The International Student Mobility Charter was developed in response to the significant increase in the number of students moving abroad to study and their ensuing need for improved rights and welfare.
This need was accentuated recently when more than 2000 students faced potential removal from the UK after the London Metropolitan University had its licence to teach and recruit students from outside the EU revoked. The students involved were required to find an alternative institution to sponsor them; failing this, they were told that they would have to leave the UK.
Gudrun Paulsdottir, outgoing President of the European Association for International Education highlights the issue: “With this constant increase in the mobile student population, the increasing need for qualified and educated people all over the world, and the lack of funding available for higher education on a national level, there is also an increase in incidence where students, higher education institutions and countries suffer from decisions made by partners, their governments or other external stakeholders.”
According to UNESCO, by 2025 the number of international students is expected to rise to 8 million. With such a large number of students moving abroad to study, there is a definite need for governments, education institutions, and international agencies to endorse and support a charter outlining the rights of international students.
The International Student Mobility Charter covers concerns such as equity of treatment, integration of international students, portability and continuity of funding, visas and formal requirements, quality assurance of institutions, and other important issues affecting mobile students. Developed by a working group of international higher education associations which was led by the EAIE, the charter is aimed at fostering greater endorsement from key stakeholders in international education with the overarching objective of keeping students safe and protected during their study abroad periods. A network of higher education associations officially agreed the charter during the 2012 EAIE Conference.
The EAIE encourages other institutions and associations to endorse this charter. The entire charter can be downloaded from the EAIE website.