Both quality and quantity of teaching mobility are subjects that have only recently found its way into the European policy agenda for Higher Education.
The European Commission has included teacher training as an important element into its renewed agenda for higher education (2017). The TWE+ project is tackling the promotion of internationalisation to teaching staff in particular but also believes that teachers are the engine of higher education, thus guaranteeing better recognition of mobility for students once they have had the experience themselves. The project is thus promoting the changes in the teaching landscape in line with Bologna principles.
Furthermore, the project contributes in a more holistic manner to the overall objectives of the ET2020 strategy, which aims at having 20% of higher education graduates participate in a mobility experience during their study period. Some of the remaining obstacles to student mobility are the lack of information and the lack of recognition.
Studies such as the recently published paper by the Erasmus+ KA2 REALISE project suggest that staff members that have embarked on a mobility period are more likely to be ambassadors for student mobility and to recognise mobility periods abroad.
One could even argue that mobility windows (curricula design) and similar enabling factors are encouraged through participation in teaching staff mobility. Thus, the TWE+ project, through making teaching mobility more accessible and enabling a higher quality of teaching methodology, contributes directly to this overarching target of the ET2020 strategy.
One of the four priorities of the renewed EU agenda for higher education aims to supporting effective and efficient higher education systems. Higher education systems need adequate human resources and incentives to support Europe with its current challenges. The project tackles those issues by enabling better access to staff mobility and thus encourages the competencies development of staff members through mobility as proven in countless studies.
The Leuven Communiqué (signed by 46 countries of the Bologna Process in 2009) highlighted the importance of increasing the number of students (20% by 2020) and staff participating in various mobility activities internationally.
The Erasmus Impact Study (EIS) 2014 identified staff mobility (including teachers) as a key factor to be included as one of the top priorities in the internationalisation strategies of Higher Education Institutions (HEI) to reach the targets of the Leuven Communiqué.
Based on the results of the EIS, several research efforts have been carried out to analyse the different characteristics of higher education TM. These studies discovered several reasons and obstacles that prevent staff from making full use of this opportunity which are primarily linked to suboptimal strategy, misaligned management, poor promotion/dissemination and issues with recognition. These obstacles are particularly pertinent for junior researchers, which often lack the personal networks abroad.