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Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent assessment he has made of (a) overall developments in trans-European student mobility, (b) the European Credit Transfer System, (c) the Europass CV, (d) the Europass Mobility, (e) the Europass Diploma Supplement, (f) the Europass Certificate Supplement and (g) the Europass Language portfolio. (204588)

The information requested is as follows:

(a) The Government are keen to see an increase in the numbers of British students who take the opportunity to include a period of study abroad as part of their course. Within Europe, we have seen a welcome increase this year in the number of UK students taking part in the EU's Erasmus programme. Interim figures for 2007-08 show that well over 10,000 UK students have taken part (including some 2,800 work placement students). And the UK continues to be one of the top destinations for students from other European countries taking part in the programme.

(b) The Government believe there is scope for further adaptation of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) to ensure that it effectively reflects the greater importance of the assessment of learning outcomes. In response to these and other member states' concerns, the European Commission is reviewing the ECTS users' guide, which is expected to be completed later this year.

Items (c) to (g) refer to the five documents that make up the Europass portfolio, a method introduced by the EU to record formal, informal and non-formal education. The operating agency for Europass in the UK, the National Europass Centre, has been promoting the portfolio in its entirety through organisations such as universities, FE colleges, vocational training organisations and UK accreditation bodies. There is increased interest in the use of Europass and it is expected that the introduction of the European Qualifications Framework will lead to greater take up of Europass documents in the future. The Government believe that Europass will assist in the recognition across Europe of formally or informally acquired skills and encourage mobility within the work force.