An internship is a compulsory part of all academy profession and professional bachelor programmes and thus an obvious opportunity to complete a stay abroad.

Some of the most frequent obstacles to a stay abroad mentioned by the students are money/economy, lack of guidance, and that stays abroad are difficult to arrange.

On this background, the Ministry of Education will

  • prepare an internship manual that informs, guides, and explain models and opportunities for grants for internships abroad.

8. Positive experiences of students regarding studies abroad shall be used more methodically to motivate other students to go abroad The students who have been abroad are generally very satisfied with the stay. Moreover, the students who have sought counselling about studies abroad are most satisfied with the counselling from fellow students (72%).

On this background it is recommended

  • that students who have been abroad be attached for a period to the international office as councellors for other students,
  • that, as far as possible, reports from other students who have stayed abroad should be made available on the Internet as inspiration and guidance for other students,
  • that the knowledge and competence that students have gained abroad be used and integrated in the teaching.

9. Information and counselling of students shall be systematised and optimised
Less than half (43%) of the students who have not studied abroad during the course of their education answer that they have been informed of the opportunities to take a credit-giving study course or internship abroad. On the other hand, more students state that they have been informed of the opportunity for an internship (66%). Most of them were informed through information meetings or other students. Less than one third of the teachers inform students of stays abroad as a part of the study.

On this background it is recommended

  • that it be required that the study programme descriptions in the Education Guide (www.ug.dk) include information about the opportunities to study or go on internship abroad as a part of the education,
  • that the students systematically and continuously be informed of the opportunities to study abroad, including that the point in time where this information is given be adapted to the time when the students have the possibility to go abroad; moreover that the institutions hold a yearly international day where, for instance with the help of international students, special focus is put on the opportunities for going abroad to study, on international competences, international elements in the study programmes, etc.,
  • that the teachers be more aware of their mission to inform about studies abroad and that they integrate it in their teaching.

10. The study abroad grant scheme shall be made visible and marketed to academy profession and professional bachelor students
In 2008, a study abroad grant scheme was established to enable Danish students to receive a study abroad grant to cover partially or in full the tuition for a study period or for an entire graduate degree abroad.

Study abroad grant statistics for the first year show that the scheme has not completely caught on among academy profession and professional bachelor students. During the first year of the scheme, 629 students have studied abroad; of these, only 7 were academy profession students and 86 university college students, whereas 252 were university bachelor students and 284 were postgraduate students.

On this background, the Ministry of Education will

  • develop better information material about the study abroad grant scheme to academy profession and professional bachelor students,
  • implement an information campaign about the study abroad grant scheme targeted on academy profession and professional bachelor students.

11. Additional opportunities for grants to student exchange
The analyses show that the economy of the individual student is the second most frequent reason given not to study abroad. For this reason, exchange programmes that give financial grants to stays abroad on an exchange basis are popular. For instance, the EU Erasmus Programme accounts for a relatively large share of the total exchange mobility; approximately 38% of all outbound Danish exchange students and approximately 73% of the inbound international exchange students are exchanged under this programme.

During the period 2006-2008, the Ministry of Education maintained a programme to support the development of an institutional framework to strengthen the collaboration between university colleges in Denmark and in the Australian state, Victoria. The experience from this programme shows that with relatively few means, it is possible to exchange many students and build lasting relations and networks with strong institutions in an attractive country.

There is a great interest among the students to go to North America on an exchange programme, and there is a great potential for Danish institutions to enter strong development collaboration with North American institutions. A bilateral exchange programme aimed at North America will therefore contribute to making more Danish students study abroad because such a programme will lessen the economical and administrative obstacles to the stay abroad.

On this background, the Ministry of Education will work for

  • establishing a Denmark-USA/Canada programme to support exchange of students and teachers as well as joint development projects.

2.3. Internationalised institutions

12. Teachers shall be aware of their key role and take responsibility for the effort to make more students study abroad
The teachers are the students’ direct contact to their education, and the teachers, therefore, are instrumental to how the students perceive the value and benefits of a stay abroad.

A large part of the teachers do not inform of studies abroad in the course of teaching (almost one third). Several of them explain that they think it is the duty of the international office to inform of studies abroad, or that they were not aware that it might be relevant to inform about this.

Yet more striking, approximately one fourth of the teachers wouldn’t recommend the students to take a study period or internship abroad. The teachers express that they do not think that a stay abroad is a good idea because, in their opinion, the benefits are not sufficient compared to the Danish study program, or that they will only recommend a stay abroad to the best students.

When asked about obstacles to studies abroad, most of the teachers at the educational institutions refer to limited international experience.

On this background it is recommended

  • that one or more persons at each institution be made responsible for international coordination across each curriculum, ▷ that the teachers’ own international competences, linguistic skills, experiences, and networks be strengthened (see text box), ▷ that the teachers to a fuller extent use and integrate knowledge and experience from students who have studied abroad in their teaching.

Moreover, the Ministry of Education will work for

  • a requirement being posed that an international perspective is applied when hiring lecturers and when assessing associate professorship candidates, for instance that the applicants have participated in an international activity.
Strengthening the teachers’ international competences, linguistic skills, experience, and networks

Here are some examples:

  • Every teacher is required to establish and maintain collaboration with an international colleague.
  • The teachers’ international involvement is discussed as an item in the yearly employee development dialogue (MUS).
  • Greater focus on international experience when recruiting teachers.
  • Competence development of teachers focuses on international networks, exchange, and development projects.

13. Academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes shall facilitate study periods and internships abroad
Today, it is a requirement that the educational institutions plan the academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes so that there is a delimited course of study that in contents and duration as estimated by the institution may be substituted by a relevant study period and/or internship abroad. This implies that a part of the study program should be planned in such a way that a student who wishes to complete the education by including a stay abroad will be able to continue the course of study when returning at the same stage as the other students of the same year group. For some study programmes, this may require added modularisation of the education because it has the consequence that a study programme cannot be arranged as a progression or share courses between several academic fields. In order for a study program to be accredited, an institution must have accounted for and documented that the students will have the opportunity to complete one or more parts of the study abroad within the standard duration of the study.

Since it is typically easier to substitute an internship by a stay abroad, many institutions will choose to meet the planning requirement by accounting for how internships may be completed abroad. However, it is important that it also be possible to complete a study period abroad.

On this background, the Ministry of Education will work for

  • a more stringent formulation of the planning requirement in connection with accreditation of the study programmes that will ensure that more students get the opportunity to spend time abroad in internships and for studies.

Furthermore, it is recommended

  • that the institutions, when planning the study programmes, allow for the option of completing study periods as well as internships abroad, ▷ that students in teacher education programmes with a foreign language as main subject have the opportunity to study abroad so that a student, for instance, with German as main subject may study parts of the subject in Germany.

14. More parallel and joint study programmes shall be developed and established
The opportunity to arrange these education programmes as parallel and joint courses of study was established by the Act on academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes.

The new opportunities for internationalisation have resulted in more institutions working actively today to establish parallel study programmes, and some institutions are considering the possibility of developing joint programmes. The work has been actively supported by development and implementation funds, and looking at the number of applications in 2008 and 2009, a markedly increased interest in developing and implementing parallel and joint courses of study has been noticed.

Parallel and joint study programmes are innately international studies. The studies contain either an optional or a compulsory study period abroad, planned and credit-rated in advance. This way in particular, the establishment of more parallel study programmes in the existing education programmes lead to far more students getting the opportunity to go abroad in a way that is flexible and unbureaucratic because it has been credit-rated in advance.

On this background, the Ministry of Education will

  • gather and make visible experience and knowledge from the projects that have been initiated and implemented with grants from the globalisation funds so that the institutions may learn from each other’s experience,
  • clarify the framework for parallel and joint courses of study so that the institutions have an unambiguous basis for establishing these types of education programmes.

15. Management rooted internationalisation strategies shall be transformed into concrete plans of action
Almost all institutions report they have an internationalisation strategy. The question is to what extent these strategies are rooted centrally in the management and manifested by concrete plans of action for the specific academic fields or courses of study.

Surveys show that the single most significant factor in supporting internationalisation in an institution is that the management is committed and actively supports the activities. Moreover, surveys show that a successful implementation of international initiatives in particular requires that the body of teachers is involved in the undertakings because they are the ones who first and foremost shall promote the international dimension to the students.

On this background it is recommended

  • that all institutions have a central and management rooted internationalisation strategy,
  • that the strategy take a conscious starting point in various approaches to and models for organising the internationalisation effort of the institution,
  • that the internationalisation strategy be linked to the goals of the development contract of the institution,
  • that the strategy be transformed into concrete plans of action for the specific academic fields and/or courses of study including specifying the role of the teachers in realising the goals.

16. Assessment of pre-approved and final credits shall be based on an overall assessment of the learning benefits The possibilities available to students to go abroad as a part of their education without going beyond the standard duration of the study is based, for one thing, on pre-approval of credits for the internship and/or study elements included in the study abroad and, for the other, that the institutions subsequently award full credit for the study abroad.

The assessment of pre-approved credits and final credits may turn into a bureaucratic process where, in some cases, a narrow one-by-one assessment of courses and contents of modules is made. In order to create flexibility and motivation for studies abroad, it is crucial that the credit assessments be based on an overall evaluation of whether or not the learning benefits have been achieved and not on whether the specific contents, method, and theory of the modules are equivalent.

Another problem may be that students who have been given pre-approval of a number of specific modules at a foreign institution may get caught in the situation that the foreign institution after all does not set up one or more of these modules. The consequence may be that a student subsequently does not receive full credit for the study abroad and thereby is delayed in the study.

On this background it is recommended

  • that assessment of pre-approved and final credits is based on an overall evaluation of whether the learning benefits match the Danish part of the education for which the credits are requested,
  • that the institutions ensure that they live up to their duty to counsel the students about the possibility of appealing a credit decision to the Board of Qualification,
  • that institutions establish procedures for following up on students abroad so that alternatives may be found early in case the foundation of the credit pre-approval changes.

2.4. A supportive labour market

17. International competences shall be more strongly branded vis-à-vis the employers
The enterprises understand the concept of international competences as relating to specific skills, such as oral language skills, and to less tangible and more intercultural competences such as acceptance of cultural diversity, ability to work together etc. Conversely, the enterprises perceive to a lesser degree personal and social competences as international competences – precisely the competences that are put highest on the list when the enterprises are asked to name the competences that are most important when hiring new employees.

This is odd considering that the enterprises generally agree that young people become more mature after a stay abroad and express, for example, that an internship abroad shows maturity, personal drive, self-reliance, and ability to stand on their own feet and manage for themselves.

Thus, the employers do not immediately make the connection between international competences and the personal and social competences in demand, and this may influence their appreciation of international competences and studies abroad when recruiting. It is an important factor for the motivation of the students to go abroad that the employers will assess it positively when hiring.

On this background, the Ministry of Education will

  • implement an information project aimed at the employers in the public as well as in the private sector that will brand international competences of academy profession and professional bachelor graduates with special focus on intercultural, personal, and social competences.
  • set up a work group with a view to developing an international certificate of competence (cf. the recommendation on page 13).

18. Danish enterprises should make more internships available to international students so that Danish educational institutions can more easily establish mutual agreements about exchange of internships with international educational institutions
The interest in participating actively in arranging internships abroad for Danish students is limited (16% of the private enterprises and 25% of the public enterprises). In practise, most enterprises will probably refer students and educational institutions directly to their daughter companies or collaborators abroad.

However, Danish enterprises may play an important role in the work of procuring more internships abroad for Danish students. Frequently, the work to procure internships abroad is facilitated by a Danish educational institution entering an agreement with a foreign educational institution about exchange of internships. If the foreign educational institution has to find and make available internships for Danish students, it is conversely required that the Danish institution come up with Danish internships for foreign students.

It may, however, be difficult for Danish educational institutions to procure internships for foreign students. A closer collaboration with the enterprises about taking advantage of the resource in a foreign internship student will simultaneously give the educational institutions an opportunity for sending more Danish students on internships abroad. Likewise, the educational institutions may contact international enterprises in Denmark with a view to inquiring about the opportunity for Danish students to obtain internships in the foreign branches of these enterprises.

On this background it is recommended

  • that the educational institutions enter a closer cooperation with Danish enterprises with a view to establishing mutual agreements about exchange of internships to ensure that more Danish students may go on internship abroad (see the text box).
  • that the educational institutions focus on Danish enterprises abroad, which may work, for example, as goodwill ambassadors for Danish education programmes and Danish students.
More mutual internship agreements

- more international students in internship in Danish enterprises will give more Danish students an opportunity for going on internship abroad.

In 2009, FBE (Forum for Business Education) has, in cooperation with people from academy profession and professional bachelor institutions, prepared the pamphlet PIST – praktikforløb for internationale studerende (internships for international students) with a grant from the research and development fund of the Ministry of Education.

The pamphlet PIST addresses private and public enterprises that consider offering internships to international students from academy profession and professional bachelor institutions. The pamphlet describes various models for internships and the role an internship host plays.

The educational institutions may use the pamphlet in their effort to enter closer cooperation with public and private enterprises about making internships available for international students and this way indirectly secure more internships for Danish students abroad.

Part II The Background

Studerende til forelæsning

3. Framework for mobility

Internationalisation of education is a topic that is continually prioritised higher as the internationalisation of world society and world economy increases. This leads to ever more binding frames and objectives for internationalisation, nationally as well as internationally.

3.1. International objectives for mobility

In international context, mobility has been on the agenda for many years as a key aspect of the internationalisation of higher education.

From the start, increased mobility has been one of the key objectives of the cooperation in the Bologna Process. The Bologna Process was initiated by the European ministers for education in 1999 with the goal to develop Europe into a common space for higher education where the students can move freely across the boundaries.

Already in the first declaration in 1999, it was a distinct objective to promote European mobility for students as well as for teachers, researchers, and administrative personnel by taking away obstacles to mobility.

Later on, it has also become a goal to promote the development of joint European courses of study and joint degrees, which will also contribute to further the mobility 7.

Quantitative objectives for mobility were established for the first time with the declaration from the latest Bologna Process ministerial meeting in Leuven and Louvain-la-Neuve in the spring of 2009. In 2020, at least 20% of the graduates within the European space of higher education shall have spent a study period or an internship abroad as a part of their education 8.

Also for the educational cooperation in EU, mobility has become an issue of ever increasing importance. In May of 2009, the ministers of education adopted a new strategy framework for European cooperation in education until 2020. With this strategy framework, the EU member states define common challenges and common goals for the education sphere in EU. The new strategy framework is an extension of the present framework that is in force for 2001-2010.

The strategy framework comprises four strategic goals one of which is ‘realisation of lifelong learning and mobility’. The realisation of the goals will be measured by common benchmarks. Some of these benchmarks have already been set whereas others are under development. Thus, with the new strategy framework, the first steps have been taken to develop a common European benchmark for mobility over the next couple of years beginning with focusing on physical mobility for higher education between countries.

Lately, the European Commission has adopted the Green Paper “Promoting the learning mobility of young people” in July of 2009. The purpose of the Green Paper is to open up the debate to stakeholders and the public about how to strengthen the opportunities for learning mobility of young people. The Commission regards learning mobility as a means that can contribute overall to building a knowledge intensive society, and that mobility therefore can contribute to strengthening Europe’s competitiveness and to realizing the Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs.

The purpose of the Green Paper is to

  1. promote organised learning mobility,
  2. promote learning mobility between the countries currently participating in the EU programmes, while at the same time seek to develop exchanges with the wider world,
  3. promote boundary-crossing mobility between like institutions (schools, universities, enterprises, etc.) as well as mobility between different sectors, for example from an educational institution to an enterprise,
  4. focus on physical mobility while also recognising the value of virtual mobility.

7 The meeting of ministers in Bergen, 2005.

8 The 20% is an overall goal for the European space of higher education. The task of developing an indicator for the goal is a part of the work plan of the Bologna Process in the years to come.

3.2. National frameworks for mobility

Closeup af hånd, der skriver med en pen
3.2. National frameworks for mobility

Nationally, internationalisation was put effectively on the agenda with the Government’s globalisation strategy of 2006, which has set the overall frames for the development of academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes, including new opportunities for internationalisation of the education programmes and goals for internationalisation in the development contracts of the educational institutions.

The globalisation strategy

In 2006, the Government presented a strategy for Denmark in the global economy (the globalisation strategy) 9 that contained 350 concrete initiatives involving among other things extensive reforms in the fields of education and research.

Increased internationalisation of education constituted a separate effort with focus on more young Danish people having the opportunity to study abroad, that Danish education programmes should be internationally attractive, and that more good students from abroad should have the opportunity to come to Denmark.

In the course of implementing the strategy, a number of centralised initiatives to strengthened internationalisation of higher education have been initiated; the first two of these are specifically aimed at the goal of increased outbound mobility, i.e. more Danish students shall complete a part of their education abroad:

  • Funds to establish and market parallel study programmes and joint study programmes.
  • Study abroad grant scheme.
  • More flexible grants to good students from abroad.
  • Marketing strategy.

9 Strategy for Denmark in the global economy – progress, innovation, and security. The Government 2006. www.globalisering.dk

Study abroad grant to spend a study period abroad

From 2008 onward, it became possible for Danish students to receive a study abroad grant to cover partially or in full the tuition for a study period or for an entire graduate degree abroad.

The purpose of the grant is to make more Danish students study abroad by subsidising all or parts of the tuition fees charged by foreign educational institutions. The existing exchange agreements are subject to a rule of equivalence that has as consequence that the number of outbound Danish students cannot exceed the number of inbound students received by the Danish institutions unless the students themselves find funding for tuition fees, if any, to the foreign educational institutions.

Study abroad grants awarded cover a maximum of two years of study corresponding to 120 ECTS points – however, for students in academies of professional higher education only one year of study corresponding to 60 ECTS points.

Grants are given to pay, partially or in full, the tuition fees charged by foreign educational institutions. However, the maximum grant is equivalent to the amount that a Danish educational institution would have received for carrying out the education in Denmark.

Study abroad grants may be given to partial study programmes or to complete postgraduate programmes.

Study period abroad

Study abroad grants may be given to study periods abroad that are a part of a Danish university bachelor or postgraduate degree, an academy profession education, a professional bachelor education, etc.

It is the Danish educational institution where the student is studying that determines if full credit pre-approval may be given in the Danish study programme and thereby approve a study abroad grant. Additionally, the student must meet a number of other requirements in order to receive a study abroad grant  for instance, be eligible for Danish educational support (SU), be admitted to a foreign fee-paying study programme, be required to pay tuition fee, etc.

Complete postgraduate degrees It is possible to obtain study abroad grants for full postgraduate degrees abroad provided the degree is included in one of four ‘positive lists’: The university list, the Ministry of Culture list, the Ministry of Education list, or the cooperation agreement list.

