State Secretary Hirayama attends informal meeting of EU ministers for higher education

Bern, 04.03.2024 - On 29 February and 1 March, State Secretary Martina Hirayama took part in an informal meeting in Brussels of ministers for higher education in EU member states. The event focused on international mobility in higher education and how it could be better promoted in the future. Ms Hirayama also held bilateral meetings with her counterparts from Belgium, Denmark and Spain and exchanged views with representatives of the European Commission.

One of the priorities of the current Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU is ‘mobility in higher education'. The ministers for higher education met in Brussels to exchange views on their countries' experiences in promoting cross-border mobility for students wishing to obtain a higher education qualification abroad. The ministers also discussed possible approaches for enhanced European cooperation in this area. Promoting cross-border mobility and cooperation in education contributes to the development of individual competences, the improvement of the quality of educational opportunities, and the creation of a European educational area. Teaching transversal and extended professional skills as part of mobility activities will also contribute to reducing skills shortages and help address Europe's digital and green transition.

During the ministerial meeting, Ms Hirayama, State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation, emphasised the great importance of international mobility and cooperation in Swiss higher education, which makes Switzerland especially attractive for foreign students. However, it is also necessary to further improve the international mobility rate of Swiss students. Cross-border cooperation between institutions is a key prerequisite for this, as it fosters a transnational educational culture. In this context, Ms Hirayama stressed that Switzerland aims to join the European education programme Erasmus+, which supports such mobility and cooperation activities, as soon as possible. Switzerland has a keen interest in working with other countries to help shape the development of the European education area.

As part of the event, Ms Hirayama held bilateral meetings with Françoise Bertieaux, the Minister of Higher Education of the French Community Government of Belgium, Christina Egelund, the Danish Minister for Higher Education and Science, and Juan Cruz Cigudosa, the Spanish Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Universities. While in Brussels, Ms Hirayama also took the opportunity to meet with the European Commission's Director General for Research and Innovation, Marc Lemaître, and the Director General for Communication Networks, Content and Technology, Roberto Viola.

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State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation