Romania is the host country for the 2012 Bologna/European Higher Education Area Ministerial Conference and the Third Bologna Policy Forum. In preparation of these ministerial meetings and as a premiere, it will also hold a conference in Bucharest on 17-19 October 2011, aimed at bringing the researchers voice into higher education international level policy making. The results of the FOHE-BPRC will be presented to the participants attending the 2012 ministerial events both in written format, as well as via a presentation made by the General Rapporteur, Sir Peter SCOTT, Institute of Education, University of London. The innovative character of this event is given by the unprecedented opportunity for researchers dealing with higher education to interact and contribute to the political process shaping the European Higher Education Area, as well as national policy agendas in more than 100 participant countries in the 2012 ministerial events.
The Bologna Process Researchers Conference (BPRC) focuses on
* (i) the Bologna Process and its effects on the European higher education landscape, and
* (ii) the efforts made to define the national policy frameworks under which the EHEA tools could be implemented. The latter are illustrated by several major Romanian structural projects seeking to reform the higher education system. These projects are focused on themes of major interest at European level, such as: higher education leadership, institutional quality assurance, university rankings and higher education management.
Empirical evidence to support policies and reforms in higher education has often been a matter of local or regional focus. With the development of a pan-European process in higher education, there is a need to explore wider research topic areas, on which to base policies. In this context, the Bologna Process Researchers Conference is dedicated to collect evidence-based research, which has often been lacking during the last ten years, and to create a setting for bridging the gap between policy and research within the EHEA context.
The conference will enable discussion on key issues between various actors that don't usually interact (such as policy makers and researchers on HE) and draw on different approaches on the nature of European higher education.
Two main tracks have been identified.
The first thematic track is focused on specific Bologna developments and includes four topics that will be led by four thematic coordinators as follows:
* - European Higher Education Area principles
* - Teaching and learning (student-centred learning, employability, access to Higher Education)
* - Quality assurance
* - Mobility
The second thematic track is focused on additional Bologna developments while linking them to changes in the legal higher education system in Romania and includes four topics that will be led by four coordinators as follows:
* - Higher Education Governance in the European Higher Education Area
* - Higher Education Financing
* - Diversification of higher education institutions missions as a response to global challenges
* - Foresight/Futures of Higher Education Institutions
Each track will produce six research papers, each of them accompanied by reaction contributions that will be presented at the conference during the parallel sessions discussions.
The FOHE-BPRC conference will have as an outcome two volumes of Outcome of proceedings, corresponding to each thematic track to be part of the official documentation for the 2012 Bucharest Ministerial Conference and Third Bologna Policy Forum, as well as a possible input of the General Rapporteurs into the Conference proceedings. The Editorial Board for the two volumes will include the FOHE-BPRC General Rapporteurs and the thematic coordinators.
Eurostat is the statistical office of the European Union situated in Luxembourg. Its task is to provide the European Union with statistics at European level that enable comparisons between countries and regions. This is a key task. Democratic societies do not function properly without a solid basis of reliable and objective statistics. On one hand, decision-makers at EU level, in Member States, in local government and in business need statistics to make those decisions. On the other hand, the public and media need statistics for an accurate picture of contemporary society and to evaluate the performance of politicians and others. Of course, national statistics are still important for national purposes in Member States whereas EU statistics are essential for decisions and evaluation at European level.
Quelques exemples de statistiques concernant l'Enseignement Supérieur
Taux d'emploi, par plus haut niveau d'enseignement ou de formation atteint.
The indicator is calculated by dividing the number of employed people within age group 25-64 years having attained a specific level of education, by the total population of the same age group. Level is coded according to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED, 1997): Pre-primary, primary and lower secondary education: levels 0-2 . Upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education: levels 3-4 . Tertiary education: levels 5-6. The indicator is based on the EU Labour Force Survey (LFS), covering the entire population living in private households and excluding those in collective households such as boarding houses, halls of residence and hospitals. The data refers to the second quarter of each year, except FR and AT (quarter 1 all years) and IT (quarter 4 in 1992).
