11 décembre 2011

South Sudan: Review of Higher Education in Country

allAfrica.com A presentation by this author to the Conference on Higher Education in South Sudan held on 14-15 November 2011 in Juba [1], outlined the function of tertiary education and its requirements, concluded by raising certain policy issues that needed to be addressed in order to revamp higher education and recommended that it will serve the best interest of this country that at this stage our country consolidates the current three universities.
The organizer of the conference did not like this recommendation and claimed that the author was the only one who held that view. How he arrived at that conclusion, when no vote was taken is known to him alone. That is not even an issue, what mattered was whether the argument was sound or not. Since then a number of academicians worth the mettle who supported this point of view made their opinions known on the internet.
In that conference the audience was a highly educated group and therefore certain issues were taken for granted not requiring explanation. The discussion that followed showed that this was not entirely the case. Furthermore, the debate has now gone to the newspapers; a situation demanding putting ideas in a manner that will be easily understood by all.
The purpose of this paper therefore is to elucidate further the reasons behind the recommendation. The Function of Tertiary EducationIn a nutshell, the function of higher education is to provide merit-based knowledge and advanced skills critical to the country's socio-economic growth. This is attained through efficient education and research. Improved and accessible tertiary education and effective national innovations systems can help a developing country progress toward sustainable achievements in the Millennium Development Goals, particularly those goals related to all levels of education, health, and gender equity.
A new country like South Sudan must strive to promote more efficient tertiary education institutions that innovate and respond positively to meaningful performance-based allocation of resources and accountability systems. To fulfil its function, higher education (in the case of South Sudan today, read universities) the inputs must be of good quality so as to be able to produce the desired output. In this case, you must have students well-grounded in general education, qualified teaching staff and a good environment (adequate facilities, etc.) for the educational process. These are the three elements of higher education that must be taken care of in any planning and execution of policies on higher education. Thus, must be the focus of any debate on the matter.
A lot has been said on whether our universities should go for elite or mass education. If by mass education is meant a situation where the standard of the graduate is compromised in favour of numbers, then we are not talking the same language. University education is by its very nature special and of quality; call it elitist or otherwise that is what it is. Hence, it is not haphazard that universities set minimum admission requirements for students, minimum qualifications for the teaching staff and standard facilities for the educational environment. These are meant to meet the objective of higher education; a qualified graduate and high quality research.
In the same vein, all positions of University administration have set qualifications. A head of department must have spent a known minimum number of years in the department concerned, so is the case for a Dean of faculty or the Vice Chancellor. In particular, a Vice Chancellor must be a Professor who has published a set number of papers in reputed journals and had held a number of administrative positions in the university (Dean, Head of Department, etc.). Without that you do not qualify to compete for the position; election or no election.
The question of being young or old does not arise here. Those who raise eye-brows should be reminded that this is the same practice in public offices. For instance, to be an eligible candidate for the position of the President of the Republic or Governor of a State one must be 40 years or older. This is a condition set by our Constitution. A young man/woman of 40 or an old person of 75 years may compete for such a position, whereas a 39-year old fellow is barred out.
This will not be categorized as discrimination or blocking the young out. Why should we be lax when it concerns such a sensitive place such as a university? The point being made here is that any public office, not least of all university positions, must have minimum requirements. These could be related to academic qualifications, experience, age, etc. The University Charter and its regulations must specify the minimum requirements to hold any office in the university.
Again, the overarching purpose is to produce good graduates and quality research.The Status of South Sudan Universities:USAID carried out a comprehensive survey on the state of our universities as part of research on capacity building in South Sudan [2]. It revealed that only three universities were able to satisfy a reasonable number of the set criteria. These are the universities of Juba, Upper Nile and Bahr El Ghazal. Even these are beset by many problems.
Dr Charles Bakhiet who is a founding staff member of the University of Juba and was the Academic Secretary of the University from 1985 to 1990 had this to say: "However, it is public knowledge that the current three southern universities are under-staffed, under-funded and lack adequate infrastructure. Moreover, we do not have enough well-equipped secondary schools in the south to feed the current three universities.
In the immediate post conflict era, the priority of GOSS in this education sector must therefore be, first and foremost, to consolidate the present universities by building their infrastructure, investing in their staff development programs, and improving their teaching and research capabilities.
Moreover, once the intakes from northern schools are gradually phased out in these universities, there will be more places created for southern secondary school leavers who qualify for higher education."[3]. He proceeded to enumerate what the Government of South Sudan needs to immediately embarked on as:1. initiation of constructions and rehabilitation of their infrastructure;2. the provision of needed equipment;3. an aggressive staff development programme, recruitment of competent academic staff, 4. a thorough review of the study programs;5. reviewing the conditions of service for the academic staff to be made more attractive with ample opportunities for research, so that these institutions serve as a hub not solely for dissemination of knowledge but also for knowledge production.
All these will surely be at a considerable cost which the paltry budget of the Ministry of Higher Education can never meet in a year or two.To open or not to open more public universities in South Sudan On this issue Dr Bakhiet stated: "To be more specific, the GOSS will require substantial financial resources to provide the badly needed infrastructure for the three universities that would transform them into modern universities, with access to new technologies.
