A speech by EURASHE President Stéphane Lauwick at the EHEA Ministerial Conference in Rome 2020

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

EURASHE represents Professionally oriented Higher Education in Europe: this is the sector of applied sciences. We promote high-quality professional higher education and user-oriented research in Europe by facilitating cooperation with all stakeholders.

– The COVID pandemic is challenging us to further increase dialogue with all interested parties for more collaboration in the interest of the citizens of Europe

The institutions we represent, colleges, Polytechnics and universities of AS are diverse but they all share a mission to be more collaborative and flexible the better to serve the women and men of our regions.

– It’s all about LLL and how we can embed it deep into our universities and the structures of the EHEA / Our role is to train, upskill and reskill the citizens of the continent. We’re working passionately on new tools that bring the flexibility needed to cater for a wide variety of targets groups: from young people, of course, to immigrants, to the unemployed women and men of Europe: Short cycle education, RPL, and we’re a strong voice to support the work on micro-credentials.

Digitalisation is not an emergency substitute in times of pandemic but a long-term goal that will enable us to really go forward in providing HE for an increased share of the public.

Our sector is profoundly involved in reflecting on the future skills needed as a result of the education processes: how can you provide all learners with the ability to act in an ever complex and challenging world and in work situations that are difficult to anticipate today.

– Likewise, we’re working on the increasing role of work-based learning: how you promote it, how you assure its quality, through strengthened cooperation with the world of work. It is an opportunity to cater for more students

The talent of the applied sciences lies in their Regional engagement: it is our mission to make diversity really work for the regional innovation ecosystems in which we provide training and applied research for a growing variety of people. Our business, you see, is to recognize and promote the fantastic opportunities of uniting applied research & learning with our regional partners.

– So, I call on all actors in the EHEA to pay attention to what PHE institutions can offer to a society that is going through a severe crisis: let us see PHE institutions, the UAS, as ‘bridges’ over troubled waters.

How can we achieve diversity?

First I think it’s a matter of excellent governance. Governance that is organised to provide every student with the structures and opportunities to reach his and her level of personal excellence. It’s therefore also a matter of excellent learning and being able to connect our learning with our applied research.

Access a video recording here.

Rome Ministerial Communiqué here.