Part des femmes dans l'enseignement supérieur.
This indicator presents the percentage of women among all students in tertiary education irrespective of field of education and among all students in the fields of mathematics, science and computing and in the fields of engineering, manufacturing and construction. The levels and fields of education and training used, follow the 1997 version of the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED97) and the Eurostat manual of fields of education and training (1999).
This table includes the total number of persons who are enrolled in tertiary education (including university and non-university studies) in the regular education system in each country. It corresponds to the target population for policy in higher education. It provides an indication of the number of persons who had access to tertiary education and are expected to complete their studies, contributing to an increase of the educational attainment level of the population in the country in case they continue to live and work in the country at the end of their studies.
Mobilité d'étudiants en Europe.
This indicator presents the incoming students and outgoing students for each country, using the figures provided by the host country on foreign students enrolled in tertiary education by nationality. It includes only the EU/EEA/Candidate countries and the nationalities corresponding to these countries. Countries do not have details of the numbers of their home students studying abroad. For a given nationality, the number of students studying abroad is calculated by summing the numbers provided for this nationality by the receiving countries. The lack of data on the distribution of students by nationality in some countries leads to underestimation of the values.
Personnes âgées de 20 à 24 ans ayant atteint au moins un niveau d'éducation secondaire supérieure par sexe.
The indicator is defined as the percentage of young people of the age 20-24 years having attained at least upper secondary education attainment level, i.e. with an education level ISCED 3a, 3b or 3c long minimum (numerator). The denominator consists of the total population of the same age group, excluding no answers to the questions "highest level of education or training attained". Both the numerators and the denominators come from the EU Labour Force Survey (LFS).
The median age of a given population is the age separating the group into two halves of equal size. In the case of this indicator it means that half of the student population, i.e. persons enrolled in tertiary education (ISCED levels 5 and 6), is younger than the median age and the other half is older.
Autres données disponibles: Indicateurs de Bologne sur le revenu et le niveau d'éducation des parents (données EU-SILC), Indicateurs de Bologne: mobilité étudiante et enseignante (programme ERASMUS), Indicateurs de Bologne: systèmes d'éducation (données UOE), Indicateurs de Bologne: Taux de diplômés (Données OCDE), Indicateurs de Bologne: discordance professionnelle (données REFLEX), Diplômés de l'enseignement supérieur, discordance professionnelle et chômage (données LFS).
Council of Europe speaks at conference to mark 10th anniversary of Turkey’s accession to the Bologna Process
What is AHELO?
The Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes will test what students in higher education know and can do upon graduation. More than a ranking, AHELO is a direct evaluation of student performance. It will provide data on the relevance and quality of teaching and learning in higher education. The test aims to be global and valid across diverse cultures, languages and different types of institutions. Brochure.
AHELO will be a tool for:
- Universities: to assess and improve their teaching.
- Students: to make better choices in selecting institutions.
- Policy-makers: to make sure that the considerable amounts spent on higher education are spent well.
- Employers: to know if the skills of the graduates entering the job market match their needs.
Why now and why the OECD?
Governments and individuals have never invested more in higher education. No reliable international data exists on the outcomes of learning: the few studies that do exist are nationally focused. Available rankings reflect neither the quality of teaching and learning nor the diversity of institutions. For more than 40 years, the OECD has been one of the largest and most reliable sources of comparable statistics as well as economic and social data. The Directorate for Education has ample experience is this area with projects such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) testing the knowledge and skills of 15 year olds and the Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC).
The test will look at:
Generic skills common to all students, such as:
Discipline-specific skills (in economics and engineering for the feasibility study)
Contextual information to link the data to student backgrounds and learning environments.
Find out more on the the assessment and the instruments here.
What each university brings to the learning process: the value-added measurement
Top universities that attract A+ students and turn out A+ graduate surprise no one. But what about universities that accept B+ students and produce A+ graduates? Which is doing the better job?
AHELO aims to assess both inputs and outputs: what a student brings to a degree programme is at least as important as what he or she graduates with. The success of a student’s education is greatly influenced by supportive teachers, available resources and an environment conducive to learning (or the lack thereof). By assessing students’ learning gain, a more accurate measure of quality can be determined.
