The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) of last month led to specific recommendations to improve the student mobility and cooperation between Asia and Europe. Currently, more Asian students come to Europe than the other way around. This needs to change, reports Nuffic.


The ASEM brings rectors of universities of the 27 EU member states and 16 Asian countries, among which are The Philipines, Singapore and China, together. The aim is to have the rectors talk informally about the current problems regarding student mobility and more importantly, how these can be improved. The ASEM wants to stimulate cooperation between Asia and Europe.

Recommendations from the student panel

Students are the ones that face the obstacles regarding student mobility most directly. Therefore, students representing the 27 EU member states and the 16 Asian countries were also invited to the ASEM. While debating about the obstacles, the students formulated two concrete recommendations.

  1. Universities should pay more attention to the labor market. Why? Well, the student panel argued that universities mainly train students to go into research. However, the labor market requests more job-specific and labor market-oriented skills. Universities should take this into account.
  2. In these times of crisis, more students are applying for jobs than there are vacancies available. Therefore, the student panel debated about ways students can differentiate themselves. One way is through more specialization. Universities should give room for that.

Recommendations from the rectors

The rectors of the European and Asian universities debated about ways to improve the student mobility between both continents. They formulated one concrete recommendation which will be to the Ministers of Education of the ASEM countries next year.

  1. Study credits should be better transferable. Why? Well, for students it is hard to study abroad, pass classes and then, take these credits back to their home country. Many countries use different systems for study credits and this makes it hard to transfer them. So, the rectors believe that if this problem is solved that student mobility across both continent will be fostered.