For instance, the Bilinyang campus for University of Juba, is a huge project which will require millions of dollars to construct. To the best of my knowledge, neither Bahr el Ghazel University nor Upper Nile University has a decent campus, and each will need a properly and purposefully designed campus. While all these programs are crying for attention and resources, and the capacities of the present universities have still to be fully utilized, for the GOSS to consider establishing yet another public university in the immediate future will constitute a clear case of poor judgment. Putting the economy of scale to their advantage, each of the three universities can easily expand to accommodate between twenty to twenty-five thousand students, with an average annual intake of four to five thousand students." [4].
Other places can be made available through the government arranging scholarships for our students to study abroad making use of the current environment of international good will towards the Republic of South Sudan. We had a similar experience following the signing of the Addis Ababa Agreement where, since 1974, the Egyptian tertiary education was admitting around 300 Southerners every year, thanks to the Egyptian government. This figure was close to ten times the rate of admission of Southerners into the Sudanese higher education by then. Many of our professionals and politicians today are the beneficiaries of that arrangement.
Private tertiary education is also another area where some qualified South Sudan students could be admitted. However, these institutions need to be streamlined to suit our requirements and strict accreditation conditions be put in place to ensure that they keep high standards in terms of resources, qualified staff and adequate facilities.This conclusion does not rule out the fact that in future the number of universities may increase gradually based on a real need, feasibility studies and availability of funds. There can be no place for brief-case universities; we must avoid the experience of Sudan in that respect.
The argument that not having a university in each State in South Sudan is "social injustice" is mere demagoguery meant to score political mileage. Most of us did not study in universities near our homes. Social justice is associated with catering for the basic needs of the people. A travesty of a university in one's homestead that produces semi-illiterate graduates is the greatest disservice to that community. Communities will clamour for having all kinds of things including universities.
It is our role as intellectuals to tell them what is possible now, tomorrow or not possible at all. If need be, to cater for the lack of qualified personnel in some States of the country, a special admission system similar to the arrangement made with the University of Khartoum in 1969 by the then Minister of Southern Affairs, the late Joseph Garang, or that of the least developed States in Sudan from the 1990s may be considered. In all these cases, the prospective student must satisfy the minimum admission requirements.
This is the bottom line.Review of Higher Education The independence of South Sudan is a golden opportunity for the government to review higher education in the country with a view for meaningful reform of the system. There are good ideas in this respect [5,6]. The review must include establishing a technical and technological stream separate and parallel from the academic system of education right from the primary level to the tertiary level.
The system must be so designed that a graduate at each level will be useful in the job market as apprentices and technicians. The pay scale of these graduates must be as good as, if not better than, their academic stream counterparts if the mistakes of the past that killed technical education are to be avoided.
In order to achieve meaningful development there is a certain number of technicians for every professional. This is not the case now, and was the purpose of introducing technical education in the late 1950s and for proposing the new stream now.To be specific, the review of the higher education should consider the following areas among others:
1. Current Staffing: Number and qualifications of: the teaching staff, teaching assistants and administration personnel.
2. Human Resource Development: How much from University resources and how much through collaboration with other universities and colleges.
3. Physical Structures and Equipment: Lecture theatres, Libraries and ICT centres, Laboratories and workshops, Hostels, Staff houses and guesthouses, and Equipment and materials.
4. Quality Assurance: Students' admission standards, Criteria for staff employment, Salary structure, Research, and Performance evaluation.
5. Technical and technological tertiary education
6. Financing public tertiary education: How shall the universities and institutes of higher learning be financed?
7. Private Higher Education: - Requirements of licensing and accreditation.
8. Future Projections: How to meet the expected increase in the number of qualified students seeking tertiary education and what specializations, if any, to plan for.
ConclusionThe role of higher education in socio-economic development cannot be overemphasised. However, given the many competing demands over limited resources, the Government of the Republic of South Sudan is well advised to carry out a review of higher education, including introducing research centres.
The review is to achieve the desired reform in the educational system avoiding the mistakes of opening universities that have not undergone thorough feasibility studies. Realities on the ground today clearly point out that the way forward is consolidation of the resources available for the reconstruction and staffing the current three universities to an acceptable level.
Then in the future as more resources become available and real demand arises, gradual and studied increase in public universities may be considered. Private education that satisfies rigorous conditions for accreditation can be allowed at this stage to absorb some of the qualified students.The Government has to make use of the current good will of the donor community to urge them to include support for higher education in terms of funds, material, transfer of technology and scholarships in their aid packages.
References:1. Akol, Lam, "Tertiary Education in South Sudan", Speaking notes at a conference on Higher Education in South Sudan, 14-15 November 2011, Juba.2. USAID, "Government of Southern Sudan Strategic Capacity Building Study", 2010.3. Bakhiet, Charles, "The Challenges to the Revival and Role of Higher Education in Post-Conflict Construction of South Sudan" , A paper presented at a conference on post-Conflict Construction in Southern Sudan, Juba, Southern Sudan, November 29th - December 2nd 2006.4. Ibid.5. Saki, Sam, "Proposal to Reorganize Higher Education in South Sudan", 2004.6. Bakhiet, op cit.