Value-added - or learning gain - will not be measured during the feasibility study but methodologies and tools for evaluating it will be explored to feed into subsequent work if the study produces positive results.
Students will be tested at the undergraduate level (nearing the end of their first 3-or 4-year-degree).
Universities: for the purpose of the feasibility study approximately 150 higher education institutions will be involved (up to 10 in each of the 15 participating countries). Participation will be extended to many more institutions in the case of a full-fledged AHELO (decision at the end of 2012). Participation is voluntary. If your university would like to kept informed about the possibility of future participation, please contact email@example.com. Higher education institutions are also involved in the management of the feasibility study. AHELO is being developed within the Institutional Management of Higher Education (IMHE) programme and under its Governing Board which includes members from governments but also from higher education institutions.
Countries: 15 countries representing a wide range of cultures and languages are participating in the feasibility study. If your country wants to know more about participating please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stakeholders: the OECD has invited a group of organisations with a stake or interest in higher education to join the AHELO Stakeholders Consultative Group. It is a channel through which information about AHELO can be presented to, and discussed with these organisations. It is also a forum where those stakeholders can expose and formulate ideas about how the study can be implemented. Members of this group include international associations of quality assurance agencies, student organisations, universities, employers and unions, as well as representatives of the engineering and economist professions.
While AHELO takes a similar approach to other OECD assessments (like PISA) in that it will assess student knowledge and skills directly, it is only a feasibility study for the moment and will not provide information at national or system levels. The focus will be at the level of institutions and will not allow for comparisons at national level.
AHELO is not a ranking and will not provide league tables. At the feasibility study stage the participating institutions will be provided with anonymous data to allow them to benchmark their performance against that of their peers.
Phase 1 - January 2010 to June 2011 - development of testing instruments for the generic and discipline-specific skills in economics and engineering and small-scale validation of these instruments.
Phase 2 - January 2011 to December 2012 - administration of the tests (and contextual questionnaires) in participating institutions.
Final conference at the end of 2012 to discuss the findings of the feasibility study: Is the assessment scientifically and practically possible? For more, see the evaluation criteria used to answer this question.
Conclusion: based on the results of the feasibility study OECD member countries will decide whether to go through with a full-scale AHELO.
The work of the feasibility study has been financed by the participating countries and through generous contributions from Lumina Foundation for Education (United States), Compagnia di San Paolo (Italy), Hewlett Foundation (United States), Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (Portugal), Riksbankens Jubileumsfund (Sweden), the Spencer Foundation (United States) as well as the Higher Education Founding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Higher Education Authority of Ireland (HEA). Testimonials from our sponsors and benefits of sponsoring AHELO are available here.
The Register is expected to:
* promote student mobility by providing a basis for the increase of trust among higher education institutions;
* reduce opportunities for “accreditation mills” to gain credibility;
* provide a basis for governments to authorise higher education institutions to choose any agency from the Register, if that is compatible with national arrangements;
* provide a means for higher education institutions to choose between different agencies, if that is compatible with national arrangements;
* serve as an instrument to improve the quality of agencies and to promote mutual trust among them.
All agencies which comply substantially with the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ESG) can be admitted to the Register. Substantial compliance with the European Standards and Guidelines is to be evidenced through an external review by independent experts. Such a review is coordinated either by a national authority or another organisation that is independent from the quality assurance agency under review. Full ENQA membership, being also based on substantial compliance with the ESG, will normally constitute satisfactory evidence for inclusion in the Register. See Application: Requirements for further information.
The EQAR Association
The EQAR Association, an international non-profit association under Belgian law (aisbl/ivzw), has been founded by the E4 organisations to indepently operate the Register of quality assurance agencies. Members of the association are the four founders, ENQA, ESU, EUA and EURASHE, as well as the social partner organisations represented in the Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG) and European governments that have decided to support the operation of EQAR and get involved in its overall governance.
See also on the blog: EQAR: l’AERES reconnue au niveau européen, La CTI inscrite à EQAR.
