The Secretary General's objective is to visit all 16 CEEPUS member countries to identify local characteristics for effective partnership and smooth cooperation. This personal visit was of particular importance, because even though Michael Schedl took over his mandate in 2020 from Elisabeth Sorantin, who has held the post of Secretary General for 25 years, only online consultations have been possible for the past two years, because of the coronavirus.
On the first day, the delegation visited Tempus Public Foundation where Szabolcs Bokodi, Director of Higher Education, gave a brief presentation on the structure of the organisation and the work of the Higher Education Directorate. They also discussed the most important updates concerning the CEEPUS exchange programme, such as the distribution of scholarship quotas for the next academic year, the support of participants with fewer opportunities and the travel support for outgoing applicants. The next, 4th phase of CEEPUS was also mentioned, as an agreement is scheduled to be signed by member countries in Warsaw in the summer of 2023. The first day ended with a pleasant, informal dinner. During the second day, the visit continued at the Ministry for Innovation and Technology, where discussions were held on Hungary's role in the programme, the latest developments, and the future of CEEPUS.
Higher education institutions in Hungary are becoming more and more active in the programme, both in the international networks and in individual mobility. The Secretary General was pleased to note that although the number of applicants has decreased in all Member States due to the coronavirus, from the 2021/2022 academic year there seems to be an upturn in the number of individual mobility. The introduction of virtual mobility and the significant increase in scholarships from 1 January 2022 have contributed to this.
Michael Schedl expressed his special thanks to Hungary for the scholarships it offers jointly with other Member States to Ukrainian teachers and students during the crisis caused by the war. This is an unusual action, as Ukraine is currently not a member of the CEEPUS programme.