Lifelong Learning & the European Qualifications Framework

Lifelong Learning & the European Qualifications Framework by Dianne Willcocks, Version 2007, EURASHE_AC_Copenhagen_070426-27_pres_WILLCOCKS.pdf (0.6 MB)

Social Dimension of Higher Education Lifelong Learning or Higher Education ”made to measure”

Social Dimension of Higher Education Lifelong Learning or Higher Education ”made to measure” by Margrethe Vestager, Version 2007, EURASHE_AC_Copenhagen_070426-27_pres_VESTAGER.pdf (4.2 MB)

Strengthening and Diversifying Research Strategies and Missions

Strengthening and Diversifying Research Strategies and Missions by John H. Smith, Version 2007, EURASHE_AC_Copenhagen_070426-27_pres_SMITH.pdf (1.0 MB) - The presentation will address the changing nature of the research missions being developed in Higher Education
Institutions at various levels, from doctoral programme reform to new instruments for research funding at the European and national levels, and new partnerships with regional agencies and businesses. Higher education institutions are working to strengthen and diversify their research strategies (in both fundamental and more applied research) through introducing more strategic management approaches. They are seeking increasingly to enhance their research and innovation capacities by developing further collaboration with external partners, consortia building and clustering in specific research domains, and by professionalising their processes of knowledge transfer. The current policy framework will also be reviewed to explore the degree to which the required synergy is being provided by European, national and regional research and innovation initiatives to support effectively higher education institutions in developing their research missions.

The European Institute of Technology (EIT), relation with professional education

The European Institute of Technology (EIT), relation with professional education by Ronald Guillen, Version 2007, EURASHE_AC_Copenhagen_070426-27_pres_GUILLEN.pdf (2.3 MB) - In February 2005, the President of the European Commission, J. M. Barroso, declared that a European Institute of Technology (EIT) must be created to develop innovation by connecting research, education and business. After a wide-ranking consultation (at the end of 2005), the European Council of 23-24th March 2006 recognises that “a European Institute of Technology will be an important step to fill the existing gap between higher education, research and innovation”. The Commission was invited to work about this structure. The EIT must respond to: the lack of critical mass, not enough top-class excellence, low business involvement, limited entrepreneurial initiative from education and research structures, brain-drain, lack of funding .
After consultations of the Member States (research and academic communities) the Commission has proposed in November 2006 a regulation of the European parliament and the Council, establishing the EIT. It will start in 2008 and its objective is to contribute to industrial competitiveness by reinforcing the innovation capacity of the Member States and the Community. A Governing Board (balance of business experience and academic/research experience) will approve the EIT strategy and define the fields in which the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) will be established.
In this work, a brief explanation of the EIT will be presented, describing the structure and finalities in terms of social and economic developments. Then a discussion will be proposed about the relation between the EIT and the higher education institutions, taking into account the professional and applied research and the rapid application of results of research for innovation and development.