The university list consists of the 100 most reputable universities (THES top 100) augmented by the best universities in countries with otherwise highly reputable universities (THES top 400). The Ministry of Culture list consists of postgraduate programmes at internationally highly reputable institutions abroad that offer degrees that in Denmark fall under the field of responsibility of the Ministry of Culture. The Ministry of Education list is a supplement to the university list and the cooperation agreement list for professional bachelors. Finally, the cooperation agreement list contains the foreign education programmes that are included in a cooperation agreement entered with a Danish university. The four lists are revised annually.

It is also possible to obtain a study abroad grant for foreign postgraduate studies not on one of the four lists. In such case, a Danish university, university college, engineering college, or Danish School of Media and Journalism shall assess the quality of the foreign postgraduate degree to see if, in principle, they could have a cooperation agreement regarding the postgraduate degree abroad in question. If the degree in question is approved based on this criterion, the student may be awarded a study abroad grant for the foreign postgraduate degree provided the student otherwise meet the conditions to receive a study abroad grant. Danish educational institutions that do not offer postgraduate degrees ( university colleges, engineering colleges, Danish School of Media and Journalism) discuss these questions about the professional quality of the foreign postgraduate degree with the Danish university(ies) with which they cooperate regarding the academic field in question.

Preliminary results

The first year after the introduction of the study abroad grant scheme, a total of 629 students have started a study abroad at a foreign educational institution while 226 students have started a full study.

Only 7 of the 629 students who have studied abroad are academy profession students, and 86 are university college students, whereas 252 are university bachelor students, and 284 postgraduate students.All the 7 academy profession students concerned study humanities or art, while 34 of the 86 professional bachelor students study social sciences, 27 of them study health and welfare sciences, eight study pedagogy, nine study engineering, and seven are students of information technology 10.

Funds to establish and market parallel study programmes and joint study programmes

It was agreed to utilise the globalisation funds to create a pool for establishing and marketing parallel study programmes and joint study programmes.

Within the area under the Ministry of Education, the amount of DKK 2.6 million was granted in 2008 and the amount of DKK 9 million in 2009. The funds have been allocated from a pool of funds in response to applications from academies of professional higher education and university colleges relating to concrete projects for the establishment and marketing of parallel study programmes and joint study programmes.

The funds that have been allocated in 2008 have been granted to projects that comprise 29 parallel study programmes and two joint study programmes. Not all negotiations about parallel study programmes and joint study programmes are expected to be completed before the expiration of the project period (October 2009). The projects spread over several subject areas (health, biotechnology, IT, media and communication, technology/engineering, commerce, and pedagogy) and cover countries such as Australia, China, USA, Russia, and Europe in general.

The preliminary results of the initiated projects were reported in April 2009, and a satisfactory activity and good enterprise was noted.


10 Source: Danish Education Support Agency. The data has been extracted from the registry of study abroad grants on 15 August 2009.

Act on academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes In order to follow up on the goals of the globalisation strategy, internationalisation was also made a key element in 2008 in a new consolidated Act on academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes that established new requirements and frameworks for international education programmes. With this law, the educational institutions were given:

  • The duty to arrange study programmes so that a part of the education could be completed abroad
  • The option to arrange the study programmes as parallel programmes
  • The option to arrange the study programmes as joint programmes.

The option to organise studies as parallel or joint study programmes is described in detail in chapter 6 while the duty to arrange study programmes so that a part of the education may be completed abroad (the ‘accommodation requirement’) is accounted for below.

The background for the accommodation requirement is that some academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes are not sufficiently flexible and therefore prevent the students from going abroad for longer periods. The requirement implies that a part of the study program should be planned in such a way that a student who wishes to complete the education by including a stay abroad will be able to continue the course of study, when he returns from abroad, at the same stage at which the other students of the same year group have arrived. For some study programmes, this requirement may imply added modularisation of the education because it means that a study programme cannot be arranged as a progression or share courses between several academic fields. The accommodation requirement takes effect for studies that start after 1 august 2009.

The accommodation requirement has been formulated as a criterion for accreditation which means that the educational institution shall account for and document that the students will have the opportunity to complete one of more parts of the education abroad within the standard duration of the education.

Development contracts

The Act on university colleges for higher education and the Act on academies of professional higher education establish that the board of directors of university colleges, engineering colleges, and academies of professional higher education shall enter a development contract with the Minister for Education.

The work with the development contracts was initiated in the spring of 2008 with the university colleges and in the winter of 2008 with the academies of professional higher education. Currently, development contracts have been entered with the university colleges effective from 1 November 2008 through 31 December 2009 and with the academies of professional higher education effective from 1 January 2009 through 31 December 2009.

The development contracts have been built up according to the following system:

  • Main objectives define the overall political objectives of the development contract.
  • The demands for achievements state what the institution will do specifically to meet the main objectives.
  • The indicators state how the institution specifically will gauge the fulfilment of the individual demands for results.
  • Milestones show the target added value of the indicator at the expiration of the contract and possibly on the way during the contract period.

The main objectives have been announced by the Ministry of Education. The following three main objectives are common for university colleges and academies of professional higher education:

  • High professional quality
  • Education for more people
  • Development orientated institutions.

A number of themes that must be included as a starting point have been established for each main objective. The theme “Strengthening internationalisation of the education programmes and institution” apply to university colleges and academies of professional higher education.

In addition, the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Rectors’ Conference of University Colleges and Danish Vocational Colleges have defined a number of common key indicators to ensure that the contracts facilitate the generation of data for documentation of achievements in selected key areas of the core services of the institutions.

No common key indicator for internationalisation has been defined in the first round of development contracts for the university colleges whereas one common key indicator for internationalisation, which addresses outbound mobility and collaboration agreements, has been defined for the academies of professional higher education.

Common key indicator for internationalisation in the development contracts of the academies of professional higher education


The degree of internationalisation of the educational institution

Measurement method: The common key indicator is calculated as 1) Share of students who complete a study abroad of at least 14 days duration as a part of their education and 2) as the number of exchange agreements with institutions abroad.

Example of milestone: A milestone for this indicator might be that 20% of the students complete a study abroad as a part of their education at the end of the contract period. Internships abroad as well as exchange periods abroad are counted.

The fact that the indicator is centrally defined implies that all development contracts of academies of professional higher education shall include demands for achievements in internationalisation.

However, not all academies of professional higher education have defined a concrete goal yet because they must first register the starting point/baseline of the institution. In their development contracts, the university colleges have defined requirements of achievements that address several aspects of internationalisation, the same as academies of professional higher education have defined requirements of achievement in internationalisation beyond the common key indicator.

Examples of indicators for internationalisation from the development contracts:

  • Number of inbound/outbound students.
  • Number of inbound/outbound teachers.
  • Number of study programmes offered in English / exchange of international modules.
  • Share of research and development activity taking place in collaboration with institutions abroad.
  • Number of teachers who have been involved in international development projects.
  • Number of teachers who participate in linguistic supplementary training.
  • The degree of satisfaction of inbound students.
  • Student counselling of international students.
  • Use of foreign guest lecturers.

As of 1 April 2009, a preliminary report on selected indicators in the development contracts of the academies of professional higher education has been submitted. Among other things, the report shows that approximately 10% of the graduates in 2009 have completed a study abroad as a part of their education of at least 14 days duration, and that 178 exchange agreements were entered with cooperation partners abroad.

3.3. Financial framework

An important element of the internationalisation effort is the financial framework to support the work.

In addition to the financial initiatives, which are derived from the globalisation strategy – i.e. the study abroad grant scheme and funds for establishing parallel study programmes and joint study plans, which are detailed on page 27-29 – there is a series of other financial support structures in the education programmes:

  • General grants
  • Internationalisation taximeter
  • Danish educational support (SU) abroad / Paid internship abroad
  • EU programmes and Nordplus.

General grants

It is a fundamental principle that a student can only trigger a grant at the legal institution where the grant triggering activity is carried out. For most of the higher education programmes at academies of professional higher education and university colleges, an activity triggers a grant when it has been exercised throughout a full semester. This way, the general grant rules regarding taximeter grants to academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes do not always make allowance for outbound mobility when less than a full semester is completed abroad.

Internationalisation taximeter

As a follow-up on the Government’s statement to the Danish Parliament, Folketinget, about strengthened internationalisation of the education programmes (2004), an internationalisation taximeter was set up to cover the costs related to sending and receiving exchange students and free movers 11.

The grant (DKK 5,400 for the 2009 Public Budget) is related to the number of inbound and outbound exchange students or free movers for whom the study or internship period is at least three months. A maximum of one grant is given per student for each study or internship period.

At the present, students who go abroad on a study abroad grant (see page 27) do not trigger an internationalisation taximeter; however, from 2010 on, a special administration subsidy in given to the institutions in connection with the study abroad grant scheme.

Danish educational support (SU)

It is possible to receive Danish educational support (SU) during a partial study period as well as for full education programmes abroad.

The possibility of getting SU during a stay abroad depend on

  • the study period being a part of a Danish education,
  • the Danish educational institution acknowledges that the study period gives full credit

In addition to this, general rules for SU apply while the student is studying abroad, for example as they relate to income, children, etc.

For study programmes with paid internship, it is possible to get SU for an unpaid internship abroad if the educational institution assesses that the internship carries an academic credit.

It is possible to get SU for a number of full study programmes abroad provided that

  • the student meets the requirements for getting SU while abroad,
  • the study program has been approved.

Denmark-Victoria

The Denmark-Victoria programme ran over three years (2006-2008) and had as its purpose to support the establishment of an institutional framework for a strengthened cooperation between university colleges in Denmark and in the Australian state of Victoria and in practice also in other Australian states. The aim of the programme was to create lasting partnerships between Denmark and Victoria.

The Program was evaluated in 2009, and Danish Agency for International Education, which has administered the programme, concludes overall that the opportunity to apply for grants to follow up on the projects has created continuity in several of the actual collaboration projects, and that this has been a contributing factor to so many of the projects having resulted in a lasting collaboration.

The Denmark-USA programme

This programme is directed towards collaboration between Denmark and USA within the profession-orientated education programmes (vocational education and training, and academy profession education programmes) in American community colleges and in Danish business colleges and technical colleges.

The collaboration rests upon an agreement entered in year 2000 between the ministries of education in Denmark and USA. Within the framework of the agreement, Denmark has established a programme that subsidises collaboration with partners in USA. The programme subsidises stays in USA for pupils, students, teachers, and managers from vocational colleges as well as for board and committee members attached to the schools. The programme runs until the end of 2009.

EU programmes and Nordplus

The EU programmes and the Nordplus programmes play a major role in the effort to increase mobility in Europe and the Nordic countries.

The EU programmes are unified under the comprehensive programme Lifelong Learning that addresses all fields of education. Under this comprehensive programme, there are several programmes that are relevant for higher education:

Under the Erasmus programme, tertiary educational institutions that have an Erasmus University Charter may apply for subsidies for study and internship periods for students, residencies for teachers or other employees, Erasmus language courses, intensive programmes, preparatory visits, and multilateral projects and networks.

The transversal programme subsidises study visits, development projects, and networks for all education sectors as well as informal learning environments for adults with focus on four main themes: policy development, language, IT, and dissemination and good practice.

For the period 2008-2011, the Nordic Council of Ministers has started a Nordplus Framework Programme that subsidises mobility, network formation, and collaboration within the field of education. There are four subprogrammes under the framework programme, including Nordplus Higher Education. The purpose of Nordplus Higher Education is to strengthen mobility and network collaboration between the participating countries’ educational institutions, organisations, and other stakeholders in higher education.

Financial challenges

A number of challenges relating to the financial framework for internationalisation emerge frequently and are also raised frequently by the educational institutions:

Lack of incentive for brief visits abroad

The taximeter subsidy is only given to activities that are completed in the Danish institution. An activity that has been completed abroad does not count towards the subsidy. This means that the educational institution does not receive a subsidy for the parts of the students’ education that are completed at an institution abroad be it is as exchange student or in connection with a stay abroad on a grant.

Most of the tertiary education programmes under the Ministry of Education have as a condition of subsidy that a full semester has been completed. This means that units of completed study activity less than a full semester do not trigger a subsidy.

If a student is either exchanged or goes abroad on a study abroad grant for less than a semester, the institution will therefore not receive a subsidy for the remaining part of the semester that is completed at the institution in Denmark. This means that, according to the current subsidy regulations, the students who only complete, for instance, 15 ECTS points abroad will not be able to trigger subsidy for the other 15 ECTS points they complete in Denmark in order to finish the semester.

This may be an impediment to the institutions’ incentive to encourage the students to short stays abroad, and it adds a special challenge to the programming of education elements held abroad in relation to the Danish education.

In a number of education programmes, however, the subsidy is triggered by the student passing his exams, and here a short stay abroad may well agree with the student’s triggering the full subsidy provided that the student passes the exam in their institution at the end of the semester where the student has been abroad.

In the academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes study periods abroad are often shorter than a full semester, partly because the academy profession education programmes are of such short duration that the students do not wish to be away from the study in Denmark, partly because some studies are programmed so that it may be difficult to be away for a full semester.

Financial balance – requirement of equilibrium

The objective to send more Danish students on study periods abroad should also be viewed in the light that the financial frameworks make it more attractive for the educational institutions to attract foreign students to Denmark.

This is because foreign students, unless they are foreign paying students, count towards the subsidy after the same criteria as Danish students. Financially, the institutions expand their basis of income by admitting foreign students whereas they reduce their basis of income by sending students abroad whether it happens through an exchange agreement or with a study abroad grant.

Until the introduction of the study abroad grant scheme, the number of Danish students who could study abroad at a university with user payment, without paying themselves, was limited by the requirement of equilibrium that typically is built into the exchange agreements of educational institutions. In this context, equilibrium means that it is not possible for more Danish students to go abroad than the foreign educational institution sends to Denmark. The equilibrium requirement was introduced in 2006, at the same time as the payment requirement for certain foreign students, in order to limit the possibility for Danish educational institutions to expand their basis of income by admitting foreign students instead of educating Danish students.

By balancing inbound and outbound exchange students, there would be equilibrium of students who do not trigger a subsidy while they are abroad and students who instead trigger a subsidy as exchange students at a Danish educational institution. The requirement of equilibrium does not concern the individual academic programmes but only the institutionwide number of inbound and outbound persons. This flexibility opens up the opportunity for Danish students to go abroad in an education where it is obvious to go abroad, but not obvious to go to Denmark, while the institution can receive students in study programmes where it is obvious to establish international classes in Denmark.

In consequence, there may be education programmes with more outbound than inbound exchange students. This may reduce the utilisation of the teaching capacity of these education programmes and result in a reduction of the revenue base of programmes where the outbound mobility is higher than the inbound mobility. The basis of income is further reduced if the outbound students go abroad for less than a full semester since, for a number of study programmes, the educational institution will not get subsidised for the parts of semesters that do not add up to full semesters.


11 A free mover is a guest student who is not attached to an established exchange agreement.

3.4. Trend in outbound mobility

Mandlige studerende i undervisningslokale

During the last few years, the trend in the number of students who go abroad to study for a period of time 12 has been increasing for students in a short-cycle higher education programmes (including academy profession programmes) and stagnating for students in a medium-cycle higher education programme (such as professional bachelor programmes).

Since 2001/2002, the number of students in a medium-cycle higher education who go to study abroad has been approximately 1000 students per year. The number of students in a short-cycle higher education going abroad to study is low, although the number has gone from 123 in 2004/05 to 185 students per year in 2007/08.

The number of students studying abroad in 2007/08 corresponds to 7.6% of the graduates with a medium-cycle higher education and 3.8% of the graduates with a short-cycle higher education 13.

Table 3.1: Danish students studying abroad 2000/01-2007/08

figur 3.1 


12 Study periods include internships.

13 Mobility statistics 2007/2008: Danish Agency of International Education. The percentage statistics of graduates show how many students have been in an exchange programme relative to the number of graduates in 2007/2008. The count deals with two different groups of students and can therefore only give a general idea of the percentage of a year group that go out in an exchange programme. The base of the calculations is the number of graduates. Therefore, the students who go abroad without completing their study and students who go abroad several times will cause the share shown to be overestimated in relation to the actual share of a year group that goes abroad.

3.1. International objectives for mobility

In international context, mobility has been on the agenda for many years as a key aspect of the internationalisation of higher education.

From the start, increased mobility has been one of the key objectives of the cooperation in the Bologna Process. The Bologna Process was initiated by the European ministers for education in 1999 with the goal to develop Europe into a common space for higher education where the students can move freely across the boundaries.

Already in the first declaration in 1999, it was a distinct objective to promote European mobility for students as well as for teachers, researchers, and administrative personnel by taking away obstacles to mobility.

Later on, it has also become a goal to promote the development of joint European courses of study and joint degrees, which will also contribute to further the mobility 7.

Quantitative objectives for mobility were established for the first time with the declaration from the latest Bologna Process ministerial meeting in Leuven and Louvain-la-Neuve in the spring of 2009. In 2020, at least 20% of the graduates within the European space of higher education shall have spent a study period or an internship abroad as a part of their education 8.

Also for the educational cooperation in EU, mobility has become an issue of ever increasing importance. In May of 2009, the ministers of education adopted a new strategy framework for European cooperation in education until 2020. With this strategy framework, the EU member states define common challenges and common goals for the education sphere in EU. The new strategy framework is an extension of the present framework that is in force for 2001-2010.

The strategy framework comprises four strategic goals one of which is ‘realisation of lifelong learning and mobility’. The realisation of the goals will be measured by common benchmarks. Some of these benchmarks have already been set whereas others are under development. Thus, with the new strategy framework, the first steps have been taken to develop a common European benchmark for mobility over the next couple of years beginning with focusing on physical mobility for higher education between countries.

Lately, the European Commission has adopted the Green Paper “Promoting the learning mobility of young people” in July of 2009. The purpose of the Green Paper is to open up the debate to stakeholders and the public about how to strengthen the opportunities for learning mobility of young people. The Commission regards learning mobility as a means that can contribute overall to building a knowledge intensive society, and that mobility therefore can contribute to strengthening Europe’s competitiveness and to realizing the Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs.

The purpose of the Green Paper is to

  1. promote organised learning mobility,
  2. promote learning mobility between the countries currently participating in the EU programmes, while at the same time seek to develop exchanges with the wider world,
  3. promote boundary-crossing mobility between like institutions (schools, universities, enterprises, etc.) as well as mobility between different sectors, for example from an educational institution to an enterprise,
  4. focus on physical mobility while also recognising the value of virtual mobility.

