Joint European Degree label: a national workshop organised at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

On Tuesday 24th October, representatives from the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research (MESR), the High Council for Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (Hcéres) and the French universities involved in the European ED-AFFICHE project met at the Maison internationale of Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne to discuss the creation and integration of a European label for joint degrees at French level.

ED-AFFICHE (European Degree: Advancing, Facilitating and Fostering International Collaboration in Higher Education) is a one-year project funded by the Erasmus+ programme which brings together six European university alliances (Una Europa, 4EU+, CHARM-EU, EC2U, EU-CONEXUS and Unite!), representing 51 higher education institutions. The consortium is also supported by 19 national and regional ministries in charge of higher education, as well as 15 national accreditation and quality assurance agencies. Coordinated by Una Europa, of which Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne is a founding member, the initiative is designed to enable European university alliances and national and regional authorities to examine, test and facilitate the delivery of a European joint degree label, based on common criteria. It aims to mitigate obstacles in creating joint study programmes and awarding joint qualifications.

Coordinated by Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne as the point of contact with the MESR and Hcéres, the workshop was held as part of the project's third work package dedicated to dialogue with the national and regional authorities of the 22 countries represented in ED-AFFICHE. It provided an opportunity for in-depth discussion on existing obstacles to the implementation of joint degrees, and on the limitations of the legal tools available to French institutions. Representatives of the national authorities, Sorbonne University, the University of Montpellier, La Rochelle Université and Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne also went through the relevance of the criteria defined by the European Commission for the future label. Discussions also focused on potential changes within the French framework to enable universities to set up joint degrees that meet future European standards, as well as, more generally, new innovative degrees in the context of European university alliances.

These national workshops complement several surveys carried out among the various project stakeholders (universities, national and regional authorities, students, etc.) since May 2023. A mid-term event will be held in Brussels on 22nd November 2023 to review and summarise all these contributions. The long-term aim of ED-AFFICHE is to identify practices, obstacles and prospects for development in the 22 participating countries, with a view to issuing recommendations at European level on the quality of a future label. A conference will take place in April 2024 to disseminate the results of the six pilot projects selected by the European Commission on this theme.