Posté par pcassuto à 21:40 - - Permalien [#]


Israeli Entrepreneur Opens Online University in West Bank

New York Times By D.D. Guttenplan. An American online university started by an Israeli entrepreneur has opened an operations center in the West Bank.
Shai Reshef, the founder of University of the People, a nonprofit institution that offers free online education to students in more than 120 countries, said in an interview last week that his agreement with ASAL Technologies, a Palestinian software and information technology services company based in Ramallah, was just the first stage of a plan to move the university’s entire back office to the West Bank.
University of the People uses specially adapted Open Course materials to offer courses in business administration and computer science. “Those are the skills most likely to help our students find jobs,” said Mr. Reshef, an entrepreneur who started and sold two for-profit education companies before putting $3 million of his own money into his new venture. Based on a peer-to-peer learning model in which students teach one another, the university has also recruited volunteer mentors from Brigham Young, Columbia, Harvard, Insead, N.Y.U. and Yale.
The tuition is free. Students pay a one-time application processing fee on a sliding scale of $ 10 to $50, depending on their income and country of residence, with a similar scale, going up to $100, when they complete their exams. However for many potential students even $10 is prohibitive, said Mr. Reshef, who recently initiated a $6 million fund-raising drive to provide scholarships for the poorest students and to allow the university to become self-sustaining.
“We’re not trying to create Oxford or Harvard,” he said. “This is low-cost, high-quality education for people who can’t afford anything else.”  Related: University of the People: Open Courses, Nearly Free.