7 The meeting of ministers in Bergen, 2005.

8 The 20% is an overall goal for the European space of higher education. The task of developing an indicator for the goal is a part of the work plan of the Bologna Process in the years to come.

3.2. National frameworks for mobility

Closeup af hånd, der skriver med en pen
3.2. National frameworks for mobility

Nationally, internationalisation was put effectively on the agenda with the Government’s globalisation strategy of 2006, which has set the overall frames for the development of academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes, including new opportunities for internationalisation of the education programmes and goals for internationalisation in the development contracts of the educational institutions.

The globalisation strategy

In 2006, the Government presented a strategy for Denmark in the global economy (the globalisation strategy) 9 that contained 350 concrete initiatives involving among other things extensive reforms in the fields of education and research.

Increased internationalisation of education constituted a separate effort with focus on more young Danish people having the opportunity to study abroad, that Danish education programmes should be internationally attractive, and that more good students from abroad should have the opportunity to come to Denmark.

In the course of implementing the strategy, a number of centralised initiatives to strengthened internationalisation of higher education have been initiated; the first two of these are specifically aimed at the goal of increased outbound mobility, i.e. more Danish students shall complete a part of their education abroad:

  • Funds to establish and market parallel study programmes and joint study programmes.
  • Study abroad grant scheme.
  • More flexible grants to good students from abroad.
  • Marketing strategy.

9 Strategy for Denmark in the global economy – progress, innovation, and security. The Government 2006. www.globalisering.dk

Study abroad grant to spend a study period abroad

From 2008 onward, it became possible for Danish students to receive a study abroad grant to cover partially or in full the tuition for a study period or for an entire graduate degree abroad.

The purpose of the grant is to make more Danish students study abroad by subsidising all or parts of the tuition fees charged by foreign educational institutions. The existing exchange agreements are subject to a rule of equivalence that has as consequence that the number of outbound Danish students cannot exceed the number of inbound students received by the Danish institutions unless the students themselves find funding for tuition fees, if any, to the foreign educational institutions.

Study abroad grants awarded cover a maximum of two years of study corresponding to 120 ECTS points – however, for students in academies of professional higher education only one year of study corresponding to 60 ECTS points.

Grants are given to pay, partially or in full, the tuition fees charged by foreign educational institutions. However, the maximum grant is equivalent to the amount that a Danish educational institution would have received for carrying out the education in Denmark.

Study abroad grants may be given to partial study programmes or to complete postgraduate programmes.

Study period abroad

Study abroad grants may be given to study periods abroad that are a part of a Danish university bachelor or postgraduate degree, an academy profession education, a professional bachelor education, etc.

It is the Danish educational institution where the student is studying that determines if full credit pre-approval may be given in the Danish study programme and thereby approve a study abroad grant. Additionally, the student must meet a number of other requirements in order to receive a study abroad grant  for instance, be eligible for Danish educational support (SU), be admitted to a foreign fee-paying study programme, be required to pay tuition fee, etc.

Complete postgraduate degrees It is possible to obtain study abroad grants for full postgraduate degrees abroad provided the degree is included in one of four ‘positive lists’: The university list, the Ministry of Culture list, the Ministry of Education list, or the cooperation agreement list.

The university list consists of the 100 most reputable universities (THES top 100) augmented by the best universities in countries with otherwise highly reputable universities (THES top 400). The Ministry of Culture list consists of postgraduate programmes at internationally highly reputable institutions abroad that offer degrees that in Denmark fall under the field of responsibility of the Ministry of Culture. The Ministry of Education list is a supplement to the university list and the cooperation agreement list for professional bachelors. Finally, the cooperation agreement list contains the foreign education programmes that are included in a cooperation agreement entered with a Danish university. The four lists are revised annually.

It is also possible to obtain a study abroad grant for foreign postgraduate studies not on one of the four lists. In such case, a Danish university, university college, engineering college, or Danish School of Media and Journalism shall assess the quality of the foreign postgraduate degree to see if, in principle, they could have a cooperation agreement regarding the postgraduate degree abroad in question. If the degree in question is approved based on this criterion, the student may be awarded a study abroad grant for the foreign postgraduate degree provided the student otherwise meet the conditions to receive a study abroad grant. Danish educational institutions that do not offer postgraduate degrees ( university colleges, engineering colleges, Danish School of Media and Journalism) discuss these questions about the professional quality of the foreign postgraduate degree with the Danish university(ies) with which they cooperate regarding the academic field in question.

Preliminary results

The first year after the introduction of the study abroad grant scheme, a total of 629 students have started a study abroad at a foreign educational institution while 226 students have started a full study.

Only 7 of the 629 students who have studied abroad are academy profession students, and 86 are university college students, whereas 252 are university bachelor students, and 284 postgraduate students.All the 7 academy profession students concerned study humanities or art, while 34 of the 86 professional bachelor students study social sciences, 27 of them study health and welfare sciences, eight study pedagogy, nine study engineering, and seven are students of information technology 10.

Funds to establish and market parallel study programmes and joint study programmes

It was agreed to utilise the globalisation funds to create a pool for establishing and marketing parallel study programmes and joint study programmes.

Within the area under the Ministry of Education, the amount of DKK 2.6 million was granted in 2008 and the amount of DKK 9 million in 2009. The funds have been allocated from a pool of funds in response to applications from academies of professional higher education and university colleges relating to concrete projects for the establishment and marketing of parallel study programmes and joint study programmes.

The funds that have been allocated in 2008 have been granted to projects that comprise 29 parallel study programmes and two joint study programmes. Not all negotiations about parallel study programmes and joint study programmes are expected to be completed before the expiration of the project period (October 2009). The projects spread over several subject areas (health, biotechnology, IT, media and communication, technology/engineering, commerce, and pedagogy) and cover countries such as Australia, China, USA, Russia, and Europe in general.

The preliminary results of the initiated projects were reported in April 2009, and a satisfactory activity and good enterprise was noted.


10 Source: Danish Education Support Agency. The data has been extracted from the registry of study abroad grants on 15 August 2009.

Act on academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes In order to follow up on the goals of the globalisation strategy, internationalisation was also made a key element in 2008 in a new consolidated Act on academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes that established new requirements and frameworks for international education programmes. With this law, the educational institutions were given:

  • The duty to arrange study programmes so that a part of the education could be completed abroad
  • The option to arrange the study programmes as parallel programmes
  • The option to arrange the study programmes as joint programmes.

The option to organise studies as parallel or joint study programmes is described in detail in chapter 6 while the duty to arrange study programmes so that a part of the education may be completed abroad (the ‘accommodation requirement’) is accounted for below.

The background for the accommodation requirement is that some academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes are not sufficiently flexible and therefore prevent the students from going abroad for longer periods. The requirement implies that a part of the study program should be planned in such a way that a student who wishes to complete the education by including a stay abroad will be able to continue the course of study, when he returns from abroad, at the same stage at which the other students of the same year group have arrived. For some study programmes, this requirement may imply added modularisation of the education because it means that a study programme cannot be arranged as a progression or share courses between several academic fields. The accommodation requirement takes effect for studies that start after 1 august 2009.

The accommodation requirement has been formulated as a criterion for accreditation which means that the educational institution shall account for and document that the students will have the opportunity to complete one of more parts of the education abroad within the standard duration of the education.

Development contracts

The Act on university colleges for higher education and the Act on academies of professional higher education establish that the board of directors of university colleges, engineering colleges, and academies of professional higher education shall enter a development contract with the Minister for Education.

The work with the development contracts was initiated in the spring of 2008 with the university colleges and in the winter of 2008 with the academies of professional higher education. Currently, development contracts have been entered with the university colleges effective from 1 November 2008 through 31 December 2009 and with the academies of professional higher education effective from 1 January 2009 through 31 December 2009.

The development contracts have been built up according to the following system:

  • Main objectives define the overall political objectives of the development contract.
  • The demands for achievements state what the institution will do specifically to meet the main objectives.
  • The indicators state how the institution specifically will gauge the fulfilment of the individual demands for results.
  • Milestones show the target added value of the indicator at the expiration of the contract and possibly on the way during the contract period.

The main objectives have been announced by the Ministry of Education. The following three main objectives are common for university colleges and academies of professional higher education:

  • High professional quality
  • Education for more people
  • Development orientated institutions.

A number of themes that must be included as a starting point have been established for each main objective. The theme “Strengthening internationalisation of the education programmes and institution” apply to university colleges and academies of professional higher education.

In addition, the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Rectors’ Conference of University Colleges and Danish Vocational Colleges have defined a number of common key indicators to ensure that the contracts facilitate the generation of data for documentation of achievements in selected key areas of the core services of the institutions.

No common key indicator for internationalisation has been defined in the first round of development contracts for the university colleges whereas one common key indicator for internationalisation, which addresses outbound mobility and collaboration agreements, has been defined for the academies of professional higher education.

Common key indicator for internationalisation in the development contracts of the academies of professional higher education


The degree of internationalisation of the educational institution

Measurement method: The common key indicator is calculated as 1) Share of students who complete a study abroad of at least 14 days duration as a part of their education and 2) as the number of exchange agreements with institutions abroad.

Example of milestone: A milestone for this indicator might be that 20% of the students complete a study abroad as a part of their education at the end of the contract period. Internships abroad as well as exchange periods abroad are counted.

The fact that the indicator is centrally defined implies that all development contracts of academies of professional higher education shall include demands for achievements in internationalisation.

However, not all academies of professional higher education have defined a concrete goal yet because they must first register the starting point/baseline of the institution. In their development contracts, the university colleges have defined requirements of achievements that address several aspects of internationalisation, the same as academies of professional higher education have defined requirements of achievement in internationalisation beyond the common key indicator.

Examples of indicators for internationalisation from the development contracts:

  • Number of inbound/outbound students.
  • Number of inbound/outbound teachers.
  • Number of study programmes offered in English / exchange of international modules.
  • Share of research and development activity taking place in collaboration with institutions abroad.
  • Number of teachers who have been involved in international development projects.
  • Number of teachers who participate in linguistic supplementary training.
  • The degree of satisfaction of inbound students.
  • Student counselling of international students.
  • Use of foreign guest lecturers.

As of 1 April 2009, a preliminary report on selected indicators in the development contracts of the academies of professional higher education has been submitted. Among other things, the report shows that approximately 10% of the graduates in 2009 have completed a study abroad as a part of their education of at least 14 days duration, and that 178 exchange agreements were entered with cooperation partners abroad.

3.3. Financial framework

An important element of the internationalisation effort is the financial framework to support the work.

In addition to the financial initiatives, which are derived from the globalisation strategy – i.e. the study abroad grant scheme and funds for establishing parallel study programmes and joint study plans, which are detailed on page 27-29 – there is a series of other financial support structures in the education programmes:

  • General grants
  • Internationalisation taximeter
  • Danish educational support (SU) abroad / Paid internship abroad
  • EU programmes and Nordplus.

General grants

It is a fundamental principle that a student can only trigger a grant at the legal institution where the grant triggering activity is carried out. For most of the higher education programmes at academies of professional higher education and university colleges, an activity triggers a grant when it has been exercised throughout a full semester. This way, the general grant rules regarding taximeter grants to academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes do not always make allowance for outbound mobility when less than a full semester is completed abroad.

Internationalisation taximeter

As a follow-up on the Government’s statement to the Danish Parliament, Folketinget, about strengthened internationalisation of the education programmes (2004), an internationalisation taximeter was set up to cover the costs related to sending and receiving exchange students and free movers 11.

The grant (DKK 5,400 for the 2009 Public Budget) is related to the number of inbound and outbound exchange students or free movers for whom the study or internship period is at least three months. A maximum of one grant is given per student for each study or internship period.

At the present, students who go abroad on a study abroad grant (see page 27) do not trigger an internationalisation taximeter; however, from 2010 on, a special administration subsidy in given to the institutions in connection with the study abroad grant scheme.

Danish educational support (SU)

It is possible to receive Danish educational support (SU) during a partial study period as well as for full education programmes abroad.

The possibility of getting SU during a stay abroad depend on

  • the study period being a part of a Danish education,
  • the Danish educational institution acknowledges that the study period gives full credit

In addition to this, general rules for SU apply while the student is studying abroad, for example as they relate to income, children, etc.

For study programmes with paid internship, it is possible to get SU for an unpaid internship abroad if the educational institution assesses that the internship carries an academic credit.

It is possible to get SU for a number of full study programmes abroad provided that

  • the student meets the requirements for getting SU while abroad,
  • the study program has been approved.

Denmark-Victoria

The Denmark-Victoria programme ran over three years (2006-2008) and had as its purpose to support the establishment of an institutional framework for a strengthened cooperation between university colleges in Denmark and in the Australian state of Victoria and in practice also in other Australian states. The aim of the programme was to create lasting partnerships between Denmark and Victoria.

The Program was evaluated in 2009, and Danish Agency for International Education, which has administered the programme, concludes overall that the opportunity to apply for grants to follow up on the projects has created continuity in several of the actual collaboration projects, and that this has been a contributing factor to so many of the projects having resulted in a lasting collaboration.

The Denmark-USA programme

This programme is directed towards collaboration between Denmark and USA within the profession-orientated education programmes (vocational education and training, and academy profession education programmes) in American community colleges and in Danish business colleges and technical colleges.

The collaboration rests upon an agreement entered in year 2000 between the ministries of education in Denmark and USA. Within the framework of the agreement, Denmark has established a programme that subsidises collaboration with partners in USA. The programme subsidises stays in USA for pupils, students, teachers, and managers from vocational colleges as well as for board and committee members attached to the schools. The programme runs until the end of 2009.

EU programmes and Nordplus

The EU programmes and the Nordplus programmes play a major role in the effort to increase mobility in Europe and the Nordic countries.

The EU programmes are unified under the comprehensive programme Lifelong Learning that addresses all fields of education. Under this comprehensive programme, there are several programmes that are relevant for higher education:

Under the Erasmus programme, tertiary educational institutions that have an Erasmus University Charter may apply for subsidies for study and internship periods for students, residencies for teachers or other employees, Erasmus language courses, intensive programmes, preparatory visits, and multilateral projects and networks.

The transversal programme subsidises study visits, development projects, and networks for all education sectors as well as informal learning environments for adults with focus on four main themes: policy development, language, IT, and dissemination and good practice.

For the period 2008-2011, the Nordic Council of Ministers has started a Nordplus Framework Programme that subsidises mobility, network formation, and collaboration within the field of education. There are four subprogrammes under the framework programme, including Nordplus Higher Education. The purpose of Nordplus Higher Education is to strengthen mobility and network collaboration between the participating countries’ educational institutions, organisations, and other stakeholders in higher education.

Financial challenges

A number of challenges relating to the financial framework for internationalisation emerge frequently and are also raised frequently by the educational institutions:

Lack of incentive for brief visits abroad

The taximeter subsidy is only given to activities that are completed in the Danish institution. An activity that has been completed abroad does not count towards the subsidy. This means that the educational institution does not receive a subsidy for the parts of the students’ education that are completed at an institution abroad be it is as exchange student or in connection with a stay abroad on a grant.

Most of the tertiary education programmes under the Ministry of Education have as a condition of subsidy that a full semester has been completed. This means that units of completed study activity less than a full semester do not trigger a subsidy.

If a student is either exchanged or goes abroad on a study abroad grant for less than a semester, the institution will therefore not receive a subsidy for the remaining part of the semester that is completed at the institution in Denmark. This means that, according to the current subsidy regulations, the students who only complete, for instance, 15 ECTS points abroad will not be able to trigger subsidy for the other 15 ECTS points they complete in Denmark in order to finish the semester.

This may be an impediment to the institutions’ incentive to encourage the students to short stays abroad, and it adds a special challenge to the programming of education elements held abroad in relation to the Danish education.

In a number of education programmes, however, the subsidy is triggered by the student passing his exams, and here a short stay abroad may well agree with the student’s triggering the full subsidy provided that the student passes the exam in their institution at the end of the semester where the student has been abroad.

In the academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes study periods abroad are often shorter than a full semester, partly because the academy profession education programmes are of such short duration that the students do not wish to be away from the study in Denmark, partly because some studies are programmed so that it may be difficult to be away for a full semester.

Financial balance – requirement of equilibrium

The objective to send more Danish students on study periods abroad should also be viewed in the light that the financial frameworks make it more attractive for the educational institutions to attract foreign students to Denmark.

This is because foreign students, unless they are foreign paying students, count towards the subsidy after the same criteria as Danish students. Financially, the institutions expand their basis of income by admitting foreign students whereas they reduce their basis of income by sending students abroad whether it happens through an exchange agreement or with a study abroad grant.

Until the introduction of the study abroad grant scheme, the number of Danish students who could study abroad at a university with user payment, without paying themselves, was limited by the requirement of equilibrium that typically is built into the exchange agreements of educational institutions. In this context, equilibrium means that it is not possible for more Danish students to go abroad than the foreign educational institution sends to Denmark. The equilibrium requirement was introduced in 2006, at the same time as the payment requirement for certain foreign students, in order to limit the possibility for Danish educational institutions to expand their basis of income by admitting foreign students instead of educating Danish students.

By balancing inbound and outbound exchange students, there would be equilibrium of students who do not trigger a subsidy while they are abroad and students who instead trigger a subsidy as exchange students at a Danish educational institution. The requirement of equilibrium does not concern the individual academic programmes but only the institutionwide number of inbound and outbound persons. This flexibility opens up the opportunity for Danish students to go abroad in an education where it is obvious to go abroad, but not obvious to go to Denmark, while the institution can receive students in study programmes where it is obvious to establish international classes in Denmark.

In consequence, there may be education programmes with more outbound than inbound exchange students. This may reduce the utilisation of the teaching capacity of these education programmes and result in a reduction of the revenue base of programmes where the outbound mobility is higher than the inbound mobility. The basis of income is further reduced if the outbound students go abroad for less than a full semester since, for a number of study programmes, the educational institution will not get subsidised for the parts of semesters that do not add up to full semesters.


11 A free mover is a guest student who is not attached to an established exchange agreement.

3.4. Trend in outbound mobility

Mandlige studerende i undervisningslokale

During the last few years, the trend in the number of students who go abroad to study for a period of time 12 has been increasing for students in a short-cycle higher education programmes (including academy profession programmes) and stagnating for students in a medium-cycle higher education programme (such as professional bachelor programmes).

Since 2001/2002, the number of students in a medium-cycle higher education who go to study abroad has been approximately 1000 students per year. The number of students in a short-cycle higher education going abroad to study is low, although the number has gone from 123 in 2004/05 to 185 students per year in 2007/08.

The number of students studying abroad in 2007/08 corresponds to 7.6% of the graduates with a medium-cycle higher education and 3.8% of the graduates with a short-cycle higher education 13.

