What is ECTS?

The European Community promotes interuniversity cooperation as a means of improving the quality of education for the benefit of students and higher education institutions, and student mobility is a predominant element of that interuniversity cooperation. The Erasmus programme clearly demonstrates that studying abroad can be a particularly valuable experience as it is not only the best way to learn about other countries, ideas, languages and cultures; increasingly, it is also an important element in academic and professional career development.

The recognition of studies and diplomas is a prerequisite for the creation of an Open European area of education and training, where students and teachers can move without obstacles. That is why the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) was developed in a pilot scheme established within the Erasmus Programme as a means of improving academic recognition for study abroad. The external evaluation of ECTS has demonstrated the potential of the system, and the European Commission has decided to include ECTS in its proposal for the Socrates programme. The ECTS system is now moving from its restricted pilot stage towards a much wider use as an element of the European dimension in higher education.

ECTS provides an instrument to create transparency, to build bridges between institutions and to widen the choices available to students. The system makes it easier for institutions to recognise the learning achievements of students through the use of commonly understood measurements - credits and grades, and it also provides a means to interpret national systems of higher education. The ECTS system is based on three core elements: information (on study programmes and student achievement), mutual agreement (between the partner institutions and the student) and the use of ECTS credits (to indicate student workload).

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