The Universidad Veracruzana (UV) has joined a network of 10 universities from the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Argentina and El Salvador, which will participate –from 2019 to 2021– in the project called “Professional development in intercultural competence in higher education institutions (PROFIC)”, focused on the development of intercultural and international competences.
Within the framework of the Erasmus+ program, this strategy was approved by the Educational, Audiovisual and Cultural Executive Agency (EACEA) in September 2018, with a total amount of 687 thousand euros within the modality of joint projects for capacity building in higher education institutions.
It is important to mention that Erasmus is an Action Plan of the European Community for the Mobility of University Students, managed by various public administrations that supports and facilitates the academic mobility of university students and professors.
In the highest house of studies, the institutions responsible for developing it are: Institute of Research and Higher Economic and Social Studies (IIESES), General Directorate of International Relations (DGRI) and Institute of Research in Education (IIE).
Mario Oliva Suárez, head of the DGRI, attributed the inclusion of the UV in this work to the experience it has in the processes of internationalization and interculturality.
Without a doubt, he said, this was a key element for their incorporation into this network, coupled with the need to strengthen long-term academic networks with both European and Latin American institutions.
Meanwhile, Héctor Rangel Ramírez, representative of the IIESES, announced that the start of the project took place during this month and will conclude in November 2021; It begins with a series of activities to prepare the design of methodologies to have a significant impact on the institutions that make up the network.
The intention is to innovate in the way of implementing intercultural and international approaches in educational programs, in a different way from what is currently done.
He stressed that it is about joining efforts, complementing approaches, sharing good practices, and based on the contribution of each university, a proposal for capacity building is established.
“We hope that the consolidation of institutions will take place from the qualification of academic and administrative personnel, as well as students, with another vision of the intercultural and international approach.”
He explained that in the case of internationalization, the installation of thematic networks in the future is contemplated in which researchers and teachers maintain relationships with their peers from other universities that are part of the project, as well as others that promote this area.
In this way, he added, the objective of the work program of the current administration, on the creation of quality academic networks at the international level, is fulfilled.
In this regard, Gunther Dietz, a researcher at the IIE, stressed that interculturality is not only outward, because given the migratory phenomenon that is currently being experienced, it is important that any UV graduate develop professionally in contexts of diversity.
This will require certain skills and changes in the way of teaching-learning and in the curriculum, so that they are included in different study programs not only in the Academic Area of Humanities, but also in Health Sciences, Technical , Economic-Administrative, Arts and Biological-Agricultural.
“The project will be a very rich situation of mutual learning, it is not that they come from Europe to sell us a model of international competitions, but that all the universities will contribute something according to their experiences.”
He pointed out that in Latin America, especially in the UV, there is a great experience in the professional training of indigenous students with intercultural and dialogue skills that they can develop in their context of origin and in the urban environment.
In the end, there will be a more transversal vision of interculturality, the skills and knowledge of teachers, students and professionals from different areas of knowledge.
Meanwhile, Marco Antonio Flores Mavil, from the DGRI, assured that this project will be highly relevant and will position the UV as a benchmark for internationalization and interculturality in Mexico and abroad.
It should be noted that the universities that make up this network are: Glasgow Caledonian University in the United Kingdom; University of Deusto, in Spain; Universitá degli Studi “Guglielmo Marconi”, Italy; Technological University of El Salvador; Don Bosco University, from the same country; National University of Córdoba, National University of Lanús and National University of La Plata, from Argentina; University of Guadalajara, the UV and the Union of Universities of Latin America and the Caribbean (UDUAL), on behalf of Mexico.