Table 3.1: Danish students studying abroad 2000/01-2007/08

figur 3.1 


12 Study periods include internships.

13 Mobility statistics 2007/2008: Danish Agency of International Education. The percentage statistics of graduates show how many students have been in an exchange programme relative to the number of graduates in 2007/2008. The count deals with two different groups of students and can therefore only give a general idea of the percentage of a year group that go out in an exchange programme. The base of the calculations is the number of graduates. Therefore, the students who go abroad without completing their study and students who go abroad several times will cause the share shown to be overestimated in relation to the actual share of a year group that goes abroad.

4. The students

As seen in chapter 3, the number of students in academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes who complete a stay abroad as a part of their education is relatively low and the overall trend has been stagnating in recent years.

There is therefore a need for more information about the academy profession and university college students’ background and motivation for going abroad to study in the course of their education and, in particular, their reasons for rejecting a stay abroad.

This chapter sums up the main results and conclusions of a survey of the obstacles to and the benefits from a stay abroad for Danish academy profession and university college students.

Survey of Danish university college and academy profession students’ obstacles to and benefits from study periods abroad

The purpose of the survey is to give a detailed view, based on statistics, of academy profession and university college students’ experiences with and attitudes towards study periods abroad – for students who have been abroad as well as for students who have not been abroad – as it relates to the following questions:

  • What motivates the students to go abroad to study?
  • Referring to students who have studied or had an internship abroad, what are the benefits of a period abroad during the studies?
  • How do the students who have or who have not, respectively, been abroad rate the stay abroad and the benefits obtained – for instance in relation to their future career or their worth on the labour market?
  • How is information and counselling given about studies abroad?
  • What are the reasons why a majority of academy profession and university college students reject a stay abroad during their studies?
  • What are the obstacles to outbound mobility for academy profession and professional bachelor students?

The survey was carried out via a questionnaire addressed to all academy profession and university college students who were in the last year of their studies (less than 12 months left) or who had recently graduated.

As a complement to the questionnaire, an interview survey (focus group interview) was carried out among university college and academy profession students, who had either spent a study period abroad during their studies or had rejected it, with a view to enlarging on the topics and results of the questionnaire survey.

The survey was carried out by Danish Agency for International Education with UNI•C collecting the data:

  1. Study abroad of Danish university college and academy profession students (2009), UNI•C
  2. Study abroad of Danish academy profession and university college students – benefits and rejections (2009), Danish Agency for International Education

4.1. Reasons for going abroad to study

When asking the students what are the reasons they wanted to go abroad to study, cultural or intercultural motives weigh the most. Over 90% of the students give as the reason for a stay abroad that it would be interesting to study or work in a foreign environment, while 85% bring out living in another culture as the most important reason.

The students also give as a reason the wish for variety in the education programme as an important reason to go abroad; this reason is given by 76% of the respondents. A good 50% of the students mention better career opportunities in Denmark and abroad as a reason.

The greatest difference across the academic fields is in the evaluation of whether a stay abroad will lead to better career opportunities in Denmark and abroad.

81% of the students in technical education programmes motivate their study abroad by its leading to better career opportunities in Denmark, while the same is the case for 78% of the students in commercial education programmes and 63% of the students in the IT programmes. Career opportunities abroad are also rated high as a reason for the students in the technical education programmes to study abroad (78%), in the commercial education programmes (78%), and in the IT education programmes (75%).

Conversely, better career opportunities are rated low by students in the pedagogy and health professional education programmes. 32% of the students of pedagogy give better career opportunities abroad as the reason for studying abroad as do 46% of the health professional students. 42% of the students of pedagogy give better career opportunities in Denmark as the reason for studying abroad, and so do 47% of the health professional students.

Figure 4.1: Reasons for study periods abroad
figur 4.1

4.2. Benefits and thoughts about study periods abroad

The students who had been abroad as a part of their education were asked to name the three most important things about their stay abroad.

The highest rated benefits among the students are ‘experience studying/ working in other education/work environments’ and ‘understanding other cultures’. As such, the motivation for students to go abroad to study – cultural and intercultural factors – are in keeping with the actual benefits the students report having obtained from the study periods abroad.

Figure 4.2: Benefits of study periods abroad
figur 4.2

There are no major fluctuations of the benefits from a stay abroad across the academic fields. Yet, students in commercial education programmes put better language skills as the second most important benefit of a stay abroad (50%), whereas it is the fourth most important benefit for students in technical education programmes (38%). On the other hand, with 39% respectively 37%, the health profession and pedagogy students value a fresh view of their own education/profession higher than the average.

In the qualitative survey, many students point out that they have strengthened or obtained new personal competences in the course of their stay abroad. The students express that the combination of having to use one’s professionalism in a foreign country, in a foreign language, and under new cultural and social forms strengthens in particular competences such as: independence, interpersonal skills, tolerance, networking, broadness, flexibility, self-knowledge, self-reliance, and initiative.

“I came to understand that there are other ways of doing things. When you have been schooled in one way, you tend to see it as the only way. And it is nice to see that things can work other ways as well; that there are other theorists and ways to view the things.”
Nursing student


“We, the Danes, soon found out that it was always we who took the initiatives in the different study groups. And we became known for it as Danes: That it was us who kept the strings straight. I learned to use new competences and skills as the one who held the strings. ”
Engineering student

The students who have been abroad are generally very satisfied with the stay abroad. Only 8% of the students who studied abroad regretted or highly regretted their stay abroad, whereas as many as 33% of the students who did not go abroad to study subsequently regretted not doing so.

Interviews of the students who had not studied abroad as a part of their education showed that there are different thoughts about which benefits, further course of study, and future career opportunities result from a stay abroad. The thoughts may be summed up in three bullets:

  1. Personal development
    A stay abroad is associated with personal development in the way that you get to know yourself better, challenge yourself, test yourself, and you have to go beyond usual ways of doing things. Furthermore, a stay abroad relates to positive personal qualities such as: independence, initiative, standing on ones own feet, maturity, flexibility, self-confidence, readiness for change, courage, personal energy, social competences, decision-making, willingness to learn new things, risk-taking.
  2. Cultural understanding
    A stay abroad is also associated with added cultural insight, which can be an advantage abroad and at the return to Denmark. In a world of growing globalisation, it is an advantage to have experience from foreign countries and cultures and with that the understanding and experience that not all people view the world in the light of the same norms as we do in this country.
  3. Professional improvement/ professional opportunities
    A stay abroad is associated with both advantages and disadvantages when it comes to professional and academic benefits. For some, a stay abroad generally gives a better professional understanding and may lead to a wider perspective of your own practice and professionalism because you get the opportunity to compare your Danish profession and methods with corresponding foreign ones. For others, the quality of foreign study programmes is not as high as in Denmark, and a stay abroad therefore means that the student falls behind in the study and/or misses knowledge.

Study abroad in relation to future career and job hunting Only a few students consider that having studied abroad as a part of their education is important in relation to finding a good job after graduation. Only 3-4% say they believe a stay abroad during their education is among the most important factors.

When asked directly, 34% of the students who have not studied abroad during the course of their education answer that a credit-giving study period or internship abroad would have given them better job opportunities. 65% do not believe that it would have had any influence on their job opportunities. Not surprisingly, the students who have been abroad in connection with their education consider study periods and internships abroad more important for subsequent job opportunities than the students who have not been abroad do.

There are markedly more students in the academy profession and professional bachelor programmes who are of the opinion that a study or internship abroad would have given them better job opportunities (53-54%). This difference probably does not have to do with the type of education but rather with the academic subject area since the academy profession education programmes traditionally are in the private enterprise areas such as technical and commercial trades, whereas professional bachelor programmes traditionally and largely have addressed public work areas such as health professions and pedagogy.

In fact, a closer look at the figures for the individual academic fields shows that especially students in the commercial education programmes estimate that a study period or internship abroad could have improved their job opportunities (54-56%), whereas students in the health profession and pedagogy education programmes largely believe that a study period or internship would not have influenced their job opportunities.

Interviews with the students show that they fall in one of two groups:

One group who believes a study abroad has no significance for job opportunities because

  • there is a large labour shortage in their sectors/professions (especially pedagogy, education, and nursing students),
  • the Danish education is sufficient in relation to the qualifications that the sector/trade demands, and
  • it is better in relation to networks and job opportunities to take their internships in Denmark.

Another group who believes a study abroad may have a positive significance for job opportunities because

  • it sends a positive signal to the employer about the person’s general competences and about openness towards other cultures,
  • it signals willingness to move in order to learn new things,
  • it is a professional advantage in cases where some countries are better than Denmark in particular areas, and
  • it is useful for networks and job hunting in very international industries.

4.3. Rejection of study period abroad

The students who had not studied abroad were asked to take a stand on 18 statements on why they had not been abroad to study or on internship.

The most frequent reason to reject a stay abroad during the education is personal matters such as family, fiancé(e), and friends (69%).

Lack of financial resources follows as the second most frequent reason to reject a stay abroad (56%), while lack of desire for a stay abroad is the third most frequent reason to reject a stay abroad (40%).

The students who in the course of their study have started planning a stay abroad but gave it up state most frequently (63%) that the stay did not materialise because it was difficult to arrange. An almost equally important reason to cut short the planning of a stay abroad is lack of money/funds for the stay (57%), while lack of counselling and information from the educational institution is given as the third most important reason (39%).

Figure 4.3: Reasons why students reject a study abroad during their education


figure 4.3

Based on the survey, four distinct groups of students have been defined – each with their arguments for rejecting a stay abroad as a part of the studies.

4.4. Information and counselling about studies abroad

Only slightly more than half (54%) of the students who have not studied abroad state that it has been possible to take a credit-giving study period abroad as a part of their study. One third (33%) have answered that they do not know if it is possible to take a credit-giving study period abroad.

Less than half (43%) of the students who have not studied abroad state that they have been informed of the opportunities for studying abroad or going abroad on an internship for academic credit as a part of their education. Distinctly more (66%) state that they were informed of the opportunities for going on a credit-giving internship abroad.

The most frequent ways that students who did not study abroad received information were through an information meeting or through other students. Some of the answers are distinctly different for the university college students as compared to the academy profession students in the way that the former get information more frequently from other students (89%) and the international office (48%) whereas the latter more frequently get the information through teachers (70%).

The impressions from the interview survey are not quite as positive. The majority of the students who were interviewed expressed that only a modest quantity of information about the opportunities for studying abroad comes from the educational institutions, and there is a general agreement that much more could easily be done to encourage the students to go abroad – in terms of practical information and positive testimonials about why one should go and how it will benefit professionalism, job opportunities, and personal development. The students who have been abroad confirm this impression by noting that they themselves were very active in arranging the stay abroad as concerns seeking information, contacting the international office and the host institution as well as the practical arrangements of the stay.

There is a general agreement that much more could easily be done to encourage the students to go abroad – in terms of practical information and positive testimonials about why one should go and how it will benefit professionalism, job opportunities, and personal development.

Nearly nine of ten respondents (87%) who had completed a study period abroad had to submit a report about the stay to the home of study. Somewhat less (45%) held a presentation on the professional benefits they had had for students or teachers, and many students (65%) had the opportunity to pass on the experience from their stay abroad to other students who were going abroad.

32-41% of the students who have studied abroad state that they have neither sought counselling from teachers, student counsellors, fellow students, nor the international office. Among the students who have sought counselling, the satisfaction with the counselling from fellow students was the highest (72%).

Figure 4.4: Sources of information about the opportunity for studying abroad


figure 4.4

4.1. Reasons for going abroad to study

When asking the students what are the reasons they wanted to go abroad to study, cultural or intercultural motives weigh the most. Over 90% of the students give as the reason for a stay abroad that it would be interesting to study or work in a foreign environment, while 85% bring out living in another culture as the most important reason.

The students also give as a reason the wish for variety in the education programme as an important reason to go abroad; this reason is given by 76% of the respondents. A good 50% of the students mention better career opportunities in Denmark and abroad as a reason.

The greatest difference across the academic fields is in the evaluation of whether a stay abroad will lead to better career opportunities in Denmark and abroad.

81% of the students in technical education programmes motivate their study abroad by its leading to better career opportunities in Denmark, while the same is the case for 78% of the students in commercial education programmes and 63% of the students in the IT programmes. Career opportunities abroad are also rated high as a reason for the students in the technical education programmes to study abroad (78%), in the commercial education programmes (78%), and in the IT education programmes (75%).

Conversely, better career opportunities are rated low by students in the pedagogy and health professional education programmes. 32% of the students of pedagogy give better career opportunities abroad as the reason for studying abroad as do 46% of the health professional students. 42% of the students of pedagogy give better career opportunities in Denmark as the reason for studying abroad, and so do 47% of the health professional students.

Figure 4.1: Reasons for study periods abroad
figur 4.1

4.2. Benefits and thoughts about study periods abroad

The students who had been abroad as a part of their education were asked to name the three most important things about their stay abroad.

The highest rated benefits among the students are ‘experience studying/ working in other education/work environments’ and ‘understanding other cultures’. As such, the motivation for students to go abroad to study – cultural and intercultural factors – are in keeping with the actual benefits the students report having obtained from the study periods abroad.

Figure 4.2: Benefits of study periods abroad
figur 4.2

There are no major fluctuations of the benefits from a stay abroad across the academic fields. Yet, students in commercial education programmes put better language skills as the second most important benefit of a stay abroad (50%), whereas it is the fourth most important benefit for students in technical education programmes (38%). On the other hand, with 39% respectively 37%, the health profession and pedagogy students value a fresh view of their own education/profession higher than the average.

In the qualitative survey, many students point out that they have strengthened or obtained new personal competences in the course of their stay abroad. The students express that the combination of having to use one’s professionalism in a foreign country, in a foreign language, and under new cultural and social forms strengthens in particular competences such as: independence, interpersonal skills, tolerance, networking, broadness, flexibility, self-knowledge, self-reliance, and initiative.

“I came to understand that there are other ways of doing things. When you have been schooled in one way, you tend to see it as the only way. And it is nice to see that things can work other ways as well; that there are other theorists and ways to view the things.”
Nursing student


“We, the Danes, soon found out that it was always we who took the initiatives in the different study groups. And we became known for it as Danes: That it was us who kept the strings straight. I learned to use new competences and skills as the one who held the strings. ”
Engineering student

The students who have been abroad are generally very satisfied with the stay abroad. Only 8% of the students who studied abroad regretted or highly regretted their stay abroad, whereas as many as 33% of the students who did not go abroad to study subsequently regretted not doing so.

Interviews of the students who had not studied abroad as a part of their education showed that there are different thoughts about which benefits, further course of study, and future career opportunities result from a stay abroad. The thoughts may be summed up in three bullets:

  1. Personal development
    A stay abroad is associated with personal development in the way that you get to know yourself better, challenge yourself, test yourself, and you have to go beyond usual ways of doing things. Furthermore, a stay abroad relates to positive personal qualities such as: independence, initiative, standing on ones own feet, maturity, flexibility, self-confidence, readiness for change, courage, personal energy, social competences, decision-making, willingness to learn new things, risk-taking.
  2. Cultural understanding
    A stay abroad is also associated with added cultural insight, which can be an advantage abroad and at the return to Denmark. In a world of growing globalisation, it is an advantage to have experience from foreign countries and cultures and with that the understanding and experience that not all people view the world in the light of the same norms as we do in this country.
  3. Professional improvement/ professional opportunities
    A stay abroad is associated with both advantages and disadvantages when it comes to professional and academic benefits. For some, a stay abroad generally gives a better professional understanding and may lead to a wider perspective of your own practice and professionalism because you get the opportunity to compare your Danish profession and methods with corresponding foreign ones. For others, the quality of foreign study programmes is not as high as in Denmark, and a stay abroad therefore means that the student falls behind in the study and/or misses knowledge.

Study abroad in relation to future career and job hunting Only a few students consider that having studied abroad as a part of their education is important in relation to finding a good job after graduation. Only 3-4% say they believe a stay abroad during their education is among the most important factors.

When asked directly, 34% of the students who have not studied abroad during the course of their education answer that a credit-giving study period or internship abroad would have given them better job opportunities. 65% do not believe that it would have had any influence on their job opportunities. Not surprisingly, the students who have been abroad in connection with their education consider study periods and internships abroad more important for subsequent job opportunities than the students who have not been abroad do.

There are markedly more students in the academy profession and professional bachelor programmes who are of the opinion that a study or internship abroad would have given them better job opportunities (53-54%). This difference probably does not have to do with the type of education but rather with the academic subject area since the academy profession education programmes traditionally are in the private enterprise areas such as technical and commercial trades, whereas professional bachelor programmes traditionally and largely have addressed public work areas such as health professions and pedagogy.

In fact, a closer look at the figures for the individual academic fields shows that especially students in the commercial education programmes estimate that a study period or internship abroad could have improved their job opportunities (54-56%), whereas students in the health profession and pedagogy education programmes largely believe that a study period or internship would not have influenced their job opportunities.

Interviews with the students show that they fall in one of two groups:

One group who believes a study abroad has no significance for job opportunities because

  • there is a large labour shortage in their sectors/professions (especially pedagogy, education, and nursing students),
  • the Danish education is sufficient in relation to the qualifications that the sector/trade demands, and
  • it is better in relation to networks and job opportunities to take their internships in Denmark.

Another group who believes a study abroad may have a positive significance for job opportunities because

  • it sends a positive signal to the employer about the person’s general competences and about openness towards other cultures,
  • it signals willingness to move in order to learn new things,
  • it is a professional advantage in cases where some countries are better than Denmark in particular areas, and
  • it is useful for networks and job hunting in very international industries.

4.3. Rejection of study period abroad

The students who had not studied abroad were asked to take a stand on 18 statements on why they had not been abroad to study or on internship.

The most frequent reason to reject a stay abroad during the education is personal matters such as family, fiancé(e), and friends (69%).

Lack of financial resources follows as the second most frequent reason to reject a stay abroad (56%), while lack of desire for a stay abroad is the third most frequent reason to reject a stay abroad (40%).

The students who in the course of their study have started planning a stay abroad but gave it up state most frequently (63%) that the stay did not materialise because it was difficult to arrange. An almost equally important reason to cut short the planning of a stay abroad is lack of money/funds for the stay (57%), while lack of counselling and information from the educational institution is given as the third most important reason (39%).

Figure 4.3: Reasons why students reject a study abroad during their education


figure 4.3

Based on the survey, four distinct groups of students have been defined – each with their arguments for rejecting a stay abroad as a part of the studies.

4.4. Information and counselling about studies abroad

Only slightly more than half (54%) of the students who have not studied abroad state that it has been possible to take a credit-giving study period abroad as a part of their study. One third (33%) have answered that they do not know if it is possible to take a credit-giving study period abroad.