Posté par pcassuto à 21:34 - - Permalien [#]

France To Its Foreign Graduates: Here's Your Degree, Now Bon Voyage

http://www.worldcrunch.com/sites/default/themes/worldcrunch2/css/bg/wc_logo.pngBy Jacqueline de Linarès LE NOUVEL OBSERVATEUR / Worldcrunch. In France, a controversial new decree is wreaking havoc among foreign-born francophone students who arrived looking to enter the global elite via the country's top universities. Now that they have their degrees, they are being told to leave. Is this good for French business?
PARIS - Is the future of the international French-speaking elite likely to start snubbing France?
As usual, hundreds of top foreign-born graduates from the best French universities – engineering schools, business schools like HEC, social sciences institutions like Sciences Po — have been hired to prestigious positions over the last six months. But over the past few weeks, these same students have started receiving letters coming from local authorities forbidding them to work in France. Faced with a general outcry from the Grandes Ecoles, France's network of elite universities, the French government pledged to review the decree.
Nevertheless, Nihal, a 24 year-old student from Morocco, has been worried sick after receiving the ominous letter. She had been awarded an excellence scholarship by the French government so that she could come study engineering at the INSA Grande Ecole in Lyon; and upon graduation was hired by an important consulting firm. But then came the letter, which stated that she could not retain her job due to "inadequacy between the training and the position."
It all sounds absurb, given that every year the most prominent consulting firms are desperate for young engineers to come and work for them. Nihal, in fact, had already been offered five positions from various highly prestigious firms. Now she is supposed to leave France -- by next week.
Canada and Germany are good alternatives

Sami, a 25 year-old Tunisian student, graduated from Paris’s ESCP international business school and was also hired by an international consulting firm thanks to his skills in English and Arabic and his expertise of Gulf countries. But he too was prevented by local authorities from taking his position. He is now considering relocating to Canada or Germany to find a job.
These are some of the devastating effects of the "Guéant decree" that was passed on May 31, 2011, in which the Minister of the Interior Claude Guéant reminded French prefects to keep the door shut to foreign job-seekers. Since October, the governement has been trying to play down the disastrous consequences of the decree on France’s prestige abroad. France's minister of higher education and research, Laurent Wauquiez, tried to explain that the text was "misunderstood." He also promised that all the cases submitted by the Conférence des Grandes Ecoles (CGE) would be reviewed by the end of the year.
Last week, an answer had already been found for 202 of the 530 cases filed, according to the CGE. French Prime Minister François Fillon also added that foreign students could still resort to the 2006 immigration law which allows them to get a first working experience in France. Still, the damage is done. Some graduates have already left France. One, an Indian-born graduate from a commerce school outside of Paris who'd hoped to create a start-up liking businesses between France and India, has chosen to settle in Germany instead.
It is also unsure whether reviewing files is going to put all these young people back on their feet in France. "We will base our judgment on evidence," says Pierre Aliphat, director general of the Conférence des Grandes Ecoles. "Companies have not kept their promises," complains one of the students gathered together in a group dubbed the May 31 Collective for the day the law was passed.
At the end of the day, "as long as the government does not withdraw this decree, there’s no way we can prevent a civil servant working at the préfecture from denying a foreign graduate permission to work here," says Pascal Codron, director of the ISA Lille school of Agricultural Engineering. "They must be rubbing their hands with glee in Germany and other countries where there’s fierce competition for securing the best graduates." Read more from Le Nouvel Observateur.

Posté par pcassuto à 21:29 - - Permalien [#]

Professors warn over expansion of private universities

http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-ash2/373723_143666524748_940129768_q.jpgBy Graeme Paton, Education Editor. Coalition plans to expand the number of private universities risks leading to higher drop out rates and lower academic standards, according to a powerful lobby of almost 500 professors.
It is claimed that giving profit-making companies access to state funding will create a system in which institutions pursue short-term financial gains at the expense of a decent education.
In a letter to The Daily Telegraph today, professors say that proposals spelt out in a recent higher education White Paper will “condemn generations of students” to an experience similar to that in the US where many undergraduates fail to complete their degree and struggle to pay off loans.
Academics including Prof Martin Hall, vice-chancellor of Salford University, Prof Alan Ryan, former warden of New College, Oxford, Lord Liddle, director of Cumbria University, and Prof Roger Brown, co-director of the Centre for Higher Education Research Development at Liverpool Hope University, called for the Government to reassess the reforms. The comments will reignite the debate over the proposed expansion of English higher education.
Under plans, ministers will make it easier for private providers to enter the universities sector by simplifying the regime for obtaining and renewing degree-awarding powers.
Universities should not be run for profit

We are deeply concerned about the Government’s proposals for higher education, which would give private, for-profit companies substantial access to publicly subsidised loans and would allow companies, including private equity firms, to acquire struggling universities.
The record of private equity firms in delivering public services is exemplified by the recent debacle at Southern Cross. In the United States (the higher education system the Government is now trying to emulate), the private sector is well established, with students and taxpayers suffering the consequences.
For-profit companies offer derisory graduation rates, crushing levels of debts and degrees of dubious value. According to the US Education Trust, only 20 per cent of students at for-profit colleges complete a four-year course and the same proportion of those who do finish default on their loans within three years.
American companies recruit just 10 per cent of students, but consume 25 per cent of government-backed loans. To allow institutions driven by the pursuit of short-term shareholder value to get a foothold in higher education will be to condemn generations of students to a similar future, while the taxpayer will pick up the cost.
Sally Hunt

