Overall, the evaluation finds that the NORPART programme shows promising results with respect to some of its objectives. However, we argue that achievement of the overall goal of the programme would be enhanced if the goal structure focused less on the quantity of student mobilities, allowing
for more resources to be spent towards activities that may have a larger effect on the quality of education at an institutional level.
Overall, we find that NORPART is well-designed, considering the multiple, partially conflicting political aims that the programme is expected to achieve. The evaluation does, however, uncover some features of the programme’s goal structure that could be changed in order to strengthen the programme’s achievements. We argue that focusing on the quantity of student mobilities draws resources away from other activities, which ultimately may have a larger effect on the quality of education. A desk study of similar programmes internationally, shows that these programmes treat mobility as a means, rather than a goal in itself. Further, we find the overall goal formulation, which implies improved quality of higher education nationally in the involved countries, to be too ambitious, as the programme does not have
the necessary resources, nor expedient activities, for achieving quality enhancement at a national level. Lastly, the goal of producing ripple effects to wider society should be more clearly communicated in the calls, and further operationalised. The evaluation argues that the environmental impact of the programme could be reduced by replacing shorter with longer mobility stays. However, such a change is at odds with the current goal structure of the programme. This dilemma should be addressed at a political level.
Administration and selection process
We find that the administration of the programme to a large degree works well. Our findings indicate that project coordinators are satisfied with the application process, the required reporting and the follow-up they receive from Diku.
Achievement of objectives
As the programme’s achievements depend on the projects’ achievements, and none of the projects have yet finished their funding period, it is premature to conclude regarding the programme’s achievements. Our assessments of goal achievement are therefore based on whether the results so far seem promising. We find that the objective of increased incoming student mobility from the NORPART countries to Norway will not be achieved, as the planned number of mobilities for the current project portfolio is not sufficient for achieving an increase compared to the Quota Scheme. Due to lack of baseline data, it has not been possible to ascertain whether there will be an increase in
the outgoing mobility from Norway to NORPART countries, but we find that the planned numbers probably will not be achieved. This may be due to difficulties with recruiting Norwegian students, especially for long-term mobilities. We find that the objectives of strengthening partnerships for
education and research and enhancing quality and internationalisation of the involved academic programmes, probably will be achieved. So far, there are more indications of quality enhancement at involved academic programmes in the South than in Norway. Although the overall goal of the programme is quite ambitious, it seems that the NORPART programme has some potential for contributing towards enhanced quality of higher education at an
institutional level. The programme also seems to have a potential for achieving ripple effects to wider society, through including non-academic network partners.
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