Less than half (43%) of the students who have not studied abroad state that they have been informed of the opportunities for studying abroad or going abroad on an internship for academic credit as a part of their education. Distinctly more (66%) state that they were informed of the opportunities for going on a credit-giving internship abroad.

The most frequent ways that students who did not study abroad received information were through an information meeting or through other students. Some of the answers are distinctly different for the university college students as compared to the academy profession students in the way that the former get information more frequently from other students (89%) and the international office (48%) whereas the latter more frequently get the information through teachers (70%).

The impressions from the interview survey are not quite as positive. The majority of the students who were interviewed expressed that only a modest quantity of information about the opportunities for studying abroad comes from the educational institutions, and there is a general agreement that much more could easily be done to encourage the students to go abroad – in terms of practical information and positive testimonials about why one should go and how it will benefit professionalism, job opportunities, and personal development. The students who have been abroad confirm this impression by noting that they themselves were very active in arranging the stay abroad as concerns seeking information, contacting the international office and the host institution as well as the practical arrangements of the stay.

There is a general agreement that much more could easily be done to encourage the students to go abroad – in terms of practical information and positive testimonials about why one should go and how it will benefit professionalism, job opportunities, and personal development.

Nearly nine of ten respondents (87%) who had completed a study period abroad had to submit a report about the stay to the home of study. Somewhat less (45%) held a presentation on the professional benefits they had had for students or teachers, and many students (65%) had the opportunity to pass on the experience from their stay abroad to other students who were going abroad.

32-41% of the students who have studied abroad state that they have neither sought counselling from teachers, student counsellors, fellow students, nor the international office. Among the students who have sought counselling, the satisfaction with the counselling from fellow students was the highest (72%).

Figure 4.4: Sources of information about the opportunity for studying abroad


figure 4.4

5. The educational institutions

The educational institutions are key players when it comes to making more Danish students go abroad as a part of their studies. It is therefore of interest to take a look at how the institutions work with and prioritise internationalisation today, as well as it is relevant to bring international experience in play as inspiration and workable models of which Danish institutions may make use.

This chapter is a summary of a survey of the internationalisation work of the academies of professional higher education and university colleges and a mapping of international models for organising the internationalisation effort.

5.1. The internationalisation work of the institutions

Increased internationalisation, measured by more studies abroad, relies on whether or not the education and the school of education consider it important to acquire international experience.

On this background, it was surveyed how the educational institutions (heads, international coordinators, and teachers) view studies abroad.

Survey of the internationalisation work of academies of professional higher education and university colleges

The purpose of the survey is to gauge the internationalisation at the Danish university colleges and academies of professional higher education in order to understand how the work with internationalisation, in particular student studies abroad, may be strengthened by finding answers to the following questions:

  • How are the students informed of the opportunities for a period of study abroad?
  • In the opinion of the employees of the educational institutions, what are the benefits to the students studying abroad, and what are the main obstacles to students’ going to study abroad?
  • How is the international experience of the students used in the teaching, and how are international elements included in the lessons?
  • How visible is an internationalisation strategy, if existing, and how is the work to support mobility prioritised at the educational institutions?
  • Other than mobility, what international activities are being worked on, and is there national and international collaboration with focus on internships in the educational institutions?

The survey was carried out by means of a questionnaire addressed to all teachers at university colleges and academies of professional higher education, all heads of studies/heads of department, and heads of international offices as well as rectors of all university colleges and academies of professional higher education.

The survey was carried out by Danish Agency for International Education with UNI•C collecting the data:
Internationalisation work at academies of professional higher education and university colleges (2009) Danish Agency for International Education.

Figure 5.1: Is outbound student and teacher mobility prioritised in the education where you teach/in your educational institution?


figure 5.1

The institutions’ prioritisation of studies abroad

When asking teachers, international coordinators, and heads collectively if they perceive that outbound student and teacher mobility is prioritised in their education programmes, it turns out that they see student mobility as being prioritised far higher than teacher mobility and that both are prioritised higher by the university colleges than by the academies of professional higher education.

The survey also shows that student mobility is the activity that most heads and rectors (90%) at academies of professional higher education and university colleges say that they work on as a part of the institution’s international activities.

Many respondents answer that they do active work by participating in international fora, by attracting international students, with teacher mobility, and with study programmes, modules, subjects, and courses taught in English.

Figure 5.2: What international activities is the educational institution working on today?


figure 5.2

The same activities are rated the highest when heads and rectors say which international fields the educational institution would like to enhance. In this connection, it is interesting that there is a great interest in developing binding cooperation with foreign institutions (78%), in attracting international teachers to the institution (78%), and in virtual collaboration with teachers and students abroad (62-64%).

Information about study abroad

The survey shows that the majority by far of the employees at the educational institutions are of the opinion that it is possible for the students to go on internships or study abroad as a part of their education, and that it is relatively easy to arrange.

Moreover, the survey shows that employees at the educational institutions believe that, for the students, the primary source of information about studies abroad is what they hear from other students by word of mouth (83%). Introductory presentations from international coordinators (81%) and information from the international office (81%) are considered good sources of information about studies abroad.

On the other hand, there are fewer teachers who on their own initiative inform about studies abroad as a part of the education. 31%, respectively 26%, do not inform of the opportunities for study periods or internships abroad.

Moreover, 21% and 27%, respectively, of the teachers reply that they do not recommend the students to go on an internship or take a study period abroad. Many of them give as a reason that they believe it is the job of the international office to inform of studies abroad. Others were not previously mindful that it could be relevant for them to recommend a study abroad. Many of the teachers express that they do not think a study period abroad is a good idea because, in their opinion, the benefits are not sufficient compared to the Danish study program, or because they will only recommend a study abroad to the best students.

The institutions’ assessments of benefits and obstacles to study periods abroad

Generally, the employees at the educational institutions consider that the most significant benefits obtained by students from a stay abroad are:

  • Great personal benefits
  • Improved linguistic qualifications
  • Ability to motivate others to go abroad to study
  • Improved intercultural competences.

Several respondents point out that it can be difficult to define the benefits from a stay abroad since it typically has to do with self-esteem and a reflective distance to Danish practice and to one’s own practice and as such with a better academic foundation.

It is interesting that when the employees of the educational institutions are asked about obstacles to studies abroad, the largest obstacle is deemed to be that the teachers themselves have limited international experience. The five most significant obstacles are seen as:

  • The teachers themselves have limited international experience (61%)
  • Personal matters such as family, friends, fiancé(e)s (54%)
  • Practical circumstances such as hiring out their habitation and spare-time occupation (38%)
  • The students cannot afford it (36%)
  • Teachers do not encourage stays abroad (30%)

Furthermore, the employees of the educational institutions were asked how to make more students go abroad for a study period or an internship.

Generally, there is a broad approval of most of the options, and it is only the propositions that have to do with changes of the study programme and the ministerial order regarding the education that nearly half of the respondents cannot endorse.

Figure 5.3: How to make more students go abroad for study periods or internships


figure 5.3

5.2. Models for organising the internationalisation effort

The educational institutions’ approach to and organisation of the internationalisation effort influence how the effort is focused and to what results this effort eventually leads.

On this background, a mapping has been made of models for organising the internationalisation effort with a view to presenting various paradigms for the institutions’ internationalisation work that may contribute to inspiring, systematising, and create increased awareness of the approach of the individual institution to the internationalisation work.

Approaches to internationalisation

The approaches to internationalisation vary widely and are affected by many factors. Previously, primarily academic ambitions and motives have driven the internationalisation efforts of the institutions whereas the ambition to build a worldwide reputation and to cultivate alternative sources of income have become more prominent as motive powers in recent years. However, a renewed focus on strengthening the international and intercultural insight and competences of the students and teachers is also seen.

Mapping of models for organising the internationalisation effort

The purpose of the mapping is to present models and principles for the organisation of the internationalisation effort of tertiary educational institutions on the basis of research results and international experience.

The mapping presents various internationalisation models, including various approaches to, dimensions of, and indicators for internationalisation together with a review of Dutch and Norwegian experiences viewed in relation to various organisation models.

The mapping is developed on the basis of reports prepared within the framework of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE), and the Nordic Quality Assurance Network in Higher Education (NOQA). In addition, recent research in internationalisation has been involved.

The survey was carried out by The Danish Evaluation Institute (EVA): Models for organising the internationalisation effort (2009), EVA.


Table 5.1: Approaches to internationalisation

Activity focused

Focus on activities such as exchange stays, academic programmes, institutional contacts, and development projects.

Result oriented

Focus on desired results, e.g. student competences, more international agreements, new opportunities for development and research cooperation, etc.

Rationale based

Focus on wishes to enhance cultural diversity, raise academic standards, branding, etc.

Process oriented

Focus on gradually integrating the international dimension into the fields of practice of the educational institution.

Focused on domestic efforts

Focus on establishing an international ambience on campus.

Focused on transnational efforts

Focus on offering the education programmes of the institution across country boundaries – either offered abroad or through collaboration with foreign institutions on joint study programmes.

In other words, the educational institutions’ motives for internationalisation may be multiple. The overview below lists miscellaneous types of institutional approaches to internationalisation; they are not mutually exclusive.

There are different dimensions within the various approaches that each educational institution may choose to apply to the work of developing and integrating international activities in practice. For example, such dimensions could be:

  • Mobility for students and teachers
  • Joint study programmes
  • International contacts
  • Partnerships and projects
  • International programmes
  • International research initiatives
  • “Internationalisation at Home”
  • Offers of international counselling
  • Grant schemes
  • Arrangement of internships abroad
  • Offers of education programmes/ degrees abroad.

The majority by far of the educational institutions have prepared an internationalisation strategy that lay down the internationalisation goals of the institution in different ways. Internationalisation strategies serve as guidelines for the internationalisation effort and may be drawn up at widely different levels of ambition.

It is possible to distinguish between three different types of institutional internationalisation strategies:

  • Institutional strategic plans
  • Internationalisation documents
  • Departmental plans

Most of the educational institutions begin by establishing institutional strategic plans as a means of identifying the institution’s overall objectives of internationalisation and then go on to develop more operational internationalisation documents and possibly also departmental plans. Some institutions prefer overall institutional strategic plans because they create a consolidated vision and give great flexibility in the implementation. Internationalisation documents are better suited when the institutions prefer a precise and detailed planning. For some educational institutions, a combination of these types is ideal, for example when institutional strategic plans are combined with departmental plans in order to help the individual fields of study in creating an explicit connection between the overall visions of the institution and the actual practice.

Research shows that the uniquely most significant factor in supporting internationalisation in an institution is that the management is committed and actively supports the activities. The absence of managerial support is a frequent and significant cause when internationalisation is not prioritised in an institution or in parts of the institution. Successful implementation of international initiatives requires in particular that the body of teachers is involved in the undertakings because they are the ones who first and foremost shall promote the international dimension to the students.

Indicators for internationalisation

The degree of internationalisation in the individual educational institution may be difficult to measure.

One way of measuring the degree of internationalisation is by setting up indicators by which each institution may evaluate itself. Indicators may contribute to making the internationalisation effort measurable and make the different dimensions of internationalisation visible.

Below there is a list of indicators that have been developed in a European project within the framework of the Bologna Process in order to ensure that the educational institutions may pursue their own strategies for internationalisation without being squeezed into a common and predefined template and yet be compared with others.

Indicators for internationalisation of institutions of higher education 14
  1. Strategy and management
    • Does the educational institution have a strategy for internationalisation?
    • Do the faculties/departments have plans of action for internationalisation?
  2. Organisation and finances
    • Does the educational institution have earmarked funds for internationalisation?
    • How many employees with internationalisation as their primary area of work does the institution have?
  3. Institutional agreements regarding internationalisation and institutional anchoring
    • How many agreements does the educational institution have?
    • How many agreements resulted in activities in the past year?
  4. Outbound and inbound student mobility
    • Does the educational institution have a strategy for increasing the number of outbound students?
    • What share of the total student population went abroad in the past study year, per destination country and per academic field?
    • Does the institution have a strategy for recruiting international students? • What share of the total student population were inbound students in the past academic year, per destination country and per academic field?
  5. Information and profiling
    • Does the institution have a plan for international profiling?
    • Is the information available in English (including a web site in English)?
  6. Study programmes and cooperation on education programmes and degrees
  7. Employees and teachers
  8. Administration and infrastructure

14 Prepared as a part of a European project with participation of 12 institutions from seven countries with a view to develop indicators of internationalisation. SIU (Det norske Senter for internasjonaliserg af høgre utdanning, the Norwegian Centre for internationalisation of higher education).

Models for organising the internationalisation effort

The way the educational institutions organise their internationalisation efforts may by and large be spread out on two axes. The horizontal axis shows the degree of strategic anchoring of the internationalisation effort and goes from fully integrated internationalisation to individual, independently delimited internationalisation activities (ad hoc). The vertical axis shows the degree of centralisation of the internationalisation and goes from all the activities being rooted in one place in the institution to the situation where the activities exclusively take place in decentralised units.

Model for organising the internationalisation effort 15

Model

15 The horizontal axis shows the degree of strategic anchoring of the internationalisation effort. The vertical axis shows the degree of centralisation of the internationalisation effort.

Table 5.2: Models for organising the internationalisation effort

Integrated/centralised

This is the most structured model that places the highest demands on planning in the educational institution. The internationalisation has been carefully systematised and integrated into the strategic foundation of the institution. The efforts have been rooted in a central unit, typically an international office which has the responsibility to launch new initiatives and enter and maintain agreements and collaboration relations. Frequently, a person in top management has the direct responsibility for the international work of the institution. The challenge for institutions that follow this model is to ensure that the academic environments feel that they are involved and therefore contribute to the implementation of the initiatives coming from central quarters.

Integrated/decentralised

Educational institutions that follow this model also integrate their international ambitions in the key strategic documents but leave the practical implementation to the individual units of the institution. There may be a central international office but it will typically focus on administrative and overall counselling tasks, whereas entering agreements and developing initiatives take place in the academic environments. The advantage of this kind of organisation is that the academic environments become directly committed to realising the institutional goals. On the other hand, there is the risk of budding and overlapping initiatives unless the academic environments coordinate with each other.

Ad hoc/centralised

Educational institutions that fall within this model are typically in one of two situations: Either they have just started building up their international activities and have therefore not yet reached the stage where they are ready to develop a proper strategy for internationalisation. Or they have chosen to concentrate on internationalisation in a few areas and do not feel that there is a need to embed them in the rest of the activities of the organisation. Centralisation of the activities would also be typical for a smaller institution. The benefit of this kind of organisation is that it gives a great flexibility combined with the facility of centralised control of the initiatives that are launched, whereas the particular challenge is the lack of a unified direction of the initiatives and the risk of losing the overview or to insufficient funding of the initiatives.

Ad hoc/decentralised

Educational institutions may fall in this category for widely different reasons. However, common to all of them is the lack of central control and direction of the international activities. The institutions may be characterised by anything from a high and wide level of activities to a total absence of international commitment. The advantage of this kind of organisation is that it allows a great freedom for ‘fiery souls’ who wish to do the job themselves, whereas the challenges are the absence of plans for the initiatives that may be launched in the academic environments and the lack of guarantee that they can be funded or coordinated.

5.1. The internationalisation work of the institutions

Increased internationalisation, measured by more studies abroad, relies on whether or not the education and the school of education consider it important to acquire international experience.

On this background, it was surveyed how the educational institutions (heads, international coordinators, and teachers) view studies abroad.

Survey of the internationalisation work of academies of professional higher education and university colleges

The purpose of the survey is to gauge the internationalisation at the Danish university colleges and academies of professional higher education in order to understand how the work with internationalisation, in particular student studies abroad, may be strengthened by finding answers to the following questions:

  • How are the students informed of the opportunities for a period of study abroad?
  • In the opinion of the employees of the educational institutions, what are the benefits to the students studying abroad, and what are the main obstacles to students’ going to study abroad?
  • How is the international experience of the students used in the teaching, and how are international elements included in the lessons?
  • How visible is an internationalisation strategy, if existing, and how is the work to support mobility prioritised at the educational institutions?
  • Other than mobility, what international activities are being worked on, and is there national and international collaboration with focus on internships in the educational institutions?

The survey was carried out by means of a questionnaire addressed to all teachers at university colleges and academies of professional higher education, all heads of studies/heads of department, and heads of international offices as well as rectors of all university colleges and academies of professional higher education.

The survey was carried out by Danish Agency for International Education with UNI•C collecting the data:
Internationalisation work at academies of professional higher education and university colleges (2009) Danish Agency for International Education.

Figure 5.1: Is outbound student and teacher mobility prioritised in the education where you teach/in your educational institution?


figure 5.1

The institutions’ prioritisation of studies abroad

When asking teachers, international coordinators, and heads collectively if they perceive that outbound student and teacher mobility is prioritised in their education programmes, it turns out that they see student mobility as being prioritised far higher than teacher mobility and that both are prioritised higher by the university colleges than by the academies of professional higher education.

The survey also shows that student mobility is the activity that most heads and rectors (90%) at academies of professional higher education and university colleges say that they work on as a part of the institution’s international activities.

Many respondents answer that they do active work by participating in international fora, by attracting international students, with teacher mobility, and with study programmes, modules, subjects, and courses taught in English.

Figure 5.2: What international activities is the educational institution working on today?


figure 5.2

The same activities are rated the highest when heads and rectors say which international fields the educational institution would like to enhance. In this connection, it is interesting that there is a great interest in developing binding cooperation with foreign institutions (78%), in attracting international teachers to the institution (78%), and in virtual collaboration with teachers and students abroad (62-64%).

Information about study abroad

The survey shows that the majority by far of the employees at the educational institutions are of the opinion that it is possible for the students to go on internships or study abroad as a part of their education, and that it is relatively easy to arrange.

Moreover, the survey shows that employees at the educational institutions believe that, for the students, the primary source of information about studies abroad is what they hear from other students by word of mouth (83%). Introductory presentations from international coordinators (81%) and information from the international office (81%) are considered good sources of information about studies abroad.

On the other hand, there are fewer teachers who on their own initiative inform about studies abroad as a part of the education. 31%, respectively 26%, do not inform of the opportunities for study periods or internships abroad.

Moreover, 21% and 27%, respectively, of the teachers reply that they do not recommend the students to go on an internship or take a study period abroad. Many of them give as a reason that they believe it is the job of the international office to inform of studies abroad. Others were not previously mindful that it could be relevant for them to recommend a study abroad. Many of the teachers express that they do not think a study period abroad is a good idea because, in their opinion, the benefits are not sufficient compared to the Danish study program, or because they will only recommend a study abroad to the best students.