What is FLLLEX?
The FLLLEX project addresses the challenges and implications of LifeLong Learning incorporation into European higher education institutions. How flexible are those institutions when it comes to LifeLong Learning? Hence: FLLLEX. LifeLong Learning opens up a multitude of new possibilities for higher education institutions but the impact on the organisation as such remains understudied. What is the role of higher education in the wider landscape of LifeLong Learning? What are the institutional changes for the future? What strategy can the project propose to other higher education institutions and what policy advise to European and national players?
The FLLLEX project (The Impact of LifeLong Learning Strategies on Professional Higher Education) is an EU funded project in the framework of the Transversal Programme, Key Activity 1. It has started on the 1st of January 2010 and will run until 31st of August 2012. The consortium includes 24 partners from 10 European countries.
The self-evaluation instrument has been developed. The tests in the different partner institutions will now start. Review panels will visit these institutions and draft a report on the tool by the summer of 2011. You can follow the process at our Calendar.
Self evaluation instrument
One of the goals of FLLLEX is to develop a Self-evaluation instrument for Higher Education Institutions. With the instrument, those must be able to enhance their policy and practical organisation relating to Lifelong Learning. The instrument has been developed by ENQA. It is currently being tested at several instutions throughout Europe. The testing in each institution takes place with the aid of focus groups. You may find the relevant dates in our Calendar. If you take part in the focus groups or if you are simply interested in our preliminary results, we invite you to have a look at the instrument. The use of the instrument will be explained at the start of your focus group but we already invite you to read the introduction of the document. Further background can be found in our powerpoint presentation on FLLLEX and this particular work package. Participants to the focus groups who speak Dutch can watch the introductory movie.
The FLLLEX project has set ambitious goals. To achieve those, the project is run by the partners over nine work packages.
The objective of the project is to identify challenges and implications of LifeLong Learning (LLL) incorporation into European higher education institutions (HEI’s), with special attention given to the recognition of prior learning and to different aspects of the management and services within higher education institutions. HEI’s remain a preferential partner in most countries for the governing bodies responsible to implement the national goals of LLL. HEI’s have a particular role to fulfil in the landscape of lifelong learners, businesses and business training providers. The project would like to assess this role within the wider landscape of LLL, as determined by the national policies and as perceived by the institutions themselves. The approach focusses on a system analysis of professional higher education habits within different European countries. The focus is on an institutional rather than on a policy level and attention is given to the comparison among practices in LLL education across the European Union. The project takes into account challenges in implementing a LLL strategy (mainly for HEI’s) and examples of good practice and will finish with generalizations and policy recommendations.
Assessing the impact of LLL on HEI’s starts with a good overview of the different strategies concerning LLL, RPL and WBL in the concerned countries. This is done in Work Package 1. Definitions will be provided for the further project on lifelong learners. Having assembled the policy and expectations of the involved States, a survey will start on the expectations of the other stakeholders in LLL: the learners (Work Package 2), the businesses (Work Package 3) and the business training providers/higher education institutions (Work Package 4). Differences and matching goals in relation to the national policies will be identified. This information serves HEI’s in better defining their role within the LLL landscape. In order to assess if the HEI’s match up with the expectations of the different stakeholders, a self-assessment tool is prepared in Work Package 5 based on the crucial indicators for LLL as defined by the other stakeholders in the survey. It will focus on policy, curricular aspects (design, flexibility), management of programmes, RPL, internal processes (academic – administrative), student counselling, quality assurance, and others if identified during the process. The results of the self-assessment (as carried out by each institutional partner in Work Package 6) are reviewed by a panel of experts, one of whom is connected to a policy-making body within the concerned country. This is Work Package 7. The goals of the last three work packages are to provide benchmarking for the individual institutions, to test the tool before further dissemination in Europe and to gather information for broader policy proposals of LLL. On the basis of those results a package (including self-assessment tool, good practices and policy advise) is developed which will be distributed by the national organisations in the consortium among their members (Work Package 8). The overall management of the project is carried out from within Work Package 9.