General Secretary, University and College Union
Professor Martin Hall

Vice Chancellor, Salford University
Lord Liddle of Carlisle

Director, University of Cumbria
Lord Elis-Thomas

President, Bangor University

Posté par pcassuto à 21:21 - - Permalien [#]

Questions raised on Arab higher education

http://www.arabmediators.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/gulf-news.gifBy Iman Sherif, Staff Reporter. League committee calls for focus on quality. Abu Dhabi: Higher education in the Arab world focuses on quantity and not on quality, the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (Alesco) observed in a report presented at the 13th conference of the Ministers of Higher Education, held yesterday at Zayed University.
The report highlighted that Arab countries come short globally in terms of educational, scientific, cultural, and strategic benchmarks. There are 470 universities and educational institutions catering to 400 million people in the Arab world roughly translating into 1.2 institutions for every million people.
In terms of scientific centres, there are 550 such facilities across the Arab world including those in universities. Scientific publications are scarce in the Arab world.
Reluctance to change and innovate, poor organisational frameworks, traditional management systems, financial dependence on governments, lack of autonomy and academic freedom for universities were challenges Alesco identified in a study on higher education in Arab countries. Improving the quality and relevance of education services was deemed crucial to enhancing the learning outcomes.
"International collaboration and partnerships between universities worldwide, building human capacity and skills, improving management skills and abilities, identifying successful Arab experiences in higher education and sharing expertise are some of the principles needed to revamp higher education in the Arab Word," said Mohammad Al Qodsi, Alesco deputy director-general.
Labour market demand

Steen Jorgensen, sector director for human development in the Middle East and North Africa Region said: "The high unemployment rates, especially among university graduates and the increasing discontent of the region's youth point to the need to bridge the gap between education supply and labour market demand."
"It is essential and urgent to give more systematic attention to the outcomes of higher education and greater emphasis on accountability and incentive systems to improve service delivery," he said.

Posté par pcassuto à 21:14 - - Permalien [#]


Think Tank on the future of Lifelong Learning

Think Tank on the future of Lifelong Learning. UIL, Hamburg, 14-15 December 2011.
UIL has invited a number of internationally-renowned thinkers and scholars to reflect collectively on key aspects and trends for the future of lifelong learning, on 14-15 December in Hamburg.
Key objectives are to brainstorm questions, issues and avenues of enquiry to embark on, with regard to conceptual clarification, policy and programmatic issues in lifelong learning from a global perspective.
Participants in the Think Tank will analyse different concepts of lifelong learning, as used by UNESCO, OECD, World Bank and EU.
The Think Tank will be a forum to discuss core competences, key skills and the role of competence frameworks as an instrument to promote and integrate lifelong learning systems. It will analyse and discuss key approaches in implementing a national framework for lifelong learning. It is hoped that the Think Tank will help to define global priorities in advocating for and implementing a humanistic and value-based concept of lifelong learning for all, and provide strategic ideas and priorities to strengthen UNESCO’s leading role in education.
Inputs to the Think Tank may be considered for publication in a future edition of UIL’s journal International Review of Education.

Posté par pcassuto à 21:01 - - Permalien [#]

ECVET Magazine n. 6

http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/EN/Images-ContentManagement/ecvet.jpgThe sixth issue of the ECVET Magazine contains
- an editorial by Erik Hess, Policy officer ECVET, European Commission, DG EAC;
- a summarizing article about the 2nd generation of ECVET pilot projects that started their work in January 2011;
- an article about the NETINVET-network that has been founded as a result of the RECOMFOR project;
- an article abut the CAPE-SV project and the presentation of its project outcomes to the French social partners;
- an article about the testing of the ECVET technical specifications by the NETWORK project;
- a snapshot from the ECVET Forum in Madrid in June 2011;
- and a series of news items.
France

The French Ministry of National Education (MEN) has decided to become institutionally involved in a project to test and develop the credit system for vocational education and training (ECVET) for mobility, opting for a transversal approach concerning vocational qualifications produced by the Ministry of Education.
The MEN project (France) examines the regulatory and organisational provisions of national qualifications in relation to the ECVET technical specifications. Currently, vocational diplomas in France are already structured in units. Each unit consists of a coherent set of competences with associated knowledge. The content of each unit is closely linked to the activities and tasks in working life. However, existing units of learning outcomes are not always coherent with ECVET. The project will develop recommendations for the way qualifications are designed and described in units of learning outcomes in France.
The project relates to a specific type of vocational qualification, the French ‘vocational baccalaureate’; covering different specialised areas from six different sectors: reception service, secretarial, accounting, health and social work, electrical engineering and building technician. The project aims to examine in depth the regulatory and organisational provisions in force in relation to the ECVET technical specifications.
A comparison of the actual practices following the national rules and the ECVET recommendation will be conducted. Working groups composed of experts will examine each qualification chosen for the project in order to develop links to learning outcomes and to identify procedures suitable for assessment, validation and recognition procedures in a national context and in a mobility context. The same approach will be pursued regarding a possible system of points. Audits of previous ECVET projects will also be conducted.
The project will result in:
• Recommendations for the design of qualifications organised into units of learning outcomes;
• Recommendations for the allocation of points;
• Organisational and operational recommendations for recognition, in the award of vocational diplomas, of learning outcomes obtained in situations of mobility.
See also ECVET Magazine n. 5, Issue 4, April 2011, Issue 3, January 2011, Issue 2, November 2010, Issue 1, June 2010, Issue 4, April 2010, Issue 3, November 2009, Issue 2, July 2009, Issue 1, April 2009.