The institutions’ assessments of benefits and obstacles to study periods abroad

Generally, the employees at the educational institutions consider that the most significant benefits obtained by students from a stay abroad are:

  • Great personal benefits
  • Improved linguistic qualifications
  • Ability to motivate others to go abroad to study
  • Improved intercultural competences.

Several respondents point out that it can be difficult to define the benefits from a stay abroad since it typically has to do with self-esteem and a reflective distance to Danish practice and to one’s own practice and as such with a better academic foundation.

It is interesting that when the employees of the educational institutions are asked about obstacles to studies abroad, the largest obstacle is deemed to be that the teachers themselves have limited international experience. The five most significant obstacles are seen as:

  • The teachers themselves have limited international experience (61%)
  • Personal matters such as family, friends, fiancé(e)s (54%)
  • Practical circumstances such as hiring out their habitation and spare-time occupation (38%)
  • The students cannot afford it (36%)
  • Teachers do not encourage stays abroad (30%)

Furthermore, the employees of the educational institutions were asked how to make more students go abroad for a study period or an internship.

Generally, there is a broad approval of most of the options, and it is only the propositions that have to do with changes of the study programme and the ministerial order regarding the education that nearly half of the respondents cannot endorse.

Figure 5.3: How to make more students go abroad for study periods or internships


figure 5.3

5.2. Models for organising the internationalisation effort

The educational institutions’ approach to and organisation of the internationalisation effort influence how the effort is focused and to what results this effort eventually leads.

On this background, a mapping has been made of models for organising the internationalisation effort with a view to presenting various paradigms for the institutions’ internationalisation work that may contribute to inspiring, systematising, and create increased awareness of the approach of the individual institution to the internationalisation work.

Approaches to internationalisation

The approaches to internationalisation vary widely and are affected by many factors. Previously, primarily academic ambitions and motives have driven the internationalisation efforts of the institutions whereas the ambition to build a worldwide reputation and to cultivate alternative sources of income have become more prominent as motive powers in recent years. However, a renewed focus on strengthening the international and intercultural insight and competences of the students and teachers is also seen.

Mapping of models for organising the internationalisation effort

The purpose of the mapping is to present models and principles for the organisation of the internationalisation effort of tertiary educational institutions on the basis of research results and international experience.

The mapping presents various internationalisation models, including various approaches to, dimensions of, and indicators for internationalisation together with a review of Dutch and Norwegian experiences viewed in relation to various organisation models.

The mapping is developed on the basis of reports prepared within the framework of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE), and the Nordic Quality Assurance Network in Higher Education (NOQA). In addition, recent research in internationalisation has been involved.

The survey was carried out by The Danish Evaluation Institute (EVA): Models for organising the internationalisation effort (2009), EVA.


Table 5.1: Approaches to internationalisation

Activity focused

Focus on activities such as exchange stays, academic programmes, institutional contacts, and development projects.

Result oriented

Focus on desired results, e.g. student competences, more international agreements, new opportunities for development and research cooperation, etc.

Rationale based

Focus on wishes to enhance cultural diversity, raise academic standards, branding, etc.

Process oriented

Focus on gradually integrating the international dimension into the fields of practice of the educational institution.

Focused on domestic efforts

Focus on establishing an international ambience on campus.

Focused on transnational efforts

Focus on offering the education programmes of the institution across country boundaries – either offered abroad or through collaboration with foreign institutions on joint study programmes.

In other words, the educational institutions’ motives for internationalisation may be multiple. The overview below lists miscellaneous types of institutional approaches to internationalisation; they are not mutually exclusive.

There are different dimensions within the various approaches that each educational institution may choose to apply to the work of developing and integrating international activities in practice. For example, such dimensions could be:

  • Mobility for students and teachers
  • Joint study programmes
  • International contacts
  • Partnerships and projects
  • International programmes
  • International research initiatives
  • “Internationalisation at Home”
  • Offers of international counselling
  • Grant schemes
  • Arrangement of internships abroad
  • Offers of education programmes/ degrees abroad.

The majority by far of the educational institutions have prepared an internationalisation strategy that lay down the internationalisation goals of the institution in different ways. Internationalisation strategies serve as guidelines for the internationalisation effort and may be drawn up at widely different levels of ambition.

It is possible to distinguish between three different types of institutional internationalisation strategies:

  • Institutional strategic plans
  • Internationalisation documents
  • Departmental plans

Most of the educational institutions begin by establishing institutional strategic plans as a means of identifying the institution’s overall objectives of internationalisation and then go on to develop more operational internationalisation documents and possibly also departmental plans. Some institutions prefer overall institutional strategic plans because they create a consolidated vision and give great flexibility in the implementation. Internationalisation documents are better suited when the institutions prefer a precise and detailed planning. For some educational institutions, a combination of these types is ideal, for example when institutional strategic plans are combined with departmental plans in order to help the individual fields of study in creating an explicit connection between the overall visions of the institution and the actual practice.

Research shows that the uniquely most significant factor in supporting internationalisation in an institution is that the management is committed and actively supports the activities. The absence of managerial support is a frequent and significant cause when internationalisation is not prioritised in an institution or in parts of the institution. Successful implementation of international initiatives requires in particular that the body of teachers is involved in the undertakings because they are the ones who first and foremost shall promote the international dimension to the students.

Indicators for internationalisation

The degree of internationalisation in the individual educational institution may be difficult to measure.

One way of measuring the degree of internationalisation is by setting up indicators by which each institution may evaluate itself. Indicators may contribute to making the internationalisation effort measurable and make the different dimensions of internationalisation visible.

Below there is a list of indicators that have been developed in a European project within the framework of the Bologna Process in order to ensure that the educational institutions may pursue their own strategies for internationalisation without being squeezed into a common and predefined template and yet be compared with others.

Indicators for internationalisation of institutions of higher education 14
  1. Strategy and management
    • Does the educational institution have a strategy for internationalisation?
    • Do the faculties/departments have plans of action for internationalisation?
  2. Organisation and finances
    • Does the educational institution have earmarked funds for internationalisation?
    • How many employees with internationalisation as their primary area of work does the institution have?
  3. Institutional agreements regarding internationalisation and institutional anchoring
    • How many agreements does the educational institution have?
    • How many agreements resulted in activities in the past year?
  4. Outbound and inbound student mobility
    • Does the educational institution have a strategy for increasing the number of outbound students?
    • What share of the total student population went abroad in the past study year, per destination country and per academic field?
    • Does the institution have a strategy for recruiting international students? • What share of the total student population were inbound students in the past academic year, per destination country and per academic field?
  5. Information and profiling
    • Does the institution have a plan for international profiling?
    • Is the information available in English (including a web site in English)?
  6. Study programmes and cooperation on education programmes and degrees
  7. Employees and teachers
  8. Administration and infrastructure

14 Prepared as a part of a European project with participation of 12 institutions from seven countries with a view to develop indicators of internationalisation. SIU (Det norske Senter for internasjonaliserg af høgre utdanning, the Norwegian Centre for internationalisation of higher education).

Models for organising the internationalisation effort

The way the educational institutions organise their internationalisation efforts may by and large be spread out on two axes. The horizontal axis shows the degree of strategic anchoring of the internationalisation effort and goes from fully integrated internationalisation to individual, independently delimited internationalisation activities (ad hoc). The vertical axis shows the degree of centralisation of the internationalisation and goes from all the activities being rooted in one place in the institution to the situation where the activities exclusively take place in decentralised units.

Model for organising the internationalisation effort 15

Model

15 The horizontal axis shows the degree of strategic anchoring of the internationalisation effort. The vertical axis shows the degree of centralisation of the internationalisation effort.

Table 5.2: Models for organising the internationalisation effort

Integrated/centralised

This is the most structured model that places the highest demands on planning in the educational institution. The internationalisation has been carefully systematised and integrated into the strategic foundation of the institution. The efforts have been rooted in a central unit, typically an international office which has the responsibility to launch new initiatives and enter and maintain agreements and collaboration relations. Frequently, a person in top management has the direct responsibility for the international work of the institution. The challenge for institutions that follow this model is to ensure that the academic environments feel that they are involved and therefore contribute to the implementation of the initiatives coming from central quarters.

Integrated/decentralised

Educational institutions that follow this model also integrate their international ambitions in the key strategic documents but leave the practical implementation to the individual units of the institution. There may be a central international office but it will typically focus on administrative and overall counselling tasks, whereas entering agreements and developing initiatives take place in the academic environments. The advantage of this kind of organisation is that the academic environments become directly committed to realising the institutional goals. On the other hand, there is the risk of budding and overlapping initiatives unless the academic environments coordinate with each other.

Ad hoc/centralised

Educational institutions that fall within this model are typically in one of two situations: Either they have just started building up their international activities and have therefore not yet reached the stage where they are ready to develop a proper strategy for internationalisation. Or they have chosen to concentrate on internationalisation in a few areas and do not feel that there is a need to embed them in the rest of the activities of the organisation. Centralisation of the activities would also be typical for a smaller institution. The benefit of this kind of organisation is that it gives a great flexibility combined with the facility of centralised control of the initiatives that are launched, whereas the particular challenge is the lack of a unified direction of the initiatives and the risk of losing the overview or to insufficient funding of the initiatives.

Ad hoc/decentralised

Educational institutions may fall in this category for widely different reasons. However, common to all of them is the lack of central control and direction of the international activities. The institutions may be characterised by anything from a high and wide level of activities to a total absence of international commitment. The advantage of this kind of organisation is that it allows a great freedom for ‘fiery souls’ who wish to do the job themselves, whereas the challenges are the absence of plans for the initiatives that may be launched in the academic environments and the lack of guarantee that they can be funded or coordinated.

6. The labour market

The primary aim of the academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes is to fulfil the demand for qualified work power in the private and public sectors. Consequently, the education programmes shall qualify the students to perform concrete professional functions in the labour market.

The specific aim at the labour market means that the market’s appreciation of international competences is an important factor for the students’ choosing or rejecting a study abroad.

Besides, the enterprises may constitute an unexploited potential in relation to helping educational institutions finding and establishing internships abroad.

This chapter is a summary of a survey of the demand for international competences in the labour market and the interest in establishing internships abroad.

Survey of the demand for international competences in the labour market and the interest in establishing internships abroad

The purpose of the survey is

  • to represent the customers’ view of stays abroad during the studies, i.e. to uncover the demand among private and public enterprises for international competences of graduates with an academy profession and professional bachelor education,
  • to represent the interest of the enterprises in actively establishing internships abroad.

This includes

  • uncovering the customers’ comprehension and definition of the concept of international competences,
  • evaluating international competences in relation to other competences in demand,
  • acquiring insight into the international challenges in the private and public enterprises in the years to come. The survey is based on interviews with 26 public and private enterprises.

The enterprises have been selected on the basis of a preliminary questionnaire survey with the purpose of obtaining data in relation to the survey and to screen and recruit relevant enterprises. A small number of enterprises have been selected through FBE’s network. A number of criteria have been taken into account when selecting the enterprises: industry, educational field, geography, internship experience, etc.

The survey was carried out by FBE – Forum for Business Education: The demand for international competences and the interest in establishing internship positions abroad – what do the public and private enterprises say? (2009), FBE.

6.1. The demand for international competences

Sløret mand i forgrunden - kvinde læser i baggrunden

Overall, the survey shows that international experience does not have the highest priority when the enterprises hire new employees; international experience does, however, carry some importance in the hiring process.

Among the private enterprises, 14% answer that international experience has great or very great importance while 33% ascribe some importance to international competences. Approximately one half (53%) express the opinion that international experience has less or no importance.

Among the public enterprises, 8% answer that international experience has great or very great importance while 17% ascribe some importance to international competences. Three of four (74%) of the public enterprises say that international experience has less or no importance for taking on new employees.

This picture is supported by interviews of selected enterprises showing that international competences are ranked low when recruiting employees with an academy profession or professional bachelor education, whereas the academic and personal competences are ranked high. However, international experience and competences are frequently seen as an advantage for the applicants, yet these competences rarely enter explicitly into the recruiting process. Social and personal competences and prior employment are usually more important than international competences and experience. This also has to do with the fact that international experience and competences are rarely named in the description of the job position being filled.

Not surprisingly, export-oriented enterprises attach greater importance to international competences than do other enterprises. In general, the enterprises may be divided into three main groups according to their demand for international experience and competences:

  1. Public enterprises
  2. Private not export-oriented enterprises
  3. Private export-oriented enterprises

The internationalisation and the requirement for international experience and competences show up at two levels:

  • Practical, specific, and knowledge-based
    The enterprises ask for international competences in relation to foreign cooperation partners and trade because they are needed to perform a certain function in an enterprise.
  • Inspiration, orientation, and mindset
    Here, the enterprises ask for international competences to get professional inspiration to new methods or a different view of other nationalities – competences that may contribute positively both for the group of employees and for the users of the services of the enterprise.

It is a key point that if the customers are to demand and appreciate the international experience and competences of the graduates, the need should first be defined and expressed internally in the enterprise, and this is rarely the case. International experience and competences of an applicant are usually viewed as a bonus but not as a necessity. Yet others see it as a matter of course that an applicant has international experience and competences.

How do the enterprises perceive ‘international competences’?

It is one thing what weight the enterprises put on international competences when recruiting new employees; it is a different matter what the enterprises understand by international competences.

It is noteworthy that a concrete skill such as oral language skills is ranked high in both sectors. Overall, however, it is the softer, intercultural competences that the employers connect with international competences.

Personal competences such as independence and personal drive are further down the lists. A majority of the enterprises gives as the reason that competences in this category may just as well be acquired in Denmark. Personal, social, and professional competences, on the other hand, are valued the highest when the enterprises are asked to assess which competences are the most important when hiring new employees with an academy profession or professional bachelor education.

This is remarkable considering that the enterprises generally agree that young people become more mature when going abroad as a part of their study. Regarding internships, the enterprises say that a stay abroad shows maturity, personal drive and independence, and there is a general agreement that it is good for young people to learn to stand on their own feet and manage for themselves.

The public enterprises estimate that the greatest added value of an internship abroad is that the young people get a new, positive view of the conditions in Denmark. They believe it makes a great impression on the students to see the conditions under which their profession is exercised in other countries, and this may contribute positively to a reflection over ones own professionalism and an increased awareness of the conditions in Denmark.

How is internationalisation experienced?

The survey shows that internationalisation is a prerequisite for the private sector to compete globally, whereas internationalisation in public enterprises is often supported by ‘fiery souls’ and personal commitment.

The public enterprises say that the public sector is affected increasingly by the internationalisation in various ways. Among other things, the internationalisation is felt in terms of increased documentation requirements. In many places, they are preoccupied with the internationalisation as an important source of inspiration. It is important to know how similar welfare problems are solved in other countries. Many public enterprises emphasise the importance of their employees’ understanding other cultures because the authorities also serve citizens who are not ethnic Danes. At the same time, the public services shall also cater to the groups in society who by virtue of their professional lives become increasingly internationalised in their style of living and who, for instance, need day-care and other local government services with flexible hours.

Private enterprises
  1. Ability to collaborate with foreign colleagues
  2. Oral language skills
  3. Acceptance of cultural differences
  4. Intercultural communication
  5. Global perspective, not just national thinking
  6. Written language skills
  7. International professional network
  8. Cultural understanding
  9. Knowledge of international trade and finances
  10. Personal drive
  11. Readiness for change
  12. Good collaborating skills
  13. Independence
  14. Greater professionalism
  15. Knowledge of international project management

Public enterprises
  1. Oral language skills
  2. Readiness for change
  3. Ability to collaborate with foreign colleagues
  4. Intercultural communication
  5. Written language skills
  6. Good collaborating skills
  7. Acceptance of cultural differences
  8. Global perspective, not just national thinking
  9. Independence
  10. Cultural understanding
  11. International professional network
  12. Personal drive
  13. Greater professionalism
  14. Knowledge of international trade and finances
  15. Knowledge of international project management

6.2. Interest in actively contributing to internship positions abroad

An internship is a compulsory part of the academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes, and it may be an obvious opportunity for the students to go abroad.

It is therefore relevant to ask the enterprises how they view internships abroad and to what extent the enterprises are interested in actively contributing to the establishment of internships abroad for students from Denmark.

In a questionnaire survey, only 16% of the private enterprises answer yes to the question if the institution would be interested in arranging internships abroad, whereas it is the case for 25% of the public enterprises.

Most of the interviewed enterprises viewed internships abroad very positively, and many believe that the students benefit greatly from travelling out in the world, particularly with respect to maturity and independence.

Many enterprises express that they would use their network and international contacts to establish internships abroad.

In practice, however, not many of the interviewed enterprises participate actively in establishing internship positions abroad. The reasons given by the enterprises for not participating actively may be summarised under the following headings:

  • Lack of knowledge, help, and information: Often, the enterprises do not know where and whom to address to obtain information about internships abroad. Several ask for a central administrative organ.
  • Absence of calls: Several enterprises say they have never been contacted by educational institutions or students.
  • The frames are too narrow: Many enterprises wish for greater flexibility in the organisation of internships.
  • Absence of academic focus during the internship abroad: A number of enterprises call for a concretisation of what the students really learn in an internship abroad.
  • The students are discriminatory/small cohorts: Many enterprises experience that the students are discriminatory and particular about the countries in which they want their internship.
  • Absence of tradition: The majority of the enterprises clearly express that they do not have a tradition for establishing internships abroad.
Table 6.1: How do the enterprises experience internationalisation?

Private sector

  • Increased price competition
  • Global economy
  • Increased pressure on wages
  • Lack of specialised work power
  • Larger market, new customers

Public sector

  • Increased documentation requirements
  • Demands from the citizens for more individualised and flexible services
  • Tightened requirements for formal education (in notices of open positions for educators etc.)

Common to both sectors

  • Increased professional specialisation and demand for higher educational level
  • Better language skills
  • Demand for increased flexibility – you must wear many hats
  • Increased focus on personality and collaboration skills
  • New global mix of employees

6.1. The demand for international competences

Sløret mand i forgrunden - kvinde læser i baggrunden

Overall, the survey shows that international experience does not have the highest priority when the enterprises hire new employees; international experience does, however, carry some importance in the hiring process.

Among the private enterprises, 14% answer that international experience has great or very great importance while 33% ascribe some importance to international competences. Approximately one half (53%) express the opinion that international experience has less or no importance.

Among the public enterprises, 8% answer that international experience has great or very great importance while 17% ascribe some importance to international competences. Three of four (74%) of the public enterprises say that international experience has less or no importance for taking on new employees.

This picture is supported by interviews of selected enterprises showing that international competences are ranked low when recruiting employees with an academy profession or professional bachelor education, whereas the academic and personal competences are ranked high. However, international experience and competences are frequently seen as an advantage for the applicants, yet these competences rarely enter explicitly into the recruiting process. Social and personal competences and prior employment are usually more important than international competences and experience. This also has to do with the fact that international experience and competences are rarely named in the description of the job position being filled.

