Higher Education WorkGroup

Higher education

Contact: EuroScience office

+33 3 88 24 11 50

Presentation

Background

The working group on the education was set up in January 2005. It deals with issues related to science education and with European policies in the sector of higher education.

Scientific education and research are often perceived as sequential stages in a researcher’s career, but they should be considered as connected. There are many examples of brilliant ideas that were first born in the mind of students: it is important to recognize and to nurture real talent at an early stage during the education process. The involvement of students in elements of “real” research work might need changes in course structure and teaching methods. Forms of multi-, inter- and trans-disciplinarity, features of contemporary science, should figure prominently within educational programmes. Spreading examples of good practice in teaching is vital. For example, brilliant university courses such as the famous one by Richard Feynman - as reported in his textbook Feynman’s Lectures in Physics - need to be identified and widely disseminated. Pan-European exchanges of information and experience relating to the introduction of new approaches to scientific education (e.g. distance learning) should be strengthened. The introduction of good courses on the history of science may help students understand the logic of scientific development.

The European policies in the field of education take the form of cooperation and coordination among States, and notably through the funding of mobility programs of students and teachers. The role of the European Union is limited, but on the rise, and is clustered around the Lifelong Learning Programme, encompassing the well-known Erasmus programme for student exchange in higher education – however all the stages, including school, vocational and adult education, are considered. Other instruments like Erasmus Mundus or Tempus address the cooperation with non-EU countries. There is support for cooperative interactions amongst schools and European universities, and for the collection and analysis of comparative data.

The most politically relevant form of cooperation in higher education in Europe is the “Bologna Process”, a voluntary and mostly intergovernmental coordination of policy activities and studies aimed at the creation of the European Higher Education Area. The cooperation includes a consultative role for major stakeholders like, of course, Universities and students, represented through their European associations. There is also a partnership role granted to other organisations, according to specific criteria. EuroScience has a formal status of partner of the Bologna Process.

General objectives

To bring members together to contribute to ongoing projects on issues of interest

To be the representative bodies of the wider EuroScience community concerning a special theme

To produce statements, position papers etc. with the support of the Governing Board

To address vital scientific discussions within a particular theme

To raise awareness of research and science related issues within a certain theme

To work with and support EuroScience in order to achieve the organisation’s mission and goals

Long-term objectives

Building a stronger profile for this policy area within EuroScience, bearing in mind that it is not central to its scope anyway

Perhaps, increasing the weight of EuroScience in the Bologna Process/EHEA, keeping in mind that it’s not possible to upgrade the observer status 

Possibly, be capable to draft position papers or analysis, both for Bologna and other non Bologna issues of the policy area. This will depend on the interest of both the Board and of the membership to have them done

Activities

Planned activities

There are no items available at the moment.

Past activities

There are no items available at the moment.

Archives

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