12 August 2008

 IUC activities have always been extra-curricular and free activities for advanced students and senior scholars. This historical approach should remain as such to continue with our good tradition and to maintain the IUC's independent profile.

However, Bologna process and more flexible, open and international academic curricula put some challenges to the IUC. It is the opinion of the Executive Committee that offering new incitements to our potential students to join some of our programs may be useful.

Students are more mobile nowadays and when they move to other institutions they ask for the recognition of their periods and achievements upon return to their home university. Awarding credits and possibility of their transfer existed for a long time in the United States as well as some other non European countries. The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) was developed to facilitate international studies and exchanges, and it is now implemented all over Europe. The ECTS is also recognized by many other non-European universities.

ECTS points are measured by the necessary workload of the student to achieve defined learning outcomes and competencies. The workload includes time the student needs for lectures, seminars, independent work, reading, learning, writing papers, and exam.  One full-year workload is 60 ECTS credits, and consequently one ECTS credit requires 25-30 working hours.

If the IUC wishes to have more students participating in the programmes – as we do - it should encourage academic recognition of its activities. Of course, flexibility between different courses, but within the same course as well, should be maintained. Participants who wish to earn ECTS might be asked to perform greater workload, such as to produce and present a paper or similar. Participant’s different workload could also be reflected in the document: “Certificate of attendance” or “Certificate of Achievement”, that they would receive at the end of the course.

Since the IUC is not a degree awarding institution, the academic recognition relies on the member universities. Therefore, we strongly encourage course directors to seek the approval of the ECTS within his/her own university, and - if desirable - within other relevant institutions. When ECTS are approved, students should be informed about the possibility of obtaining them before they apply for the programme.

IUC Executive committee would appreciate to be updated on developments in introducing ECTS. In due time, a compilation of best practises will be circulated to all course directors.

Thank you once again for all your efforts to further improve IUC activities.  

With kindest regards

IUC Executive Committee


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