Higher education workgroup: activities 2010-2012

Planned activities for 2010-2012

The Bologna Process/EHEA for the period 2010-2012 will be organised around the typical calendar of activities centred around the preparation of the next Ministerial Conference, which will be hosted by Romania (Bucharest 26-27/4 2012). This will include, in particular, official “Bologna Seminars” to discuss relevant policy issues and draft policy positions to be taken up by the Ministers. We will seek to take part in these Seminars (of which we receive the invitation) as we did in the past, according to possibilities and availability. We try to involve local-level members/sections where this may prove useful for the participation.

We will stay in touch with all official information on the Process, distributed through the dedicated mailing-list managed by the Bologna Secretariat. Public information is accessible at the web site:
http://www.ehea.info/

Information on the EHEA will be provided to those members asking for it; general references will be given in the web pages of the WG. Upgrade of our profile in the Process will depend upon a number of variable factors (see Long term objectives for this), and we will try to involve grass-root members in discussions/opinions on the subject via the mailing-list.

On the other strand of the policy area, namely the EU policies and related initiatives, we will seek to take part in events and debates according to relevance and interest. The concrete development of this form of engagement will depend on variable factors (see Long term objectives for this).

We will also try to come back to one of the original scopes of the present WG, namely science education, depending on time and people willing to engage.
Overall, we will try to make use of the dedicated mailing-list to gain interest and membership for the WG, and publish something on the web pages of the WG, and for the Euroscientist.

Activities 2010

During 2010 we have been following the European policies in this field, grouped under two general strands:
1) The Bologna Process/European Higher Education Area
2) Other activities, events, initiatives in this field, including those pertaining properly to the EU, and those promoted by other institutions/stakeholders.

Along the first line, we attended the main political event of the year, namely the formal creation of the European Higher Education Area out of the so far 11 years long “Bologna Process”. The event took place in Budapest and Vienna on 11-12 March:
http://www.ond.vlaanderen.be/hogeronderwijs/bologna/2010_conference/
Euroscience was thus represented, fulfilling its official role of observer to this Process. It is not a political role like the one played by consultative members, but we were at least able to “spot” the organisation in an major European political forum.
Before the Ministerial Meeting, we took part in one of the latest events of the Bologna calendar, namely the Seminar “Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) – sharing European principles and practice”, held in Brussels on 17 February 2010.
We remained in touch with all official information on the Process, distributed through the dedicated mailing-list managed by the Bologna Secretariat and with the public information available in the official web site.
As for the second policy line, we followed the flow of information coming from the EU institutions, whose competence in the field of higher education is limited in scope both for policies and programmes, but which nevertheless gained ground in the latest years. This includes in particular the establishment of the EIT, the place of HE in the EU 2020 Strategy (with a specific target for increasing the share of 30-34 years old having completed tertiary or equivalent education to at least 40%) and the enhanced relationships between HE, research and innovation underpinning many policy documents of the EU. This is not to forget the traditional Lifelong Learning Programme, and its HE section, the ERASMUS Programme.

Other novelties in the field, coming from EU institutions and stakeholders, regard the feasibility study for a multidimensional ranking of Universities, funded by the Commission (http://www.u-multirank.eu/). We filled in, but on a personal basis, a stakeholders’ questionnaire on the issue.

We attended the launch event by LERU (League of European Research Universities) of its advice paper “University rankings: Diversity, excellence and the European initiative”, held in Brussels on 23 June 2010.

We also kept in touch with the OECD’s ongoing AHELO project (Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes), which is likewise supposed to take centre stage in case of positive evaluation of its current feasibility study. AHELO is a sort of “PISA testing” for higher education.

Part of the information regarding the above activities was recorded in the traditional Policy Update delivered to the Secretariat on June 30 2010.