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EAIE pens open letter to European Commission

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the European Association for International Education has delivered an open letter to the European Commission, applauding it on the steps taken so far and issuing an appeal for continued attention on several fronts.

The EAIE said it encourages the international education community to be generous and cooperative to make it possible for students to attain their goals. Photo: Palu Malerba/ Pexels

The letter requested for careful attention to be paid to the mental health and emotional well-being of students

EAIE president Sabine Pendl wrote that in light of the “extraordinary circumstances currently facing the international higher education community across Europe”, the association congratulated the EC for its fast action to issue essential practical advice on Erasmus+ and mobility.

“The EAIE is convinced that approaches to international education will be significantly altered”

“The challenges to mobility and to the normal operations of higher education institutions presented by the COVID-19 outbreak require flexibility from all of us,” wrote Pendl, adding that the EAIE would like to see all Erasmus National Agencies taking “decisive action” in support of those engaged in Erasmus+.

The letter also called for students receiving Erasmus+ grants to continue to collect financial support in full if they earn the necessary ECTS credits, regardless of how  (online or face-to-face) or  where  they are earned.

“The European Commission is asking higher education institutions to move in this direction so that the academic progress of students is preserved,” the letter added.

The third request was for students facing interruptions in their programs and who need extra time to complete coursework or requirements be given “reasonable flexibility with deadlines, taking into account everything from differing levels of internet access to time zone variables”.

“The EAIE encourages all the international education community to be generous and cooperative to make it possible for students to attain their goals,” wrote Pendl.

The letter also requested for careful attention to be paid to the mental health and emotional well-being of students who have been adversely affected by the crisis, and urged the EC to consider aligning the current plans for flexibility as much as possible.

It listed specific actions that should be taken now to safeguard that next generation of Erasmus+ programs.

“The course of the COVID-19 pandemic is uncertain, but the EAIE is convinced that approaches to international education will be significantly altered,”  added Pendl.

“The European Commission and the EAIE can and should be at the forefront of these developments.”

The letter in full can be read here.

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