Reports and other publications
The project members want to disseminate the project goals and results in an early stage. Proper use of the project results is encouraged. All project partners, and in particular the work package leaders, can be consulted for further information. Presented here are the interim reports, final reports and publications related to the project and its topic.
The FLLLEX consortium exists out of 24 partners from ten different EU countries. The project deals with the implementation of LifeLong Learning strategies in higher education institutions. Eight HEIs have been selected together with the national organisation representing them as Full Partners. The project was initiated and is supported by Eurashe. Three Associated Partners form part of the Advisory Board. The external evaluation is carried out by Educonsult.
Higher Education Institutions
Cardonald College (United Kingdom)
Hanzehogeschool (The Netherlands)
IUT de Saint-Nazaire (France)
KHLeuven - Leuven University College (Belgium)
Laurea University (Finland)
Letterkenny Institute of Technology (Ireland)
Vilnius College (Lithuania)
Yasar University (Turkey)
National Organisations for Profession-oriented higher education
L'Association des Directeurs d'IUT (ADIUT) (France)
Council of Flemish Institutions of Higher Education (VLHORA) (Belgium)
Council of Higher Education (YOK) (Turkey)
Institutes of Technology Ireland (IoTI) (Ireland)
Lithuanian Colleges Directors' Conference (LKDK) (Lithuania)
The Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences (HBO raad) (The Netherlands)
Rectors' Conference of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences (ARENE) (Finland)
West of Scotland Colleges' Partnership (WOSCOP) (United Kingdom)
Banku Augstskola (BA) (Latvia)
European Association for Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE) (Belgium)
European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) (Finland)
3s research lab (3s) (Austria)
European Students' Union (ESU).
The 2011 SRHE Annual Research Conference will be held on 7, 8 and 9 December 2011 and, by popular request from previous delegates, is returning to the Celtic Manor Resort near Newport in South Wales. Celtic Manor, set in 1400 acres of parkland in the stunning Welsh USK Valley, is one of the finest conference venues in Europe offering state of the art conference facilities, accommodation for all conference delegates and extensive and exclusive spaces for delegates to network.
We anticipate a start time on Wednesday 7 December of 11.00am (registration from 9.00am) and a mid-afternoon finish time on Friday 9 December 2011. The SRHE Annual Research Conference is planned as a participative event at which delegates presenting their own work will also participate in the discussions in plenary sessions and the presentations of the work of others. The Conference programme is planned on the basis that delegates will attend the whole event over the three days.
This year, for the first time, we have developed our own theme for the Newer Researchers’ Conference, which is related to, but distinct from the theme for the Annual Research Conference. At a time of change and some uncertainty in our sector, our Conference focus is based around the notion of inspiring positive futures in higher education, looking at this via communities, spaces and places. This broad theme should enable newer researchers with a very wide variety of backgrounds and interests to submit a paper. Abstracts are invited for posters, paper presentations and symposia around the theme, whilst submissions may address the theme as a whole or just a part of it.
Accompanying Research Strands
New Communities - exploring the ways in which different communities interact with and within higher education in relation to:
* The development and reconfiguration of virtual, physical and disciplinary communities.
* Globalisation, international expansion, massification and changing funding regimes of higher education transforming local, regional and global communities.
* The changing relationship between higher education and society and the purpose of universities internationally.
* Emergence of interdisciplinary and intercultural communities leading to new curricula, new learning communities and the development of new research methodologies.
* New professional groupings and hybrid professional and academic identities in the context of higher education.
* Inclusion, diversity and widening participation transforming the student experience.
New spaces and places - exploring the ways in which new spaces and places are emerging in higher education in relation to:
* E-learning, virtual learning and social networking transforming learning spaces
* Transformation of the physical space, flexible learning and facilities of universities.
* The student experience and the evolving identities of students.
* Curriculum review and reform creating new intellectual spaces for learning, teaching and research.
* Changes in relation to institutional governance, management and leadership as these shape institutions and the sector nationally and internationally.