Not surprisingly, export-oriented enterprises attach greater importance to international competences than do other enterprises. In general, the enterprises may be divided into three main groups according to their demand for international experience and competences:

  1. Public enterprises
  2. Private not export-oriented enterprises
  3. Private export-oriented enterprises

The internationalisation and the requirement for international experience and competences show up at two levels:

  • Practical, specific, and knowledge-based
    The enterprises ask for international competences in relation to foreign cooperation partners and trade because they are needed to perform a certain function in an enterprise.
  • Inspiration, orientation, and mindset
    Here, the enterprises ask for international competences to get professional inspiration to new methods or a different view of other nationalities – competences that may contribute positively both for the group of employees and for the users of the services of the enterprise.

It is a key point that if the customers are to demand and appreciate the international experience and competences of the graduates, the need should first be defined and expressed internally in the enterprise, and this is rarely the case. International experience and competences of an applicant are usually viewed as a bonus but not as a necessity. Yet others see it as a matter of course that an applicant has international experience and competences.

How do the enterprises perceive ‘international competences’?

It is one thing what weight the enterprises put on international competences when recruiting new employees; it is a different matter what the enterprises understand by international competences.

It is noteworthy that a concrete skill such as oral language skills is ranked high in both sectors. Overall, however, it is the softer, intercultural competences that the employers connect with international competences.

Personal competences such as independence and personal drive are further down the lists. A majority of the enterprises gives as the reason that competences in this category may just as well be acquired in Denmark. Personal, social, and professional competences, on the other hand, are valued the highest when the enterprises are asked to assess which competences are the most important when hiring new employees with an academy profession or professional bachelor education.

This is remarkable considering that the enterprises generally agree that young people become more mature when going abroad as a part of their study. Regarding internships, the enterprises say that a stay abroad shows maturity, personal drive and independence, and there is a general agreement that it is good for young people to learn to stand on their own feet and manage for themselves.

The public enterprises estimate that the greatest added value of an internship abroad is that the young people get a new, positive view of the conditions in Denmark. They believe it makes a great impression on the students to see the conditions under which their profession is exercised in other countries, and this may contribute positively to a reflection over ones own professionalism and an increased awareness of the conditions in Denmark.

How is internationalisation experienced?

The survey shows that internationalisation is a prerequisite for the private sector to compete globally, whereas internationalisation in public enterprises is often supported by ‘fiery souls’ and personal commitment.

The public enterprises say that the public sector is affected increasingly by the internationalisation in various ways. Among other things, the internationalisation is felt in terms of increased documentation requirements. In many places, they are preoccupied with the internationalisation as an important source of inspiration. It is important to know how similar welfare problems are solved in other countries. Many public enterprises emphasise the importance of their employees’ understanding other cultures because the authorities also serve citizens who are not ethnic Danes. At the same time, the public services shall also cater to the groups in society who by virtue of their professional lives become increasingly internationalised in their style of living and who, for instance, need day-care and other local government services with flexible hours.

Private enterprises
  1. Ability to collaborate with foreign colleagues
  2. Oral language skills
  3. Acceptance of cultural differences
  4. Intercultural communication
  5. Global perspective, not just national thinking
  6. Written language skills
  7. International professional network
  8. Cultural understanding
  9. Knowledge of international trade and finances
  10. Personal drive
  11. Readiness for change
  12. Good collaborating skills
  13. Independence
  14. Greater professionalism
  15. Knowledge of international project management

Public enterprises
  1. Oral language skills
  2. Readiness for change
  3. Ability to collaborate with foreign colleagues
  4. Intercultural communication
  5. Written language skills
  6. Good collaborating skills
  7. Acceptance of cultural differences
  8. Global perspective, not just national thinking
  9. Independence
  10. Cultural understanding
  11. International professional network
  12. Personal drive
  13. Greater professionalism
  14. Knowledge of international trade and finances
  15. Knowledge of international project management

6.2. Interest in actively contributing to internship positions abroad

An internship is a compulsory part of the academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes, and it may be an obvious opportunity for the students to go abroad.

It is therefore relevant to ask the enterprises how they view internships abroad and to what extent the enterprises are interested in actively contributing to the establishment of internships abroad for students from Denmark.

In a questionnaire survey, only 16% of the private enterprises answer yes to the question if the institution would be interested in arranging internships abroad, whereas it is the case for 25% of the public enterprises.

Most of the interviewed enterprises viewed internships abroad very positively, and many believe that the students benefit greatly from travelling out in the world, particularly with respect to maturity and independence.

Many enterprises express that they would use their network and international contacts to establish internships abroad.

In practice, however, not many of the interviewed enterprises participate actively in establishing internship positions abroad. The reasons given by the enterprises for not participating actively may be summarised under the following headings:

  • Lack of knowledge, help, and information: Often, the enterprises do not know where and whom to address to obtain information about internships abroad. Several ask for a central administrative organ.
  • Absence of calls: Several enterprises say they have never been contacted by educational institutions or students.
  • The frames are too narrow: Many enterprises wish for greater flexibility in the organisation of internships.
  • Absence of academic focus during the internship abroad: A number of enterprises call for a concretisation of what the students really learn in an internship abroad.
  • The students are discriminatory/small cohorts: Many enterprises experience that the students are discriminatory and particular about the countries in which they want their internship.
  • Absence of tradition: The majority of the enterprises clearly express that they do not have a tradition for establishing internships abroad.
Table 6.1: How do the enterprises experience internationalisation?

Private sector

  • Increased price competition
  • Global economy
  • Increased pressure on wages
  • Lack of specialised work power
  • Larger market, new customers

Public sector

  • Increased documentation requirements
  • Demands from the citizens for more individualised and flexible services
  • Tightened requirements for formal education (in notices of open positions for educators etc.)

Common to both sectors

  • Increased professional specialisation and demand for higher educational level
  • Better language skills
  • Demand for increased flexibility – you must wear many hats
  • Increased focus on personality and collaboration skills
  • New global mix of employees

7. Parallel study programmes and joint study programmes

Stak af bøger med plastichjerne på toppen

The strategy carries a special focus on parallel study programmes and joint study programmes since these forms of organising the academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes include an integrated international element and may therefore contribute to creating better opportunities for Danish students to complete a part of their education abroad.

At the same time, parallel study programmes and joint study programmes provide the option of getting either several, nationally different diplomas or one common diploma which may facilitate the access to the labour market in the individual countries. Therefore, such education programmes contribute to ensuring the opportunity for enhanced mobility and international recognition of the degrees.

This chapter is a summary of a mapping of knowledge of and experience with parallel study programmes and joint study programmes. Overall, however, it makes sense to distinguish between the terms joint programme, joint degree, double degree, and multiple degree, cf. table 7.1 on page 70.

Survey of knowledge of and experience with parallel study programmes and joint study programmes

The purpose of the survey is

  • to map the international and Danish terminologies for joint transnational education programmes,
  • to survey the experience with and future plans of the academies of professional higher education and university colleges to offer parallel study programmes and joint study programmes, and
  • to highlight the experience relating to the offer of parallel study programmes and joint study programmes at universities and abroad.

The mapping of terminology and experience has been carried out as desk research. The survey of the experiences and plans of the educational institutions has been carried out by telephone interviews.

The mapping was carried out by the Danish Evaluation Institute (EVA): Parallel study programmes and joint study programmes (2009), EVA.

7.1. Terminology

There is often confusion about definitions and usage of terms for transnational education programmes, partly because there are no unambiguous definitions in international context, and partly because the Danish nomenclature is based on other principles than the international ones.

On this basis, a mapping has been made of the international, respectively Danish nomenclature in order to provide a greater clarity in the terminology.

International terms

There is no unambiguous, internationally recognised definition of the term ‘joint degree’ or related terms for transnational education programmes.

Selected international definitions

The Bologna Process:

“A joint degree should […] be understood as referring to a higher education qualification issued jointly by at least two or more higher education institutions or jointly by one or more higher education institutions and other awarding bodies, on the basis of a study programme developed and/or provided jointly by the higher education institutions, possibly also in cooperation with other institutions. A joint degree may be issued as:

  1. 1) A joint diploma in addition to one or more national diplomas.
  2. A joint diploma issued by the institutions offering the study programme in question without being accompanied by any national diploma.
  3. One or more national diplomas issued officially as the only attestation of the joint qualification in question."

The European Commission – the Erasmus Mundus programme:

“A double or a multiple degree is defined as two or more national diplomas officially issued by two or more institutions that are engaged in an integrated study programme. A joint degree is defined as a single diploma issued by at least two of the institutions that offer an integrated study programme.”

Thus, the term joint programme may be used to designate all education programmes that are offered jointly by two or more educational institutions regardless of which type of diploma results from the education. As such, a joint programme may lead to several different types of degrees depending on whether one common diploma or two or more national diplomas are issued.

Table 7.1: English terms

Joint programme (Fælles uddannelsesprogram)

A study programme offered jointly by two or more institutions.

Joint degree (Fællesgrad)

A single diploma issued jointly by at least two of the institutions that offer a joint programme.

Double degree (Dobbeltgrad)

Two national diplomas issued by at least two institutions engaged in a joint programme.

Multiple degrees (Multipel grad)

More than two national diplomas issued by more than two institutions engaged in a joint programme.

The following criteria of a joint degree have been set up in the Bologna Process:

  • The programme that leads to the conferment of a joint degree shall be developed and/or approved by at least two educational institutions in two countries.
  • Students from each participating institution shall complete a part of the programme at other institutions (not necessarily at all of the participating institutions).
  • Students shall complete a significant part of the programme (as opposed to short exchange periods or intensive seminars) at one or more of the participating educational institutions other than the student’s home institution.
  • Courses of study and exams completed at the partner institutions are fully and automatically recognised by all the involved institutions and countries. Teachers from each of the participating educational institutions prepare the curriculum jointly, participate in joint admission and exam committees and (are invited to) participate in teacher exchanges with the purpose to teach.
  • Students who have completed the full programme obtain a degree conferred jointly by the participating institutions and fully recognised in all countries.

Danish terms 16

The option to organise education programmes as parallel study programmes and joint study programmes was set up by the Act on academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes as a part of the implementation of the Bologna Process.

The Danish terminology differs from the international terminology by focusing on the organisation of the education programmes rather than on the outcome of the programmes in the form of diplomas and degrees.

The difference between a parallel study programme and a traditional exchange period with academic credit is that the parallel course is a firmly defined part of the education whereas traditional credits depend on an individual assessment and may replace individually selected parts of the education. For the student, it is therefore a complete education where the planned foreign study parts do not need to be approved subsequently for credit. The assumption is that the parallel study programme agreed upon is equivalent to a study programme completed in Denmark.

Table 7.2: Danish terms

Parallelforløb (Parallel study programme)

A part of a recognised Danish education programme that the students, at their own choice, can complete at one or more recognised educational institutions abroad.

Fællesuddannelse (Joint study programme)

An approved Danish education programme where certain parts of the programme can only be completed at one or more recognised educational institutions abroad.

On the other hand, for a joint study programme it is a condition for completing the education that a part or parts of the programme are completed abroad because the entire programme is not offered at the Danish educational institution.

Both forms of education programme presuppose collaboration between two or more tertiary educational institutions in at least two countries, and the definition above states that it is the case of approved Danish education programmes that are complemented by an international study period – either on a voluntary basis (parallel study programme) or as precondition of completing the education (joint study programme).

An academy of professional higher education or a university college may decide on its own to offer a parallel study programme whereas a joint study programme must be accredited individually.

The Danish part of a joint education may be organised with study parts from existing Danish education programmes or with newly developed parts. Regarding accreditation and approval of joint study programmes, the rule applies that the option to organise education programmes as joint study programmes is not intended to replace the offer of regular programmes that are normally offered only by Danish educational institutions. Among other things, the approval of an offer of an academy profession or professional bachelor education programme organised as a joint study programme depends on whether there are academic advantages in a joint program as compared to a mere Danish offer, if there is a societal need for a consolidated Danish offer of the education programme in question, and if the students get adequate legal rights with the parts of the study being completed abroad.

The regulations for parallel study programmes open up the opportunity to enter agreements about the conditions on which an education programme organised with parallel study programmes should give the right to a diploma from both the Danish and the foreign institution. Thus, expressed in English terms, it is possible to arrange a parallel study programme so that it leads to a ‘double degree’.

A joint study programme may give the right to diplomas from the Danish as well as from the foreign educational institutions, or it may give the right to a joint diploma from the Danish and foreign educational institutions that are in charge of the education programme. Thus, expressed in English terms, a joint study programme may lead to either a ‘double degree’ or a ‘joint degree’.

7.2. European experience

Participation in joint study programmes poses special challenges individually, institutionally, and nationally. The challenges are in regard to finances, planning, as well as accreditation. The studies take place in several countries and presuppose a great mobility; the individual elements in the educational programme typically fall under separate national accreditation systems. This means that the combined programmes are often perceived either as standing outside of or going across the national systems; this can result in doubt about the validity and quality of the qualifications and the degrees conferred.

In 2006, a survey was carried out of European study programmes that confer double, multiple, or joint degrees. The survey encompassed universities in 33 of the 45 Bologna member countries, and the final report is based on a questionnaire survey that involved 303 education programmes in 24 countries.

Here are some of the conclusions selected from the report:

  • The larger part of the education programmes are within engineering science and technology (nearly 30%) followed by programmes in management (28%) and social sciences (19%).
  • The major part of the programmes (two thirds) are only offered at master’s level while 10% are offered at a combined bachelor and master’s level, 21% at bachelor level alone; 2% are offered as pure research education.
  • Nearly half of the education programmes are offered in partnership between two institutions while approximately 40% are offered by four or more collaborating institutions. 85% are offered exclusively with participation of institutions in EU and EFTA countries.
  • Over 80% of the programmes require that the students complete a part of the education at at least one partner university besides the home university, 13% require study periods at two partner universities, and 6% require study periods at as many as three partner universities.
  • Only 16% of the surveyed education programmes confer a joint degree to the graduating students, 71% of the programmes lead to a double or a multiple degree, and 11% lead only to a national degree at the home university. Obstacles in the national legislation are pointed out as the major reason for not conferring joint degrees. Moreover, approximately 40% respond that double and multiple degrees are more attractive to the students because they make it easier to get a job in the national labour market.
  • The major challenges related to the joint degrees are said to be lack of interest from national students (30%), not enough qualified international applicants (24%), and too poor foreign language skills among the domestic students (18%).

Furthermore, the report identifies three models for organising joint education programmes:

  1. Identical structure and consolidated, joint curriculum at all the participating universities (10%).
  2. Comparable courses in the study programme and various specialisation options at all the partner universities (60%).
  3. Complementary courses as a compulsory part of the study programme offered by different partner universities (‘fællesuddannelser’ in Danish terminology) (30%).

Model 1 gives the greatest flexibility in the planning of an education programme, but it does not add value or take advantage of the expertise of individual educational institutions within special development and research fields.

7.3. Experiences of academies of professional higher education and university colleges

Presently, there is only one Danish accredited joint study programme: The master’s programme, Religious roots of Europe, which is coordinated by Aarhus University and offered by a number of Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish universities.

Interviews with academies of professional higher education and university colleges reveal that 15 of a total of 17 institutions offer or plan to offer parallel study programmes or joint study programmes 17.


17 The statistic takes into account that the usage of the terms parallel programmes and joint programmes in the interviewed institutions is not always in agreement with the central definitions, cf. section 7.1.

  • Six institutions respond that they already now offer parallel study programmes and/or joint study programmes while nine say they offer neither one nor the other form of joint programmes.
  • Four institutions state that they already offer joint education programmes. These institutions use very different models for the education programmes, a fact also reflected by the circumstance that the programmes have not been formally recognised by the Danish authorities as joint programmes; the students have therefore been enrolled and will receive their diploma from foreign educational institutions and/or international consortia.
  • Three institutions state that they at present offer parallel study programmes that typically lead to double degrees.

Motives for entering into parallel study programmes and joint study programmes

Overall, the interview survey shows that the institutions enter into binding collaboration about parallel study programmes and joint study programmes based on the expectation of an added value for the institution and/or for the individual student.

The educational institutions give the following motives for working with parallel study programmes and joint study programmes:

  • Attracting more students to the institution – both international students and Danish students who would have chosen other educational institutions if the international offers had not been available.
  • Strengthened academic profile for the educational institution.
  • Building networks and exchanging experience. Formalised educational collaboration gives access to larger networks which can contribute to making the institutions interesting as collaboration partners in other projects.
  • The teachers acquire international competences and insight into the ways of teaching and pedagogic principles of other institutions that may be of use for the students in the regular programmes at the institution. For a few educational institutions, internationalisation is an intentional attempt at making the institution an attractive workplace that can facilitate an ongoing upgrading of skills and qualifications.
  • The institution gets the opportunity to give their students access to studies at institutions that offer specific academic specialities or have a specific expertise not available at the Danish institution.
  • The institution gets insight into policy and practice in other countries. The institution gets the opportunity to combine the comparative advantages of the individual institutions, and it allows mutual influence on the planning and the academic contents of the study programmes at the partner institutions.

Furthermore, the institutions expect that the students get extra benefits from a parallel study programme or a joint study programme:

  • In some cases, the students get access to specific academic specialties that are not found at their home institution.
  • The students get perspectives of academic matters that they would not have got by completing an exclusively Danish education, and thereby they become better at using different approaches to academic challenges.
  • The students get strong intercultural competences by meeting international students and spending extended periods in other countries. A few institutions mention that it does affect their deliberations to know that students do better in the international labour market if they have both an international and a Danish diploma.

Moreover, several institutions mentioned as an explicit incentive to establish parallel study programmes and/or joint study programmes the requirement by law that academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes shall be planned so that the students may take a part of the education abroad without extending the length of the study. Additionally, measurable targets in the institutions’ development contracts are mentioned as motivation for entering into more binding transnational collaboration in education.

