On 29 January, the University of Bragança in Portugal with the support of EURASHE member Portuguese Polytechnics Coordinating Council held a Symposium on “Internationalisation and Competitiveness of the Polytechnic Higher Education System” which gathered national participants to discuss the policies of internationalisation and competitiveness of the Polytechnic Higher Education system at the teaching, research and international strategic levels.
EURASHE President, Stéphane Lauwick took part in the roundtable debate and addressed the challenges and opportunities that Universities of applied sciences (UAS) face in their role in the regions.
He said: EURASHE has given a lot of thought to globalisation and to the issues of Learning&Teaching and Research 4.0 in the past years. Our members’ experience shows that in order to be relevant today and be able to compete in an international environment, UAS have first of all to know their strengths very well and not compete with excellent universities, and instead promote their own way of serving their communities. He added: ‘The more we reflect on how to address the challenges of the time, the more we realize we have to put the Human at the centre of our endeavours. And that means concentrating on the relationships, the links between UAS and their stakeholders. It also means to be agile in responding to their fast changing environments: including students in research activities from the Day One, linking their Learning to their Research, finally, switching from a purely disciplinary approach to a competence-based approach when designing courses.
Mr Lauwick also stressed the importance of being inventive and creating knowledge transfer centres, finding alliances with other actors in the production and the use of knowledge.
The Symposium took part in the context of important events regarding UAS in Portugal: in 2019 Portuguese Polytechnics celebrate 40 years of existence. Also, recently enacted national legislation recognized the capacity of Polytechnics to award students with PhD degree as recommended by the OECD report ‘Review of the Tertiary Education, Research and Innovation System in Portugal’.
Portuguese Polytechnics Coordinating Council has been a EURASHE member since 2005.