The EU Commission invested considerably in the development of the European Student Card Initiative as a key means to implement and realise the European Educational Area by 2025.
The European Student Card (ESC), one of the building blocks of the Initiative, provides for a consolidated and reliable mechanism for students’ authentication, exchange of students’ data and interoperability among EU Higher Education Institutions (HEI) to guarantee access to students’ services to streamline and facilitate mobility.
Despite progress in the development of the ESC, its adoption across EU HEIs is still lagging due to operational and implementation challenges.
The adoption of the ESC is not a mere use of a logo or is not limited to the issuance of a card: adopting the ESC imposes considerable technical, administrative and organisational requirements on HEIs.
To implement the ESC, HEIs have to “adopt the card” and “adapt the students’ services” to ESC modalities. Such “adoption” and “adaption” processes have technological as well as administrative and operational aspects that are still limiting the use of the ESC.
Progress on the roll-out of the ESC is a pressing need clearly recognised by the EU, so much so that ESC adoption is a key priority of Erasmus+. While technology and ICT requirements for the ESC are available, what is currently missing in the Member States are clear operational guidelines for HEIs to address the administrative and organisational challenges for ESC adoption.
The ESC-tension Project has the aim to promote the adoption and use of the ESC by establishing a platform that will become a national focal point for the HEIs and Service Providers that want to implement the ESC. The platform will host the multilingual versions of operational tools that will detail the administrative, organisational and operational steps to issue the ESC, harmonise the card systems and adapt the students’ services to make the ESC fully functional in operational environments.
ESC-tension brings together excellence at EU level in the sphere of HEIs, student cards, ESC implementation as well as student services. The partnership encompasses complementary capacities and expertise through the involvement of 7 partners from 6 countries.
ESC-tension will produce operational tools to advance the adoption and use of the ESC in HEIs that will have available the tools to implement the ESC.