* Expansion of higher education into new spaces and places through work-based learning, higher education in further education, community engagement and the impact of the employability agenda on universities.
* The generation of international league tables, comparative benchmarking and quality assurance mechanisms and discourses.
Inspiring futures - exploring the future of higher education, the opportunities and transformative potential of higher education through:
* The future purpose and role of higher education in effecting positive social, economic, intellectual change and growth
* Strategic future of higher education in relation to global, diverse and interconnected world
* The role of universities in knowledge-transfer, economic and social empowerment, community engagement and internationalisation.
See also Challenging Higher Education: knowledge, policy and practice.
Joint degree programmes, resulting in a truly trans-European degree, facilitating mobility and attracting students from outside the European Higher Education Area, have been on top of the agenda from the beginning of the Bologna process. They have already been mentioned in the Sorbonne Declaration (1998), and the Ministers of Higher Education involved in the Bologna process raised the issue at most of the ministerial conferences since then. In 2007 and 2009, the implementation of joint programmes was also followed up in the stocktaking exercises.
At the Leuven/Louvain-La-Neuve conference in 2009, ministers emphasised that "joint degrees and programmes […] shall become more common practice". Already in the early days of joint programmes it became clear that they mean a challenge to quality assurance: more than one provider develop and offer a joint programme which is studied at more than one institution in more than one country with different political and legal frameworks and not the least differing quality assurance regimes.
The European quality assurance agencies accepted this challenge and made a great effort in the last years to analyse the specific issues of quality assurance in joint programmes and develop approaches for this specific case. The most important projects were the “Transnational European Evaluation Projects I and II” (TEEP I and II) by ENQA, “Joint Master’s Programmes – Joint Evaluations: A Nordic Challenge” by the Nordic Quality Assurance Network, and the work done by the European Consortium for Accreditation, not the least in the field of mutual recognition. In addition, EUA developed the European Master’s New Evaluation Methodology (EMNEM). Hence, today one can rely on ample experience with quality assurance of joint programmes.
The purpose of this seminar is
- to analyse experience in quality assurance of joint programmes as regards specific issues and methodological approaches, and
- to draft recommendations to the Bologna ministerial conference in Bucharest in April 2012
The seminar will gather 30 participants from ENQA, NOQA, ECA, ENIC-NARIC and the European Commission.
The draft programme for the seminar can be found here (pdf).
See also on the blog: ENQA workshop on Quality Assurance and Lifelong Learning, 6th European Quality Assurance Forum, L’AERES, évaluée et reconnue par l’ENQA!
UoPeople strives to serve the vast numbers of students who have no access to traditional higher education. Some can't afford it, or they live in countries where there are simply no good colleges to attend. Others live in rural areas, or identify with a culture, an ethnicity, or a gender that is excluded from public services. UoPeople students pay an application fee of between $10 and $50 and must have a high-school diploma and be proficient in English. There are also small fees for grading final exams. Otherwise, it's free.
The university takes advantage of the growing body of free, open-access resources available online. Reshef made his fortune building for-profit higher-education businesses during the rise of the Internet, and he noticed a new culture of collaboration developing among young people who grew up in a wired world. So UoPeople relies heavily on peer-to-peer learning that takes place within a highly structured curriculum developed in part by volunteers. The university plans to award associate and bachelor's degrees, and it is now seeking American accreditation.
Rather than deploy the most sophisticated and expensive technology, UoPeople keeps it simple—everything happens asynchronously, in text only. As long as students can connect their laptops or mobile devices to a telecommunications network, somewhere, they can study and learn. For most of humanity, this is the only viable way to get access to higher education. When the university polled students about why they had enrolled, the top answer was, "What other choice do I have?"
Some observers have wondered how effective such an unorthodox learning model can be. But UoPeople's two courses of study—business administration and computer science—were selected to be practical, culturally neutral, and straightforward.
The university has also accumulated an impressive array of peers and associates. UoPeople's provost, David Harris Cohen, was previously a top administrator at Columbia University. In June, New York University announced that it would consider transfer applications from students who complete a year at UoPeople. A few weeks later, Hewlett-Packard announced that UoPeople students would be eligible for the company's online-research internship program.
