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Erasmus Workshop. What is PRIME?. Problems of Recognition In Making Erasmus European-wide research project Conducted by ESN with the support of the European Commission Two editions: 1 st in 2009 Follow-up in 2010. Why PRIME?. 20 years of Erasmus Programme

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Erasmus Workshop

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Erasmus Workshop

What is PRIME?

  • Problems of Recognition In Making Erasmus

  • European-wide research project

  • Conducted by ESN with the support of the European Commission

  • Two editions:

    • 1st in 2009

    • Follow-up in 2010


  • 20 years of Erasmus Programme

    • Over 2 million students in total

    • Annually 180.000

  • Recognition problems remain:

    • Full recognition only for slightly more than half of the Erasmus students

      • Source: ESNSurvey 2006 and 2007

    • Only 47% of universities have no problems with course recognition

      • Source: European University Association


  • Draw attention of the stakeholders and parties involved in the process of recognition to ever-lasting problems and obstacles

  • Map and monitor good practices

  • Provide solutions

  • Improve the quality of exchange and increase the numbers

Fields of the research

  • Most common practices in Europe regarding:

    • Information provision about Erasmus and other exchanges

    • ECTS

      • Course credit calculation

      • Usage of the ECTS at European universities

    • Learning Agreement (LA)

      • Negotiation and signing

    • Recognition

      • Validity of the LA, involved parties, common problems

PRIME 2009

Recognitionand exams upon return

  • PRIME 2009

Recognition:remaining challenges

  • PRIME 2009

PRIME 2010


  • Both qualitative and quantitative

  • Three-level research:

    • New: In-depth interview with National Agencies

    • Online questionnaire for Higher Education Institutions

    • Online questionnaire for Students

  • From February until the end of April

  • New topics:

    • Grade transfer

    • Erasmus and additional grants, tuition fees

PRIME respondents

  • 16interviews with National Agencies

  • 500 responses from Higher Education Institutions (500%more than in 2009)

  • 9000responses from students (375% more than in 2009)

Information provision

  • 26% of students never receive information on exchange students recognition rights


Learning Agreement

  • 87% of institutions use official form of Learning Agreement provided by European Commission

  • 75% of students make changes to the Learning Agreement


  • 93% of students use ECTS in their Learning Agreement

Grade transfer

Conversion of grades at home university upon return

Erasmus grants

  • Almost 100% of Erasmus students receive the grant

  • 4% of students are required to pay backpart or entire grant


Recognition: the concept

  • No common definition-subject of interpretation

  • Full recognition according to ESN:

    • “All the credits earned during the exchange and that were originally present in the final version of the Learning Agreement are recognised by the home university without a need to take any further courses or exams.”

Recognition: institutional perspective

Definition of full recognition according to HEIs


  • PRIME 2010

Recognitionand exams upon return




  • PRIME 2010

Recognition:influence on exchange experience

Would you still have studied abroad, if you would have known you would not receive full recognition?

Recognition:remaining challenges

  • Incompatibility of study programmes

  • Problems with credit calculation

  • Problems with grade transfer

  • Bureaucratic issues

  • Attitude of certain professors

  • Insufficient information provision


  • Binding bilateral agreements

  • Flexible study programmes and creation of “mobility windows”

  • ECTS as the only credits system, ECTS label as a tool to promote correct usage of ECTS

  • Usage of ECTS grading scale or development of other grade conversion method

  • Common guidelines on course recognition and specific roles for all parties

  • Better and more timely information provision

  • Information and training provided to professors

PRIME Team ESN Greece

PRIMErs of Change

National Coordinator:

Nikolas Spanoudakis(ESN Ioannina)

Local Coordinators:

Maria Kalaentzi(ESN Athens AUEB)

Michalis Naris (ESN UOM Thessaloniki)

KaterinaPantelidou(ESN Ioannina)

VassilikiSioziou(ESN KAPA Athens)

Irene Kotsona(ESN KAPA Athens)

Alexios-TryfonasCharalampous(ESN NTUA Athens)

KonstantinaPapanikolaou(ESN Auth)

ApostolosSmyrnakis(ESN TEI Piraeus)

More information

  • JustynaPisera, PRIME Project Coordinator,


    • Final report

ApostolosSmyrnakis– ESN TEI of Piraeus


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