1 Universitat Politècnica de València (SPAIN)
2 Universitat de València (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2021 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 5183-5187
ISBN: 978-84-09-27666-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2021.1063
Conference name: 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-9 March, 2021
Location: Online Conference
The role of higher education in the process of local/regional socio-economic development has attracted considerable interest among scholars and policy makers. There is ample evidence confirming that the presence of skilled labour force contributes local economic development by fostering productivity effects via local knowledge spill overs and human capital externalities. In this context, educational programmes are designed aiming at the preparation of the high qualified young population for fulfilling responsible roles in professional life in specific and in society in general. However, students may not only gain competencies by following formal education, they also gain a lot from the provision of practical work experience, from the mobility of students across countries or from informal activities. A lot of attention is paid to the ERASMUS program, which notably supports temporary student mobility within Europe, as well as the emphasis placed on student mobility as the single most important aim within the Bologna reform process, underscoring the key role of student mobility within the internationalization policies and activities in Europe.

The analysis of the literature suggests that some issues have to be clarified regarding mobility:
(1) student mobility vs. foreign students and study abroad;
(2) inbound vs. outbound mobility;
(3) short-term mobility vs. mobility for a whole degree program;
(4) vertical vs. horizontal mobility;
(5) mobility for the purpose of study vs. for study-related purposes;
(6) the threshold of a period worth to be called mobility;
(7) mobility at a certain point in time vs. the event of mobility during the course of study.

In this paper, the focus of the analysis is thereby on the time spent abroad during higher education for study-related reasons and how these graduates perform in their competencies obtained and, in turn, in their jobs.

For that, we use a major representative survey, FOSTERC (Fostering Competencies Development in Belarusian Higher Education), comparing the opinion of graduates from Belarusian public universities. FOSTERC project was a structural project in the frames of the Erasmus+ Program of Capacity Building in Higher Education running from October 2016 to April 2020. The main aim of FOSTERC was to strengthen the use of innovative approaches to teaching and learning in the Belarusian Higher Education Institutions for the improvement of graduates’ learning outcomes in terms of competencies. A representative sample of 5,443 graduates holding a first higher education degree were surveyed three years after graduation, that is, those graduated during the academic year 2014/2015.

By means of regression analysis, we assess the influence of students’ mobility on their teaching-learning process, and we see how it affects to their learning outcomes measured in competencies. We also consider selected characteristics of the study program, including modes of teaching-learning promoted at the study program, as well as graduates’ professional success both at the world of work and interests’ in life goals such as good chance to combine work with family, enough time for leisure activities, social recognition and status and chance of doing something useful for society.

Our preliminary results show that abroad student-mobility influences the allocation graduates over different occupational domains, providing a better link to occupations inside their graduates’ discipline-specific domain.
Belarus, Higher Education System, Students’ Mobility, Learning Outcomes, Competencies.