To date, UoPeople has enrolled just over 1,000 students in more than 115 countries. Reshef says he believes that the very act of putting students from different cultures in close collaboration is a step toward peace. He believes the university will grow to 10,000 students in five years. At that point, he says, it will be financially sustainable. That seems realistic. The university has received thousands of applications and more than 350,000 "likes" on Facebook.
The scale of the global population lacking access to higher education is gargantuan—Reshef puts it at 100 million people worldwide. It's outlandish to think that they'll get it through the construction of American-style colleges and universities—the most expensive model of higher education known to humankind, and getting more so every year. Low-cost, online higher-education tools are the future for most people. What remains to be seen is whether American institutions understand the opportunity and the obligation this future represents.
There are numerous American colleges and universities now sitting on multibillion-dollar endowments that grew significantly in part because of government tax breaks for charitable donations and capital gains. They have globally recognized brands that are worth billions more, names so powerful that students from the other side of the world are magnetically attracted to these institutions. They have accumulated the brightest scholars and students, many of whom loudly and publicly express their concerns about global-economic injustice.
Yet what exactly are these institutions doing to redress those injustices with the service they are built to provide—higher education? In most cases, virtually nothing. John Sexton, the president of NYU, appears to be one of the elite higher-education leaders who most understands what's at stake: He has created a groundbreaking new NYU campus in Abu Dhabi and is looking to expand into China next. His enthusiasm for the UoPeople is no surprise. Nor is the presence of other NYU administrators in UoPeople leadership roles. Yale University has led the way in providing open-education resources, such as free, high-quality lecture videos, as have universities including Carnegie Mellon and MIT.
But those institutions are the exceptions. Harvard has made back some of the fortune it lost in the Wall Street casino, but it seems to have no inclination to use that money to educate more students. Undergraduates at the University of California at Berkeley can minor in global poverty, but Berkeley isn't using newly available online-learning tools to actually reduce global poverty by helping impoverished students earn college degrees. And while some institutions are publishing open-education resources, they aren't offering degrees to match.
Most elite American colleges are content to spend their vast resources on gilding their palaces of exclusivity. They worry that extending their reach might dilute their brand. Perhaps it might. Righteousness is easy; generosity is hard. In any event, Harvard's public-relations wizards managed to spin the university's decision to subsidize tuition for families making three times the median household income as a triumph of egalitarianism. The institution could easily use a program designed to help desperately needy students living in political, environmental, and economic turmoil to burnish Harvard's brand.
If Harvard doesn't seize the opportunity, some other university will. Reshef is the first to tell you that he didn't invent any of the tools that UoPeople employs. He's just the one who decided to build a whole university around the idea of using those tools to give students the education they need, the way they need it—free. He won't be the last. If colleges with the means to do so don't contribute to the cause, they will at best have betrayed their obligations and their ideals. At worst, they will find themselves curating beautiful museums of a higher-education time gone by. Kevin Carey is policy director of Education Sector, an independent think tank in Washington.
The ETF - European Training Foundation helps transition and developing countries to harness the potential of their human capital through the reform of education, training and labour market systems in the context of the EU's external relations policy. We are based in Turin, Italy, and are operational since 1994. ETF actually works with 29 partner countries, which can be geographically grouped in Enlargement region, Neighbourhood region and Central Asia, as every single country is severally involved in the European Neighbourhood Partnership Instrument or in the Enlargement process according to the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance.
A network of leading experts
This ETF initiative aims to contribute to increased efficiency of policy development in vocational education and training in ETF partner countries.
- What experiences and lessons learned are available and could be shared to enhance the role of evidence in policy making?
- What needs are there in countries to efficiently and effectively create and use evidence throughout the policy cycle?
- What tools, actors, networks should be developed and strengthened to build an evidence-based approach to policy making?
The ETF will facilitate networking and exchange around these questions among policy-makers, practitioners, experts and researchers to make VET an engine for human capital development.