Posté par pcassuto à 20:41 - - Permalien [#]

Career Guidance in Higher Education

http://www.guni-rmies.net/img/logo.gifIn this article Natalia Orellana of the Organization for Higher Education, Co-operation, Research and Development explains how the role of career guidance in higher education is important to engage students and graduates in their own personal and professional development to the benefit of their communities.
As graduation from higher education does not guarantee the transition to employment or professional success, higher education is considered an imperfect source of training for the world of work (Teichler, 2005). The transition from one sphere to the next is a process influenced by a wide range of internal and external factors affecting professional development.

However, the argument that higher education must contribute directly to economic regeneration and growth (Harvey, 2000) states that the framework within which higher education tends to be observed is according to outcomes such as income and status, that is, the results that most governments, employers and students expect from higher education (Watts, 1997; Schomburg, 2007; Teichler; 2009).
The desired alignment between the preparatory and applied dimensions of the graduate’s experience positions the transition process from higher education to the employment and professional career as a ‘strategic stage’ (Bergson, 1999:9) for higher education providers, as performance indicator and feedback regarding the employment issue.
In that sense, the increasingly large highly qualified workforce has completely altered the balance between supply and demand, giving rise to a complex scenario in which knowledge is a substantial basis to be complemented by other subjective and objective factors measured in the process whereby graduates become active members of the world of work.
In light of the developments in higher education of the last six decades, Allen and Van der Velden (2007) state that the transition process has gone from being defined as the intermediate stage between full-time schooling and full-time employment to a complex concept delimited by these specific circumstances but characterised asprecarious.
The transition process from higher education to employment can be analysed as an integrated range of factors that can be broken down as follows (Raffe, 2007; Schomburg and Teichler, 2006):
  1. Educational experiences and outputs: mode and institution of learning, highest level of qualification, field of study, occupational choice.
  2. Job search: motives, abilities, opportunities, information and guidance, contacting employers, recruitment methods.
  3. Labour market outcomes: unemployment risk by type and level of education, security of employment, occupation, education and income, inappropriate employment.
  4. Transition dynamics: the time it takes to transition from higher education to a ‘regular’ or full-time permanent job (rapid transition, smooth transition or early career success), the number and frequency of flows within the labour market (employment/unemployment, job-changing and occupational mobility dynamics) and the labour market and education/training.
The concept of employability cuts across all these factors as a highly expected outcome, as well as an indicator of the graduate’s performance in terms of joining the world of work. Consequently, employability and preparedness are often observed through a wide variety of prisms that in words of Teichler (2009:303) ‘altogether seems to emphasize the value of competences immediately useful on the job and the subordination of the objectives of higher education to employers’ expectations’
Roles of Career Guidance
 Over the last decade supranational organizations such as the OECD, the World Bank, the European Union and the International Labour Organization have emphasized the importance of career guidance, particularly in terms of achieving the following goals:
  1. lifelong learning;
  2. labour market outcomes; and
  3. social equity and social inclusion (Hansen, 2006:2).
Not only do they identify attention to career guidance as one of the issues involved in the initial transition from school to work but also as an issue to be addressed on a lifelong basis (Watts, 2002:2). Consequently, diverse initiatives have been implemented to strengthen research, collaboration and networking in order to promote a common understanding of career guidance at both the national and international level (OECD, 2002; Hansen, 2006). To this end, the OECD’s international review Career Guidance: A Handbook for Policy Makers offers the following comprehensive definition: ‘Career guidance refers to services and activities intended to assist individuals, of any age and at any point throughout their lives, to make educational, training and occupational choices and to manage their careers’ (OECD, 2004:10). In this framework, Hansen (2006:5) remarks that ‘the low or middle-income country also recognises that human resource development is an integral part of overall national economic development and the promotion of social solidarity. Employers in [these countries] also increasingly recognise the need to encourage their workers, and youth, to develop new skills to meet rapidly changing skills demands’. 
Additionally, the Australian National Association of Graduate Career Advisory Services (NAGCAS) notes that the benefits derived from career guidance can be considered to be short-, medium- and long-term and to accrue at the individual, organisational and social levels. ‘Career development learning should not be conceived of as a one-shot intervention limited to [the] young school-leaver, or the final-year university student, but rather a lifelong service available for all citizens for both private and public good’ (NAGCAS, 2008:4).
Institutional Responses from Higher Education
In the knowledge economy and society, the trend towards aligning higher education with the needs of the working world has received considerable attention, turning concepts such as ‘evaluation’, ‘accountability’, ‘knowledge society’, ‘knowledge economy’, ‘employability’, and ‘internationalisation’ or ‘globalisation’ into some of the main recurring dimensions of the debate about the relationships between higher education and the world of work (Teichler, 2009).
In this context, a diverse range of support services geared towards helping students with the transition to employment has become increasingly common among higher education providers in recent decades (Teichler, 2009; Watts, 1997; Brennan and Shah, 2003).
These services, currently grouped under the heading ‘career services’, are a long-standing tradition in the United Kingdom and United States. In this respect, Watts (1997) argues that the UK has the most strongly developed career services in Europe and, alongside the US, has become a global leader in the field. However, institutions from other economically developed countries also offer strong career services.
Nevertheless, the OECD report Career Guidance and Public Policy: Global Issues and Challenges states that the career counselling services offered at higher education institutions in several of the countries studied were inadequate. ‘Ironically, career guidance roles within education tend to be least strongly professionalised in higher education, which is the sector that is responsible for much of the professional training in the field as a whole’ (Watts, 2002:6).
In the same report, Watts explains that in some cases the guidance is confined largely to chose of studies. The author considers that this situation may not be negative if the student population is small and relatively homogeneous and is pursuing similar fields of study and career paths. However, more often the situation in higher education is just the opposite. Much larger and more diverse student bodies, a greater range of motivations, institutional types and study programmes, and a broad and dynamic labour market makes the lack of career guidance into a negative situation for students and graduates.
The UNESCO recommendations for developing, implementing and assessing these types of services in higher education are basically four-pronged (UNESCO, 2002:4):
  1. Help individuals gain greater self-awareness in areas such as their interests, values, abilities, and personality style;
  2. Connect students with resources so that they can become more knowledgeable about jobs and occupations;
  3. Engage students in the decision-making process so that they can choose a career path that is well suited to their interests, values, abilities, and personality style; and
  4. Assist individuals in becoming active managers of their careers (including managing career transitions and balancing various life roles), as well as lifelong learners in the sense of professional development over their lifespan.
The established initiatives of higher education systems in this field tend to take the form of inter-institutional collaboration networks. These bodies are usually aimed at promoting the exchange of information and good practices, organising conferences and activities, and producing studies and publications for practitioners.  
At the national level, examples include the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) in the US, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) in the UK, the aforementioned NAGCAS in Australia, and the Canadian Career Development Foundation.  
Efforts at the international level include the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (IAEVG) and the International Centre for Career Development and Public Policy (ICCDPP) which has one of the largest international open repositories of informative resources (see http://www.iccdpp.org/). 
Conclusion
Career guidance is a crucial factor in bridging the gap between higher education and the world of work, providing it is not solely focused on employability indicators. When understood as a process requiring strategic planning, assessment, professionalisation of the staff and commitment to a comprehensive education. In that respect, the role of career guidance in higher education is important to engage students and graduates in their own personal and professional development to the benefit of their communities.
References
Allen, J. and Van der Velden, R. (2007). ‘Transitions from Higher Education to Work’. In Teichler, U. (ed.). Careers of University Graduates. Views and Experiences in Comparative Perspectives Series. Higher Education Dynamics, Vol. 17. Dordrecht: Springer: 55-77.
Bengston, J. (1999). Foreword. In Stern, D. and Wagner, D. (eds.). International Perspectives on the School-To-Work Transition. New Jersey: Hampton Press. 
Brennan, J. and Shah, T. (2003). Access to What? Converting Educational Opportunity into Employment Opportunity; Final Report. London: Open University. 
Hansen, E. (2006). Career Guidance: A Resource Handbook for Low- and Middle-Income Countries. ILO: Geneva. 
Harvey, L. (2000). New Realities: The Relationship between Higher Education and Employment. Tertiary Education and Management, 6(1): 3-17. 
NAGCAS. (2008). Response to Review of Australian Higher Education Discussion Paper. Retrieved August 2011 from URL: http://bit.ly/utawfr.
OECD. (2002). Why Career Information, Guidance and Counselling Matter for PublicPolicy. Working draft #1. OECD. Paris. 
OECD. (2004), Career Guidance. A Handbook for Policy Makers. OECD: Paris. 
Raffe, D. (2007). ‘The Concept of Transition System: A Review of Recent Research’. European Research Network on Transitions in Youth. Ghent: Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, 15th annual workshop, 1-21.
Schomburg, H. and Teichler, U. (2006). Higher Education and Graduate Employment in Europe: Results of Graduate Surveys from Twelve Countries. Dordrecht: Springer. 
Schomburg, H. (2007). The Professional Success of Higher Education Graduates. European Journal of Education, 42(1): 35-57. 
Teichler, U. (2005). Graduados y Empleo: Investigación, Metodología y Resultados. Buenos Aires: Miño y Dávila. 
Teichler, U. (2009). Higher Education and the World of Work. Conceptual Frameworks, Comparative Perspectives, Empirical Findings. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. 
UNESCO. (2002). Handbook on career counselling. A practical manual for developing, implementing and assessing career counselling services in higher education settings. Follow-up to the World Conference on Higher Education (Paris 5-9 October 1998). UNESCO. Paris.
Watts, A. (1997). Strategic Directions for Career Services in Higher Education. Cambridge: Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services.
Watts, A. (2002). Career Guidance and Public Policy: Global Issues and Challenges. OECD. Wellington.