Obstacles to parallel study programmes and joint study programmes

On the question of obstacles to development and establishment of parallel study programmes and joint study programmes, the educational institutions answer:

  • Limited or no match between what the Danish institutions can offer and what the foreign partners look for, and also that the mutual knowledge of each other’s educational system is limited.
  • Specific requirements, by law or executive orders, to the contents, structure, and academic contents and the practical planning and sequence of modules may be difficult to reconcile with the specific requirements to parallel study programmes and joint study programmes.
  • The accreditation and approval system may work as an obstacle because it takes time to have an education programme approved and because the institutions risk that their proposal of new programmes be rejected in the screening phase or in connection with the accreditation.
  • The lack of right to offer master’s programmes at academies of professional higher education and university colleges is regarded as a significant impediment. Institutions abroad have a great interest in offering master’s programmes in collaboration with Danish institutions. At present, a few institutions offer master’s programmes, but in those cases the students are enrolled in and receive their diplomas from institutions abroad. Because of this, the students cannot normally get Danish educational support (SU) while they study abroad, and it becomes difficult for international students from countries outside the European Union to obtain residence permit in Denmark since the education programmes are not recognised here. Many students are not interested in studying abroad. The institutions may fear drop-outs if they begin pressuring the students to go abroad.
  • The resources (human or financial) are rarely available to prioritise the international field sufficiently and to implement the often ambitious plans.
  • The backing of the teachers is key. While some institutions see great enthusiasm for international collaboration among the teachers, also regarding parallel study programmes and joint study programmes, others experience that the teachers are not always positive towards joint study programmes. There may be opposition to guarantee academic credits for modules that are not completely identical to the Danish modules that are replaced, and some teachers have the conviction that it would be better for the learning of the students that they complete the modules in question at home.

7.1. Terminology

There is often confusion about definitions and usage of terms for transnational education programmes, partly because there are no unambiguous definitions in international context, and partly because the Danish nomenclature is based on other principles than the international ones.

On this basis, a mapping has been made of the international, respectively Danish nomenclature in order to provide a greater clarity in the terminology.

International terms

There is no unambiguous, internationally recognised definition of the term ‘joint degree’ or related terms for transnational education programmes.

Selected international definitions

The Bologna Process:

“A joint degree should […] be understood as referring to a higher education qualification issued jointly by at least two or more higher education institutions or jointly by one or more higher education institutions and other awarding bodies, on the basis of a study programme developed and/or provided jointly by the higher education institutions, possibly also in cooperation with other institutions. A joint degree may be issued as:

  1. 1) A joint diploma in addition to one or more national diplomas.
  2. A joint diploma issued by the institutions offering the study programme in question without being accompanied by any national diploma.
  3. One or more national diplomas issued officially as the only attestation of the joint qualification in question."

The European Commission – the Erasmus Mundus programme:

“A double or a multiple degree is defined as two or more national diplomas officially issued by two or more institutions that are engaged in an integrated study programme. A joint degree is defined as a single diploma issued by at least two of the institutions that offer an integrated study programme.”

Thus, the term joint programme may be used to designate all education programmes that are offered jointly by two or more educational institutions regardless of which type of diploma results from the education. As such, a joint programme may lead to several different types of degrees depending on whether one common diploma or two or more national diplomas are issued.

Table 7.1: English terms

Joint programme (Fælles uddannelsesprogram)

A study programme offered jointly by two or more institutions.

Joint degree (Fællesgrad)

A single diploma issued jointly by at least two of the institutions that offer a joint programme.

Double degree (Dobbeltgrad)

Two national diplomas issued by at least two institutions engaged in a joint programme.

Multiple degrees (Multipel grad)

More than two national diplomas issued by more than two institutions engaged in a joint programme.

The following criteria of a joint degree have been set up in the Bologna Process:

  • The programme that leads to the conferment of a joint degree shall be developed and/or approved by at least two educational institutions in two countries.
  • Students from each participating institution shall complete a part of the programme at other institutions (not necessarily at all of the participating institutions).
  • Students shall complete a significant part of the programme (as opposed to short exchange periods or intensive seminars) at one or more of the participating educational institutions other than the student’s home institution.
  • Courses of study and exams completed at the partner institutions are fully and automatically recognised by all the involved institutions and countries. Teachers from each of the participating educational institutions prepare the curriculum jointly, participate in joint admission and exam committees and (are invited to) participate in teacher exchanges with the purpose to teach.
  • Students who have completed the full programme obtain a degree conferred jointly by the participating institutions and fully recognised in all countries.

Danish terms 16

The option to organise education programmes as parallel study programmes and joint study programmes was set up by the Act on academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes as a part of the implementation of the Bologna Process.

The Danish terminology differs from the international terminology by focusing on the organisation of the education programmes rather than on the outcome of the programmes in the form of diplomas and degrees.

The difference between a parallel study programme and a traditional exchange period with academic credit is that the parallel course is a firmly defined part of the education whereas traditional credits depend on an individual assessment and may replace individually selected parts of the education. For the student, it is therefore a complete education where the planned foreign study parts do not need to be approved subsequently for credit. The assumption is that the parallel study programme agreed upon is equivalent to a study programme completed in Denmark.

Table 7.2: Danish terms

Parallelforløb (Parallel study programme)

A part of a recognised Danish education programme that the students, at their own choice, can complete at one or more recognised educational institutions abroad.

Fællesuddannelse (Joint study programme)

An approved Danish education programme where certain parts of the programme can only be completed at one or more recognised educational institutions abroad.

On the other hand, for a joint study programme it is a condition for completing the education that a part or parts of the programme are completed abroad because the entire programme is not offered at the Danish educational institution.

Both forms of education programme presuppose collaboration between two or more tertiary educational institutions in at least two countries, and the definition above states that it is the case of approved Danish education programmes that are complemented by an international study period – either on a voluntary basis (parallel study programme) or as precondition of completing the education (joint study programme).

An academy of professional higher education or a university college may decide on its own to offer a parallel study programme whereas a joint study programme must be accredited individually.

The Danish part of a joint education may be organised with study parts from existing Danish education programmes or with newly developed parts. Regarding accreditation and approval of joint study programmes, the rule applies that the option to organise education programmes as joint study programmes is not intended to replace the offer of regular programmes that are normally offered only by Danish educational institutions. Among other things, the approval of an offer of an academy profession or professional bachelor education programme organised as a joint study programme depends on whether there are academic advantages in a joint program as compared to a mere Danish offer, if there is a societal need for a consolidated Danish offer of the education programme in question, and if the students get adequate legal rights with the parts of the study being completed abroad.

The regulations for parallel study programmes open up the opportunity to enter agreements about the conditions on which an education programme organised with parallel study programmes should give the right to a diploma from both the Danish and the foreign institution. Thus, expressed in English terms, it is possible to arrange a parallel study programme so that it leads to a ‘double degree’.

A joint study programme may give the right to diplomas from the Danish as well as from the foreign educational institutions, or it may give the right to a joint diploma from the Danish and foreign educational institutions that are in charge of the education programme. Thus, expressed in English terms, a joint study programme may lead to either a ‘double degree’ or a ‘joint degree’.

7.2. European experience

Participation in joint study programmes poses special challenges individually, institutionally, and nationally. The challenges are in regard to finances, planning, as well as accreditation. The studies take place in several countries and presuppose a great mobility; the individual elements in the educational programme typically fall under separate national accreditation systems. This means that the combined programmes are often perceived either as standing outside of or going across the national systems; this can result in doubt about the validity and quality of the qualifications and the degrees conferred.

In 2006, a survey was carried out of European study programmes that confer double, multiple, or joint degrees. The survey encompassed universities in 33 of the 45 Bologna member countries, and the final report is based on a questionnaire survey that involved 303 education programmes in 24 countries.

Here are some of the conclusions selected from the report:

  • The larger part of the education programmes are within engineering science and technology (nearly 30%) followed by programmes in management (28%) and social sciences (19%).
  • The major part of the programmes (two thirds) are only offered at master’s level while 10% are offered at a combined bachelor and master’s level, 21% at bachelor level alone; 2% are offered as pure research education.
  • Nearly half of the education programmes are offered in partnership between two institutions while approximately 40% are offered by four or more collaborating institutions. 85% are offered exclusively with participation of institutions in EU and EFTA countries.
  • Over 80% of the programmes require that the students complete a part of the education at at least one partner university besides the home university, 13% require study periods at two partner universities, and 6% require study periods at as many as three partner universities.
  • Only 16% of the surveyed education programmes confer a joint degree to the graduating students, 71% of the programmes lead to a double or a multiple degree, and 11% lead only to a national degree at the home university. Obstacles in the national legislation are pointed out as the major reason for not conferring joint degrees. Moreover, approximately 40% respond that double and multiple degrees are more attractive to the students because they make it easier to get a job in the national labour market.
  • The major challenges related to the joint degrees are said to be lack of interest from national students (30%), not enough qualified international applicants (24%), and too poor foreign language skills among the domestic students (18%).

Furthermore, the report identifies three models for organising joint education programmes:

  1. Identical structure and consolidated, joint curriculum at all the participating universities (10%).
  2. Comparable courses in the study programme and various specialisation options at all the partner universities (60%).
  3. Complementary courses as a compulsory part of the study programme offered by different partner universities (‘fællesuddannelser’ in Danish terminology) (30%).

Model 1 gives the greatest flexibility in the planning of an education programme, but it does not add value or take advantage of the expertise of individual educational institutions within special development and research fields.

7.3. Experiences of academies of professional higher education and university colleges

Presently, there is only one Danish accredited joint study programme: The master’s programme, Religious roots of Europe, which is coordinated by Aarhus University and offered by a number of Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish universities.

Interviews with academies of professional higher education and university colleges reveal that 15 of a total of 17 institutions offer or plan to offer parallel study programmes or joint study programmes 17.


17 The statistic takes into account that the usage of the terms parallel programmes and joint programmes in the interviewed institutions is not always in agreement with the central definitions, cf. section 7.1.

  • Six institutions respond that they already now offer parallel study programmes and/or joint study programmes while nine say they offer neither one nor the other form of joint programmes.
  • Four institutions state that they already offer joint education programmes. These institutions use very different models for the education programmes, a fact also reflected by the circumstance that the programmes have not been formally recognised by the Danish authorities as joint programmes; the students have therefore been enrolled and will receive their diploma from foreign educational institutions and/or international consortia.
  • Three institutions state that they at present offer parallel study programmes that typically lead to double degrees.

Motives for entering into parallel study programmes and joint study programmes

Overall, the interview survey shows that the institutions enter into binding collaboration about parallel study programmes and joint study programmes based on the expectation of an added value for the institution and/or for the individual student.

The educational institutions give the following motives for working with parallel study programmes and joint study programmes:

  • Attracting more students to the institution – both international students and Danish students who would have chosen other educational institutions if the international offers had not been available.
  • Strengthened academic profile for the educational institution.
  • Building networks and exchanging experience. Formalised educational collaboration gives access to larger networks which can contribute to making the institutions interesting as collaboration partners in other projects.
  • The teachers acquire international competences and insight into the ways of teaching and pedagogic principles of other institutions that may be of use for the students in the regular programmes at the institution. For a few educational institutions, internationalisation is an intentional attempt at making the institution an attractive workplace that can facilitate an ongoing upgrading of skills and qualifications.
  • The institution gets the opportunity to give their students access to studies at institutions that offer specific academic specialities or have a specific expertise not available at the Danish institution.
  • The institution gets insight into policy and practice in other countries. The institution gets the opportunity to combine the comparative advantages of the individual institutions, and it allows mutual influence on the planning and the academic contents of the study programmes at the partner institutions.

Furthermore, the institutions expect that the students get extra benefits from a parallel study programme or a joint study programme:

  • In some cases, the students get access to specific academic specialties that are not found at their home institution.
  • The students get perspectives of academic matters that they would not have got by completing an exclusively Danish education, and thereby they become better at using different approaches to academic challenges.
  • The students get strong intercultural competences by meeting international students and spending extended periods in other countries. A few institutions mention that it does affect their deliberations to know that students do better in the international labour market if they have both an international and a Danish diploma.

Moreover, several institutions mentioned as an explicit incentive to establish parallel study programmes and/or joint study programmes the requirement by law that academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes shall be planned so that the students may take a part of the education abroad without extending the length of the study. Additionally, measurable targets in the institutions’ development contracts are mentioned as motivation for entering into more binding transnational collaboration in education.

Obstacles to parallel study programmes and joint study programmes

On the question of obstacles to development and establishment of parallel study programmes and joint study programmes, the educational institutions answer:

  • Limited or no match between what the Danish institutions can offer and what the foreign partners look for, and also that the mutual knowledge of each other’s educational system is limited.
  • Specific requirements, by law or executive orders, to the contents, structure, and academic contents and the practical planning and sequence of modules may be difficult to reconcile with the specific requirements to parallel study programmes and joint study programmes.
  • The accreditation and approval system may work as an obstacle because it takes time to have an education programme approved and because the institutions risk that their proposal of new programmes be rejected in the screening phase or in connection with the accreditation.
  • The lack of right to offer master’s programmes at academies of professional higher education and university colleges is regarded as a significant impediment. Institutions abroad have a great interest in offering master’s programmes in collaboration with Danish institutions. At present, a few institutions offer master’s programmes, but in those cases the students are enrolled in and receive their diplomas from institutions abroad. Because of this, the students cannot normally get Danish educational support (SU) while they study abroad, and it becomes difficult for international students from countries outside the European Union to obtain residence permit in Denmark since the education programmes are not recognised here. Many students are not interested in studying abroad. The institutions may fear drop-outs if they begin pressuring the students to go abroad.
  • The resources (human or financial) are rarely available to prioritise the international field sufficiently and to implement the often ambitious plans.
  • The backing of the teachers is key. While some institutions see great enthusiasm for international collaboration among the teachers, also regarding parallel study programmes and joint study programmes, others experience that the teachers are not always positive towards joint study programmes. There may be opposition to guarantee academic credits for modules that are not completely identical to the Danish modules that are replaced, and some teachers have the conviction that it would be better for the learning of the students that they complete the modules in question at home.

Annex A - Terms of reference

By the government bill on academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes, a new framework is established for a strengthened internationalisation of the academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes:

  • The institutions are charged with arranging the study programmes so that the students may have the opportunity to complete parts of the education abroad within the standard duration of the education.
  • The institutions are given the option to organize the studies as parallel programmes so that parts of the Danish courses may also be completed at foreign institutions.
  • The institutions are given the option to organize the studies as joint degree programmes so that parts of an education programme may be completed at one or more foreign institutions only.

The new internationalisation opportunities constitute an element of the implementation of the Bologna Process. Moreover, the initiatives take as their starting point the Government’s 2004 report to the Danish Parliament, Folketinget, about strengthened internationalisation of the education programmes and the Government’s globalisation strategy.

Traditionally, the internationalisation of vocational education programmes has been promoted by ‘fiery souls’, and therefore the degree of internationalisation varies depending on academic field and institution. If the new opportunities for internationalisation are to have the effect intended, there is a need to ensure a strong implementation of the new opportunities for internationalisation across the professionoriented education sector.

A stronger internationalisation of the academy profession and professional bachelor programmes shall strengthen the quality and attraction of the programmes so that more young people take a higher education. Maintaining a strong Danish competitiveness is contingent upon the students’ acquiring the necessary competences, through their education, to do well internationally. On this background, an internal work group is set up with the assignment to analyse opportunities and obstacles to a strong, high quality internationalisation and on this basis to develop a strategy for internationalisation of the academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes.

The focus of the work group is the implementation of the new opportunities for internationalisation of the academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes, i.e. focus on the outbound mobility of the education programmes and on the establishment of parallel study programmes and joint study programmes.

The work group is anchored in the Division for higher education and is made up of representatives from the relevant educational, financial, and institutional offices.

To the extent necessary, the work group may seek external support, including support from the relevant institutional unions.

Annex B - Resource group

Strategy resource group for enhanced outbound mobility in the academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes

Chairman

Peder Michael Sørensen
Head of division, The Ministry of Education

Members

Tove Heidemann
Head of international relations, UC South

Peter Aalykke
International head, VIA University College

Inger Munk
Head of International Department, Danish School of Media and Journalism

Anne Mette Zachariasen (substitute René Foli)
Managing director, TEKO

Jytte Mansfeld
Head of International Relations, Niels Brock

Ditte Amskov & Christiane Misslbeck-Winberg
International consultants, Danish Agency for International Education

Secretariate

Maria Bjerre
Head of section, The Ministry of Education

Anne Marie Ladefoged
Special adviser, The Ministry of Education

Annex C - Literature

Joint declaration of the conference of ministers in Leuven and Louvain-la-Neuve Communiqué of the Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Higher Education, April 2009
http://www.ond.vlaanderen.be/hogeronderwijs/bologna/conference/documents/Leuven_Louvain-la-Neuve_ Communiqué_April_2009.pdf

Green paper on “Promoting the learning mobility of young people” The European Commission, 2009. COM (2009) 329/3
http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc/mobility/com329_da.pdf

Act on academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes Act no. 207 of 31 March 2008
https://www.retsinformation.dk/Forms/R0710.aspx?id=116203

Act on university colleges of higher education Act publication no. 849 of 8 September 2009
https://www.retsinformation.dk/Forms/R0710.aspx?id=125450

Act on academies of professional higher education Act publication no. 850 of 8 September 2009
https://www.retsinformation.dk/Forms/R0710.aspx?id=125520

Mobility data for higher education programmes 2007/2008 Danish Agency for International Education, August 2009 National strategy for marketing Denmark as an education country 2007-2010 Danish Agency for International Education, August 2007
http://www.ciriusonline.dk/markedsfoering/national-strategi/15933_-_Cirius_-_brochure_20x21cm.pdf

Strategy for Denmark in the global economy – progress, innovation, and security The Government, April 2006
http://www.globalisering.dk/multimedia/55686_strat.pdf

Colophon

Title: Stepping up study and internship abroad
Subtitle: – a strategy for enhanced outbound mobility in the academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes

Publisher: The Danish Ministry of Education
Institution: The Danish Ministry of Education
Copyright: The Danish Ministry of Education
Author: The Danish Ministry of Education
Contributors: Ability (translation), Bysted A/S (cover, graphic design), Scanpix (cover photo), Colourbox (photos), Rosendahls • Schultz Grafisk (print), and Phoenix Design Aid A/S (web)
Editors: Maria Bjerre and Anne Marie Ladefoged, the Danish Ministry of Education, Department of Higher Education and International Cooperation
Producer: Werner Hedegaard, the Danish Ministry of Education, the Communication Unit
Keywords: mobility, internationalisation, higher education, academy profession education programmes, professional bachelor education programmes, study abroad, internship abroad
Abstract: The publication presents the Danish Ministry of Education’s strategy for enhanced outbound mobility in the academy profession and professional bachelor education programmes
Language: English
URL: www.uvm.dk/mobility
ISBN (Electronic version): 978-87-603-2848-0
ISBN (Printed version): 978-87-603-2847-3
Download price: 0 DKK
Version: 1.0
Version date: 2010-05-02
Publication standard no: 2.0
Format: html, pdf

The policy paper in English cannot be ordered in a printed edition.

Please address any comments regarding the contents of this document to the Communication Unit of the Danish Ministry of Education, telephone +45 33 92 50 57 or email: pub@uvm.dk.