Erasmus+ Policy Statement of the PAFU

The history of the Polish Air Force University (PAFU) in Polish: Lotnicza Akademia Wojskowa (LAW) dates back to 1925 when the Air Force Officer School was established in the city of Grudziądz, Poland. In 1927, it was transferred to the town of Dęblin. The “School of Eaglets” is the oldest military aviation university in Europe and one of the oldest in the world. Over those 95 years, it has repeatedly changed its name, structure, faculties, and educational program. All transformations have always led to the improvement of the quality of education and training provided. Our pilots who graduated from our University took part actively in WWII not only as soldiers of the Polish but also British or French armies. As a military university, we mainly focus on fulfilling the needs of the Polish Armed Forces by providing education to future military pilots, navigators, air traffic controllers, and logisticians. Nevertheless, due to increasing demand for specialists in the civil aviation area and industry since 2009 we have also started providing education to civilian students.
 
Currently, our University offers military students the following courses: aviation and aeronautics, navigation, and logistics, whereas for civilian students: aviation and aeronautics, navigation, aviation safety, and logistics. We provide 1st degree studies, 2nd degree studies, integrated long cycle degree studies, and postgraduate studies. Our students can study in full-time or part-time mode of study. Our University is also entitled to confer the Ph.D. degree in technical sciences in the construction and operation of machines, as well as safety sciences. We aim to provide education on the highest level to fulfil the requirements of military and civilian demands of the current national, European and global labour market constantly seeking fully and professionally qualified military and civilian specialists with strong academic background and experience in technical sciences.
 
International cooperation is of crucial importance for our University since the development strategy of our University includes improving and expanding its international cooperation in terms of educational offer, training and scientific research. All the conducted activities aim at establishing our University as an internationally recognized centre which can successfully and continuously develop by implementing new modernisation solutions which fulfil the highest standards and demands worldwide.
 
Our University has provided education and training to international students from of the United Arab Emirates, Libya, Algeria. Currently, we are providing education and training to the citizens of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Lithuania and Latvia. We have also conducted international cooperation within educational, didactic and training projects with United States, China, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Greece, Spain, scientific and research cooperation within the conducted projects such as ‘Katedra Ad hoc’ with Slovakia, Romania, Czech Republic, Hungary, and also international sports exchanges with Croatia and France.
 
Our participation in the Erasmus+ programme in the past years has been extremely beneficial and important for our University since it enabled our students and staff to understand how teaching methods differ from country to country and, by observing and comprehending those novelties, allowed them to look at education and culture from a different perspective. Owing to participation in Erasmus+ programme, both our students and staff could significantly expand their knowledge, develop practical skills, gain new qualifications and improve their language skills, other competences and their position in the international labour market. Participation in the Erasmus+ programme provided our University with the opportunity to cooperate with prestigious and specialized universities, academies, institutions and units within the aviation industry and technical sciences worldwide. It is extremely important for us to support to establish the European Education Area and at the same time our University international development and be able to offer students and staff the best opportunities to gain new qualifications at the highest level. Since 2015, our University has established the Erasmus+ cooperation with 13 universities, both military and civilian, from 11 European countries. At the moment, we are approaching a completion of one more Erasmus+ inter-institutional agreement. We have also started negotiations with new potential partners. During the upcoming 6 years, we are planning to sign about 20 new inter-institutional agreements. We have also been successfully cooperating with European institutions offering traineeships for our students and trainings for our staff. Taking into account our current international cooperation and an increasing number of students and staff interested in participating in the Erasmus + programme, we express our willingness to search for more partners to cooperate with within students and staff’s exchanges including students’ exchanges for study and traineeship and staff mobility for didactic purposes and trainings within the areas of study coherent with our educational offer and the activity and profile of our University.
 
Our University is also interested in hosting students and academic lecturers from our European partner institutions. In each academic year, we have an opportunity to receive students and academic staff from at least 5 countries within Erasmus+ programme. Mobility for studies or traineeships has a substantially important impact on our students. Erasmus+ programme has significantly enlarged the number of outgoing students and staff for international exchanges. During the upcoming academic year, we are planning to send abroad for Erasmus+ exchange approximately 30 participants including students and staff. We expect this number to rise by 10 to 20% during each subsequent year. If being granted the new Erasmus+ Charter for Higher Education, we will continue to coordinate mobility of our students and staff in accordance with ECHE, our Erasmus+ Policy Statement defining our internationalization strategy, our University Erasmus+ internal regulations, and other normative documents referring to students and staff at our University in this matter. Each participant of the mobility will be supported by us and monitored in all 3 stages of the mobility: before/during/after mobility. Before the mobility, each student and each member of our staff will take part in the recruitment process of which the selection criteria will be clearly specified and included in our University Erasmus+ internal regulations.  We will make sure the selection procedure is fair, transparent, coherent and properly documented with a particular attention paid to including students and staff who have fewer opportunities.
 
