Léalo en Español.
By Alicia R. Mederos and V. Rodríguez Gago
THREE OF EVERY FOUR university students from the outermost regions of the European Union who stay at other campuses in the outermost area leave or arrive at the Canary Islands universities of La Laguna and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The Campus RUP project, presented by seven universities to the February 2019 call of the Erasmus + program of the European Commission, proposes a plan to promote the physical and virtual mobility of students, professors, doctoral students, researchers and administration and services personnel among the ultraperipheral universities. The seven institutions –Azores, Madeira, the Antilles, French Guiana, La Réunion, La Laguna and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria– will create a unique campus by which, by 2020, half of the university population of the region will be moving between outermost regions to study degrees created jointly by the universities of the alliance or to research in scientific and technological specialties aligned with the smart specialization strategy of each outermost region, such as biodiversity, blue economy, clean energy, agriculture, astrophysics or tourism.
The common campus of the outermost regions universities will lay the foundations of an Overseas European university. The seven universities of the alliance have been among the first to respond to the call of the European Council (December 2017) and the European Commission to create European Universities through the cooperation of local higher education institutions. The Campus RUP will be physical and virtual, «an innovative mobility and learning hub», as indicated in the project presented on February 28, 2019 at the Erasmus+ call. Undergraduate and postgraduate students, professors, researchers and AS officials (Administration and Services) will be able to physically move to another university of the outermost alliance, in stays that will last for an average of three months, as foreseen by the project partners. In the case of the students, the academic credits obtained in another university of the Campus RUP will be automatically recognized in their universities of origin.
Virtual mobility will circulate through an online campus, developed by the seven universities. «In three years» –the partnership offers– «there will be a complete degree and loose subjects that can be followed by the virtual Campus». The entire university community of the Campus RUP alliance will be able to access the platform with the same access data that they now have in their universities of origin. The alliance is committed to «ensure the best use of digital technologies.» Universities will offer training to students and teachers in virtual learning skills. The users of the «Virtual Mobility Hub of Campus Rup» will interact with the platform with the guarantee of obtaining the same benefits of face-to-face training. Classes will be broadcast live with the technology of video streaming, video streaming, subtitled. There will be individual and joint tutorials, deadlines for assigning assignments, exams and corrections, as in any face-to-face program.
The official language in the classes, exams and communication in general of the Campus Rup will be English, and will be compulsory mastery of French, Portuguese or Spanish as a second language.
The Campus Rup partnership is eligible for European funding of the Erasmus + program , one of its novelties, in the call of February 2019, is the European Universities Initiative. Twelve projects will be selected as pioneers in the development of European Universities born of cooperation between local institutions of Higher Education and Research. The objective set by the Commission is that there are at least 24 European Universities offering mobility, teaching and science with a European projection in 2024. For this first call in 2019 –there will be another in October 2019–, Brussels has planned an allocation of 60 million of euros for the first 12 projects that will be selected.
The Campus Rup project rests on four pillars: mobility, training, European citizenship and science aligned with the European strategy of sustainable development. Its contribution to the call for the Erasmus+ program is summarized in the value of the geographic and cultural diversity of the outermost regions, a scientific and innovative specialization in fields of knowledge that are strategic for the European Union, and a university mobility gateway between dispersed regions in three oceans, far from continental Europe and, in most cases, insular.