Table of Contents
3. Culture in a globalized context
4. Does the European Union gains homogenization?
4.1. Institutional homogenization
4.2. Cultural homogenization
The European Union's exchange program, which gains a better exchange not only on individually, but also on institutionally and especially Europe wide level, has been a alive for over 25 years now. But what exactly are the aims of the European Union, introducing such a program. Was there intention to achieve a cultural and institutional homogenization, in order to strengthens on a new 'europeanized' culture?
To examine this question, I first introduce in the program of Erasmus, stressing particularly on the aims of it. In the following chapter I build up the connection to the globalized world, the definition of a globalization, which is in general economical considered, and aspect of a so called 'Europeanization'. The next chapter concentrates on the analyzing of various aspects first of a possible institutional homogenization, especially under consideration of the Bologna Process and some consequently problems. Secondly, we have to ask if the European Union also aims a cultural homogenization, in order to strengthens the cultural and geographical boarder in a world, in which modernity and globalization is ruling.
My wrote this essay, mainly the first chapter, in accordance to the web presence of the European Commission and of the European Union. Furthermore I used Ulrich Teichler's article in the Journal of Studies in International Education, as well as his co-work with Baiba Rivza 'The Changing Role of Student Mobility', in which they describe the upcoming problems after Bologna. Walter Demmelhuber, who wrote comparative about 'European Educational Policy related to Academic Mobility', as well as comparisons to Benedict Anderson, Arjun Appadurai and Joseph Steglitz will be used as secondary literature.
The European Union's mobility program, which was established in 1987, in the field of education and training, is named after the humanist philosopher Erasmus from Rotterdam (1465-1536). As the European Commission's (EC) homepage points out, Erasmus lived in many parts of Europe and collected various knowledge and experiences. Today Erasmus, also used as a short term for Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students, is a part of the EU's Lifelong Learning Program since 2007, with a overall budget of approximately 314 million Euro. The Lifelong Learning Program gains to stimulate learning opportunities across Europe and implicates, next to the Erasmus program, also Comenius, which is for schools, Leonardo da Vinci for vocational education and training and Grundtvig for adult education (ECa 2010).
The aim is “ (...) enhancing the quality and reinforcing the European dimension of higher education as well as [the] increasing [of] student and staff mobility. ” (ECb 2008:4).More than 3100 higher education system in 31 countries take today part in Erasmus program and 159.3241 students has changed it's university in the years 2006/2007 (StSt 2007).
Furthermore, Ulrich Teichler (2001:202) indicates especially the following aims of the exchange program:
- ERASMUS supports regional mobility, that is, among European countries rather than global mobility.
- ERASMUS promotes temporary study abroad, that is, a period of study forming only part of a course program leading to a degree.
- ERASMUS almost exclusively supports collective mobility. Few free movers receive grants.
- ERASMUS promoted mobility and cooperation within networks of departments sending and receiving students (from 1987 to 1997).
- ERASMUS expects organized study abroad, that is, measures on the part of the participating institutions and programs to facilitate study abroad: preparatory programs, language training, help in accommodation and administrative matters, and so forth.
- ERASMUS encourages curricular integration, ranging from coordinated curricular activities to study abroad programs being an integral part of the home curriculum.
- ERASMUS has an inclusive approach toward temporary study abroad, with recognition on return of the achievements during the study period abroad being the key criterion for granting support.
- ERASMUS is a partial- and an incentive-funding scheme. Students are awarded a moderate grant to cover more or less the additional costs of study abroad, and networks or the universities receive a moderate subsidy for the costs incurred.
The program does also include a so called 'Erasmus teacher mobility', which gives lecturers the opportunity to teach abroad. In order to achieve these exchanges students and teachers are supported up to 12 months (ECa 2010).
3. Culture in a globalized context
The free dictionary (2010) defines culture as “the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.” The European Union strengthens on this cultural exchange not only in regarding to the Erasmus program, but also that “culture is essential to achieve the EU's strategic objectives of prosperity, solidarity and security, while ensuring their presence on the international stage.” (ECc 2008:3).
The concept of globalization, as it can by defined out of economical perspective, as a “(..) a process enabling financial and investment markets to operate internationally, largely as a result of deregulation and improved communications.” (TFDb) is especially in the concept of the European Union, the deciding basis. Also Joseph Steglitz (2003) talks about an economical liberalization, but also remind, that, globalization is also a new form of colonialism. As example he stresses on supranational institutions, which concentrate not only economical, but also social and ecological power in their hands; examples are the International Monetary Found or the World Trade Organization. Is the Erasmus program such a powerful sub-institutional organization?
1 The Brochure of the EC for the exchange program in 2008 talks about approximately 170.000 students annually (Ecb 2008:4).