About the author
Natalia Orellana holds a Master degree in Higher Education from the International Centre of Higher Education Research and Development (INCHER-Kassel) at Kassel University (Germany) and a Licentiate Degree in Communication Sciences from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (Chile).
Currently she works at the Organization for Higher Education, Co-operation, Research and Development (OCIDES) responsible for the collaborative and inter-institutional forum: Bienal de Educación Superior y Mundo del Trabajo in Chile.

Posté par pcassuto à 18:49 - - Permalien [#]
Tags :

The History of Spanish Universities from their origins in the 12th century

http://www.guni-rmies.net/img/logo.gifIn this article Telva Martel of the University of Malaga depicts the historical evolution of the Spanish universities through an analysis of the legal documents which have reshaped and give form to the current spanish higher education system. Furthermore, Telva Martel looks at the advantages and limitations of international rankings when evaluating universities performance.
According to the author Alberto Jiménez (1971:43), the term ‘university’ is not historically related to ‘universe’ or the ‘universality’ of science, but rather was used simply to refer to all members of a group, whether of masons, carpenters or students. Over time, however, it came to refer solely to teachers’ and students’ guilds or universitas magistrorum discipulorumque.

In the 12th century, students travelled from country to country in search of knowledge to satisfy their intellectual curiosity and gain access to the liberal professions. To this end, they gathered in cities offering cheap food and board and paid to take classes from licensed professors. Thus arose the permanent educational institution known as ‘university’ or ‘general studies’.
It is worth noting that, because of the Roman-Gothic legal tradition, Spanish universities are of royal rather than pontifical origin. The first university was founded in Palencia in 1212 by Alfonso VIII of Castile. It was followed by the University of Salamanca, founded by Alfonso IX of León in 1215, the University of Valladolid, founded in 1260, and so on. The instruction and teaching bodies at these universities were regulated under the Magna Carta issued by Alfonso X in 1254. Over time, universities were founded in other cities throughout Spain, too, including Lleida, Huesca, Alcalá de Henares, Osuna, Saragossa and Barcelona, among others, but the royal funding eventually dried up, and they came to be dominated by the Catholic Church. Some authors, such as Francisco Aguilar or the Pesets, contend that the so-called colegios mayores, strict student residence halls operated by the Church, proved to be the downfall of the Spanish university. There were five such colegios, which together formed a closed and exclusive system that came to control most of the country’s university chairs, such as those at the University of Salamanca: Santa Cruz in Valladolid (founded in 1480), Oviedo, Fonseca and Cuenca in Salamanca, and San Idelfonso in Alcalá (founded in 1500). Although the colegios had originally been created for poor students on scholarships, most of the slots were awarded to students from the upper ranks of the clergy and the nobility. In contrast to the colegiales, who did not receive financial aid, scholarship students were known as manteístas, in reference to the manteo or traditional cloak that students wore. It was not until 1766, under Carlos III, that the colegios were abolished and the first university reforms were undertaken, including the assignment of ministers as directors of the universities.
The education system was centralised under Antonio Gil de Zárate’s Department of Public Instruction through the 1857 Public Instruction Law (also known as the Moyano Law). Under the new system, instruction was given in six faculties—the rest were eliminated—and at ten universities, namely, those of Madrid, Salamanca, Valladolid, Barcelona, Santiago, Saragossa, Granada, Seville, Oviedo and Valencia. Education became ‘another area of government’ (Del Valle López, 1998:33); all new plans, examinations, rector appointments, teaching methods, etc., were exclusively determined by government regulation. This model lasted until 1970, with brief hiatuses, such as the six-year period following the Revolution of 1868, which called for academic freedom, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly. As a result of that period, these freedoms, along with scientific freedom, were included in the Constitution. The period also saw the founding of the Institución Libre de Enseñanza, or Free Institution of Education, an experimental private university devoted to academic and scientific freedom.

In 1970, the Franco regime passed the General Education Act, which restored universities’ autonomy, while also democratising them and opening them to the masses.
Under Franco, the number of students enrolled at university rose from a total of 58,708 in the 1940-41 academic year to 150,733 in the 1950-51 academic year and to 178,062 in the 1960-61 academic year (Velasco Murviedo, 1998:43-47).