We will gradually implement the European Student Card initiative, starting with Online Learning Agreement implementation by 2021 since electronic documents flow is much easier, faster and environment friendlier than traditional paper document administration. We will begin to use the Erasmus+ Dashboard tool and encourage our students to use Erasmus+ App. We will train our students and staff how to operate the newly implemented systems effectively and efficiently. Within the upcoming 5 years, we are also planning to use functionalities integrated into Dashboard and send and receive students’ nominations and acceptances, and to exchange the transcript of records by 2023. As we are aware of the importance of the European student concept and the need for his or her undisturbed possibility to perform mobility and exchanges, we are planning to adopt the European Student’s Card by 2025.
 
Taking into account the objectives of the Erasmus + programme at our University, we will be able to continue its development complying with the following principles:
  • the principle of non-discrimination and equal treatment of all project participants irrespective of nationality, religion, or skin colour, etc.;
  • the principle of equal opportunities for all University students and staff to benefit from the  programme and its offer in order to strengthen the identity of a European with the emphasis on the European’s cultural heritage with all its diversities;
  • the principle of full automatic recognition of all successfully completed subjects and traineeships with ECTS points obtained abroad which will be included in a diploma supplement and taken into account when awarding an academic degree recognized across the EU;
  • the principle of not charging the incoming project participants with any fees for recruitment, studying or exams taken, neither for the use of lecture halls or classroom, laboratories, teaching equipment, sports facilities or the library.
  • Our Erasmus+ Policy Statement as well as the Strategy of the International Development refer to obtaining the following aims:
  • strengthening the current cooperation with present partners, other foreign institutions, research centres and companies from the aviation area and industry also in terms of Erasmus+ traineeships for our students and future graduates;
  • searching for new partners with an identical or a similar profile of education: not only higher education institutions and academies, but also training centres, enterprises and business institutions from the industry in which our students can be educated and trained accordingly;
  • encouraging students and staff to participate in the Erasmus+ programme by organizing transparent and clear recruitments advertised on our website, at the premises of the University, in social media, during the open meetings organized for students and staff at our University;
  • introducing new forms of education, curricula, courses and educational materials to facilitate the full automatic recognition of qualifications at the EU level;
  • updating the educational offer and adapting it to the requirements of the labour market through consultations with prospective employers;
  • increasing the quality of teaching methods and techniques by professional development of the teaching gained from participation in the trainings abroad including the Erasmus+ trainings;
  • developing the Erasmus+ course catalogue offer for incoming students;
  • developing Erasmus+ activities not only by increasing the number of partners from programme countries but also by an attempt to  establish cooperation with new partners within the KA107 action from partner countries;
  • implementing digital systems and applications to conduct the Erasmus+ programme more effectively to make administrative work more efficient, including: European Students’ Card Initiative, Erasmus Without Paper system;
  • promoting the use of Erasmus+ mobile App among our students;
  • organizing trainings and courses for students and staff at the premises of the University - on Erasmus Without Paper system;
  • modernisation of the University educational and research facilities, also infrastructure (new laboratories, dormitories, IT systems); 
  • organizing and participating in a wide range of international events and initiatives such as: conferences, congresses, seminars, international open days, weeks, sports exchanges during which our University can be promoted and we will be able to make new contacts as well as exchange experiences and good practices;
  • organizing and participating in cultural events aimed at integrating the incoming participants with our academic society through the exchange of experiences, learning about foreign culture and getting knowledge about the importance of cultural diversity for European integrity;
  • more active engagement of our staff and students in the performing Erasmus+ programme at our University;
  • enabling international cooperation among local/regional authorities in order to support the development of training and international initiatives for active citizenship and entrepreneurship;
  • continuing the participation in the Erasmus + programme by our University with other universities which will facilitate the mobility of university staff, teaching staff and students to a larger extent, and according to the keynote of the Bologna Declaration will allow the expansion of the European Higher Education Area which will certainly affect the improvement of the quality of the European education system;
  • organizing and participating in various joint ventures which will be a factor increasing entrepreneurial skills as well as creativity and innovation. This will lead to an increase in the activity of institutions of higher education in regional development plans and cooperation with business partners, aiming to support such initiatives. Moreover, it will enable graduates to start their own professional career. They will have the opportunity to work with enterprises in the region through apprenticeship offers advertised by the University Office of Career Services;
  • promoting and implementing the environment friendly practices and solutions while performing the Erasmus+ programme at our University to encourage both outgoing and incoming participants to take mutual responsibility for our environment in order to improve its quality;
  • sharing our Erasmus+ mobility achievements, results and outcomes during the promotional events, in publications and other promotional- materials.