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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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what is prime
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
why prime
  • 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
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
  • 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
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
Information provision
  • 26% of students never receive information on exchange students recognition rights


learning agreement
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
Grade transfer

Conversion of grades at home university upon return

erasmus grants
Erasmus grants
  • Almost 100% of Erasmus students receive the grant
  • 4% of students are required to pay backpart or entire grant


recognition the concept
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
Recognition: institutional perspective

Definition of full recognition according to HEIs

recognition and exams upon return1
Recognitionand exams upon return




  • PRIME 2010
recognition influence on exchange experience
Recognition:influence on exchange experience

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

recognition remaining challenges1
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

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
More information
  • JustynaPisera, PRIME Project Coordinator,
    • Final report
apostolos smyrnakis esn tei of piraeus apostolos pcs@gmail com http esn teipir gr
ApostolosSmyrnakis– ESN TEI of Piraeus