International thematic groups, meetings, country seminars as well as materials and tools to support the exchange and creation of knowledge will be developed. Torinet has taken its first steps online to start a debate, share ideas, experiences and lessons around evidence-based policy making in VET. Torinet is a vision in itself: the vision to create a culture of evidence, participation, ownership and accountability in vocational education and training. This is just the start, we have a direction, but we don't have a planned arrival point!
ACTING ON EVIDENCE - FOSTERING INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY
Creation of evidence, use of evidence, communication of evidence, networks of information, networks of people, knowledge sharing – form the basis of sound policy making that is accompanied and fostered by creativity and innovation. Evidence by itself is not enough to make VET effective and efficient. A VET policy should be based on evidence but fostered with vision, innovation and creativity. This only allows change to happen and be meaningful. The ETF’s Torinet initiative responds to the complexity of evidence-based work. It supports leaders in vocational education and training, throughout the policy cycle and across thematic areas to deliver better policies.
All ETF partner countries will benefit from the initiative in a medium term prospective. In 2011-12 the first group of 11 countries will be involved: Croatia, Republic of Moldova, Belarus , Serbia , Egypt , Tunisia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kosovo, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan
With the first group of countries the ETF will work by:
- providing support in the areas of 1) governance, 2) evidence and 3) policy cycles,
- engaging in a policy dialogue with countries on the three pillars mentioned above in adapting them to specific needs of countries,
- supporting dialogue among leaders to foster the creation, communication, and use of evidence for policy making
Related pages: Belarus, Croatia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Serbia, Tajikistan, The Torino Process, Tunisia, Ukraine, Kosovo.
Publications: The Torino Process - Evidence based policy making for VET, Torino Process - compendium of country reports, Torino Process - Azerbaijan, Torino Process - Egypt, Torino Process - Tunisia, Torino process - Learning from evidence newsletter - May 2011, Torino Process - Lebanon, Torino Process - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Processus de Torino - Maroc (Torino Process - Morocco), Torino Process - Syria, Processus de Turin - Tunisie, Torino Process - Israel, Torino Process - Jordan, Torino Process - Georgia, Torino Process - Tajikistan, Torino Process - Moldova, Torino Process - Armenia, Torino Process - occupied Palestinian Territoy, Torino Process - Kosovo (Under UNSCR 1244).
Put simply, lifelong learning means that people can – and should have the opportunity to – learn throughout their lives. A lot of learning takes place in a lot of different situations and much of this occurs once we have finished our formal education. Lifelong learning serves not only to make people more employable, but also to further their personal development and encourage active citizenship and social inclusion.
Lifelong learning first became a buzzword in Europe in the mid 1990s. It has been part of the EU’s policy response to a fast-changing world ever since. With such a long pedigree, you might expect that little remains to be done and that access to lifelong learning is now a well-established right for all. But nothing could be further from the truth. A recent study showed that in the highest achieving countries of the EU, only 12% of people aged 24-59 participate in at least one week of training every year. In the ETF’s partner countries where resources are scarcer and provision of post-secondary education and training tends to be less developed, the proportion of people who have access to lifelong learning is even lower.
Therefore adult learning – whether it be second chance adult education or more job-related continuing training – is a special priority. The ETF has been supporting the development of national adult education strategies in countries such as those of South Eastern Europe for some time now. Adult education also takes pride of place in the ETF’s new Mutual Learning project focusing on the same region. Harnessing the potential of new technology to provide e-learning is another important area. E-learning is seen as an excellent tool for lifelong learning with its capacity to make learning available in an affordable way for people living in remote areas or with limited time to study. Projects such as MEDA - Education and Training for Employment have developed e-learning capacities for teacher trainers in Mediterranean countries and it is the countries themselves who are now continuing this work. Alongside numerous initiatives aimed at promoting e-learning, the ETF regularly uses e-learning as a vehicle for networking and information exchange within its own projects through the provision of virtual communities where project participants can lead their own debates.
Higher Education: Higher Education & VET Quality Assurance: strategy seminar, Paradigm change: Egyptian higher education establishment considers options for entrepreneurial learning.