M. Sakal, P. Tumbas, P. Matkovic

University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Economics (SERBIA)
Four objectives that should be accomplished through education and training have been defined within the implementation of Europe 2020 Strategy: “Making lifelong learning and mobility a reality; Improving the quality and efficiency of education and training; Promoting equity, social cohesion and active citizenship; and Enhancing creativity and innovation, including entrepreneurship, at all levels of education and training”. The primary requirement to be met by means of mobility is that “In 2020, at least 20% of those graduating in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) should have had a study or training period abroad”.
More than twenty years since the initiation of ERASMUS, the most significant mobility programme in European higher education, numerous statistical data sources and published scientific and research work offer an opportunity for a serious analysis of the realisation of mobility projects during the past period. With regard to the requirement set by the EU 2020 Strategy, this article analyses the experiences, achievements, trends and challenges of mobility development in the EHEA so far, with the aim to find new potential ways of enhancing mobility and provide for the accomplishment of the set goal by 2020. The task is a highly complex one, and the EU countries will certainly not find it easy to solve.
Out of the key reasons hindering mobility development and expansion, the authors list and elaborate in detail the following ones: financial and technical problems; inadequate transparency and compatibility between the higher education systems of individual countries; foreign language proficiency; insufficient information levels among students about the opportunities for joining mobility programmes; and lack of national and institutional strategies. Among other issues, presenting their view of a possible global and specific solution for the Western Balkans, the authors specifically elaborate on the virtual mobility concepts. Based on information technologies, virtual mobility is the educational challenge of the future, and, potentially, the most feasible means of accomplishing the defined objective.