Widening Participation

Widening Participation by Roger Ellul-Micallef, Version 2007, EURASHE_AC_Copenhagen_070426-27_pres_ELLUL-MICALLEF.pdf (70 KB) - Higher Education Institutions and their activities remain central to the development of society and the strengthening of those democratic values which we all cherish. The Lisbon strategy acknowledged that higher education is absolutely crucial for the achievement of its goals. Access and equity are among the more important core values on which the further development of our institutions of tertiary education are based. The responsibilities which society requires Institutions of Higher Learning to meet have never been so heavy as now. These responsibilities will continue to expand in complexity and in consequence. The community expects these institutions to help anticipate and foresee change in the world of work. This is a time of major challenges but also of great opportunities. Our institutions must continue to be not only academically excellent but also financially sustainable.
The problem of mutual recognition of accreditation is still with us although the recent formation of a consortium of accrediting agencies from a number of European Countries, ECA is a step in the right direction. The funding of European Institutions of Higher Education and the consequent matter of tuition fees remains a controversially hot topic and was last year the theme of an EUA spring conference in Hamburg. Students through their ESIB representatives, I think cogently and correctly, argued that tuition fees would be nowhere near the contributions needed to fill the funding gap. It will only mean that disadvantaged students would find it more difficult to gain access to tertiary education unless adequate student support systems are put in place.
Governments and Higher Education Institutions must together be committed to a long-term vision of a Europe of Knowledge. Naturally higher education should remain first and foremost a public responsibility. A Bologna Seminar proposed by France in the Berlin-Bergen work programme and organised by the French Ministry of National Education in co-operation with ES1B was held at the Sorbonne University in January 2005, the University which saw the birth of the Bologna Process in 1998; revealed that competitiveness and the social dimension can and should co-exist and be comfortable bed fellows. Social cohesion and economic development are interdependent. Equity of access for under privileged students coming from poor families or minority groups is of fundamental importance in trying to achieve social cohesion. Widening access for the underprivileged has, besides important social implications, also very relevant economic effects.
The main aim of the European Access Network, which is an international, independent, non-governmental educational association, seeks to promote access to higher education and training in all European countries for those who are currently under-represented, whether for reasons of gender, ethnic origin, nationality, age, disability, income level, family background, vocational training or earlier educational disadvantage. In the age in which we are living, with Globalization and Information Technology taking pride of place, Higher Education has increasingly come to hold the key to one’s future healthy income. Hard work and greater efforts rarely make up for lack of training, required knowledge and desired skills.
Lack of education, particularly at the higher level, is behind the low economic mobility that has reappeared since 1980, even in the so called more developed countries, particularly in the UK and the USA. I fear that we may well allow Higher Education to stray from its core mission – successfully training all those who are capable and willing of completing their education to the highest level possible. For this to happen, fairness and transparency in university admissions are essential. I do not think that we are anywhere near achieving the Lisbon objective that 50% of our young people should complete Higher Education.
Access is not the only stumbling block that students from lower income or minority groups have to overcome. Economic pressures on students matter – and matter a great deal. What educational institutions do to retain these students and ensure they successfully navigate the various pitfalls they may come across during their training periods is also of crucial importance. Higher Education will continue to be the basis of economic opportunity in this information age. It forms the cornerstone of Knowledge production. We must not fail our young students. We ought not to allow them to simply give up because they perceive a place in an Institution of Higher Learning as unattainable. We must not let them be scared of completing their education because they dread involving themselves in debt.

Higher Education, Democratic, Culture and Social Responsibility

Higher Education, Democratic, Culture and Social Responsibility by Sjur Bergan, Version 2007, EURASHE_AC_Copenhagen_070426-27_pres_BERGAN.pdf (0.8 MB) - We tend to have a one dimensional, traditional view of education: it is a once in a lifetime experience, and its purpose is preparation for work. Neither assumption can do justice to the education experience. In addition to preparing for the labor market, higher education must also prepare for life as citizens in democratic societies, stimulate the personal development of learners and develop and maintain a broad, advanced knowledge base. The social dimension of higher education cuts across all of its major purposes, and lifelong learning is an important element of it.
Higher education must enable learners to tackle the “big issues” such as making our societies sustainable – not only environmentally, but also economically, politically, socially and culturally – and coping with diversity.
Democratic culture is what makes democratic institutions and democratic laws work. It relies on well educated citizens willing to engage in the public space, which requires a broad range of generic competences. With US partners, the Council of Europe has launched a project on the Responsibility of Higher Education for Democratic Culture . This project aims to develop a broader view of higher education emphasizing a greater sense of civic responsibility as well as of the connection between classroom and society. The project will hopefully also help universities and members of the academic community to see more clearly their role as actors in society.

Regional Cooperation Between Regional Centres of Knowledge, Local Authorities and Enterprises

Regional Cooperation Between Regional Centres of Knowledge, Local Authorities and Enterprises by Richard Thorn, Version 2007, EURASHE_AC_Copenhagen_070426-27_pres_THORN.pdf (1.4 MB)

Knowledge Centre for Human Resource Development and Business HUITEK

Knowledge Centre for Human Resource Development and Business HUITEK by László Erdey, Version 2007, EURASHE_AC_Copenhagen_070426-27_pres_ERDEY.pdf (8.1 MB)