When Franco died, he was succeeded by King Juan Carlos. Today, the education system is governed by ‘the 1978 Spanish Constitution and four laws implementing constitutional principles and rights: Organic Law 11/1983, of 25 August, on University Reform; Organic Law 8/1985, of 3 July, regulating the Right to Education, which guarantees the universal right to education; Organic Law 1/1990, of 3 October, on the General Regulation of the Education System, which does not affect the university system; and Organic Law 9/1995, of 20 November, on the Participation, Evaluation and Governance of Schools’ (El sistema…, 2000:45).
Organic Law 6/2001, of 21 December, on Universities (LOU from the Spanish) and the 2007 amendment thereof (Organic Law 4/2007, of 12 April) establish that the function of universities is to serve society through:
  • the creation, development, transmission and criticism of science, technology and culture;
  • the provision of training for the exercise of professional activities requiring the application of scientific knowledge and methods and for the creation of art;
  • the development of science and technology, as well as the dissemination, assessment and transfer of knowledge to promote culture, quality of life and economic development;
  • and the dissemination of knowledge and culture through university extension and lifelong learning.
By the 2008-09 academic year, Spain had 77 universities, 50 public and 27 private. That year, public universities offered 260,113 places on first-and second-cycle degree programmes, distributed among 2,606 courses. The total number of students enrolled in such programmes the previous academic year stood at 1,389,394, and teaching and research staff totalled 102,300 (in 2006-07), including 93,372 employees at public universities and 8,928 at private or Catholic ones. Of the total number of teaching and research staff at public universities, 51,125 are civil servants and 42,247 are under contract.
As a result of the autonomy afforded to universities under the 1983 Law on University Reform (LRU from the Spanish) and of the fact that 80% of this autonomy is publicly funded, José Barea Tejeiro (2003:92-93) has noted that reports are drawn up to assess teaching and research quality and disseminate the results, thereby allowing the citizenry to evaluate whether or not the universities have met its expectations. This is particularly important given that ‘the ratio of university students is 42.4 per 1,000 inhabitants and spending comes to $8,943 PPP per student’ (Consejo..., 2007:11). To this end, Royal Decree 1947/1995 of 1 December (Spanish Official Gazette of 9 December 1995) sets out a National Plan for University Quality Assessment (PNECU from the Spanish), whereby ‘an effective and efficient use of resources and a high level of quality will ensure the future competitiveness of many universities and even their very survival’ (López Toro, 2000:39). Of the total number of universities, 49 use the PNECU guidelines as a framework for institutional assessment. According to López Toro, ‘the number of qualifications assessed by institutions is still low compared to the total number of qualifications offered by each one. On average, participating universities had assessed 24% of the qualifications they offer by the end of the PNECU’s second call for submissions. Moreover, this figure is inflated, as two outlier universities had assessed all their qualifications, significantly increasing the average. The real average might thus be closer to between 15 and 20%’ (López Toro, 2000:446). Each university will differentiate itself and compete based on its quality, its brand, in a process that will elevate some above others, as envisaged in the ‘University 2015’ strategy. To this end, the International Campus of Excellence programme aims to ensure that university campuses act as key engines for attracting talent and as major drivers of international activity and economic value generation through the transfer of knowledge and technology. To achieve this, the THES-QS indicators are being used to assess Spanish higher education (Estrategia…, n.d.). The first Spanish university to appear in the 2007 ranking was the University of Barcelona, which ranked 194, followed by the Autonomous University of Barcelona (258), the Autonomous University of Madrid (306), the University of Navarre (319), Pompeu Fabra University (339) and, lastly, the University of Valencia (393). These were the top Spanish universities according to that methodology. In the 2008 Academic Ranking of World Universities, the first Spanish university also appears in the 152-200 range (University of Barcelona). It is followed by the Complutense University of Madrid and the Autonomous University of Madrid (both in the 201-302 range) and the Autonomous University of Barcelona and the University of Valencia (in the 303-401 range).
The following Spanish universities were designated International Campuses of Excellence in 2009 and awarded corresponding grants of €150 million (Resulta…, 2009):
  • Barcelona Knowledge Campus (University of Barcelona and Technical University of Catalonia).
  • University City (Moncloa Campus): Campus of Excellence of the Region of Madrid (Complutense University of Madrid and Technical University of Madrid).
  • Carlos III Campus (Carlos III University of Madrid).
  • UAB-CEI: Promoting knowledge, encouraging innovation (Autonomous University of Barcelona).
  • UAM-CSIC International Campus of Excellence (Autonomous University of Madrid).
The following campuses were awarded the distinction ‘International Campus of Excellence 2009’ (CEI 2009) at the regional level:
  • Agri-Food Campus (University of Cordoba).
  • Cantabria International Campus (University of Cantabria).
  • Ad Futurum (University of Oviedo).
Moreover, the following university projects have received quality mentions under the International Campus of Excellence Programme, according to its director general for International Relations (Propuesta…, 2009):
  • University of Salamanca: CENTINELA project on innovation in Spanish and its technology, awarded a €120,000 grant.
  • University of Malaga: Project on applied technologies in development and territorial sustainability, awarded a €110,000 grant.
  • University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: Atlantic Campus project, awarded a €110,000 grant.
  • University of Murcia: Coriolis project, awarded a €100,000 grant.
  • University of Jaén: Project on cultural and natural heritage, awarded a grant of €80,000.
  • University of La Laguna: European University of the Atlantic project, awarded a grant of €65,000.
  • Technical University of Cartagena: awarded a grant of €65,000.
  • University of Alcalá de Henares: awarded a grant of €65,000.
  • University of the Basque Country: City, Art and Science project.
  • University of Saragossa: International Multicampus.
  • Public University of Navarre.
  • University of Cadiz: CEIMAR project, awarded a grant of €45,000.
The goal is thus for the universities of the future to offer a student-centred education that emphasises student and lecturer mobility, continuing education and ongoing quality improvements through external assessment, while also strengthening their international appeal. This will enable the emergence or consolidation of prestigious, name-brand universities that are highly competitive amongst themselves and a situation in which public funding may be affected by the balance universities achieve between institutional autonomy and social responsibility, as advocated by Saturnino de la Plaza. It will also create a situation in which companies will know that it matters where a student has earned his or her degree. The Excellence and Quality programmes thus aim to modernise universities, turning them into engines for attracting talent and drivers of international activity and economic value generation through knowledge transfer based on high-quality teaching and scientific excellence in their international approach and their ability to transform knowledge into innovation.
However, it is important to distinguish between a university’s quality and its position in a ranking: these are two separate concepts that should not be confused. To this end, one must determine which parameters are used to draw up the ranking, whether location, financial aid, teaching quality, research quality or anything else, in order to contextualise exactly what is being assessed. Rankings should not be used to measure a university’s quality, as quality is not a one-dimensional concept, but rather a multidimensional one, encompassing teaching quality, research quality, quality as a combination of activities, institutional mission and a range of other factors that are quite difficult to aggregate into a single index able to indicate a university’s overall position in the sector. As noted above, Toro López has observed that universities’ own qualifications are still being assessed, and both internal and external offices are performing these assessments. What exactly these rankings are measuring must be specified, and, of course, specialised agencies in the field must collaborate on the effort, in accordance with the PNECU. As Carmen Pérez-Esparrells and José María Gómez-Sancho have argued, ‘In this sense, a good ranking should establish the most precise definition possible of what is understood by academic quality and the decisive factors that make a university good (...). In practice, the comparison tends to be biased or exclusively focused on research activity, mainly due to the fact that this is the only activity for which comparable data are available at the international level, such as those available through the ISI Web of Knowledge or Scopus databases’ (Pérez-Esparrells and Gómez-Sancho, 2010:3). By way of example, the Academic Ranking of World Universities looks at the number of Nobel Prizes and other distinctions awarded to a university’s alumni and staff, the number of articles published in key scientific journals (for the most part, in English-speaking countries), the number of times that a university’s researchers are cited in academically prestigious journals, the number of students and the academic performance of each faculty.
Rerences:
AGUILAR PIÑAL, F. (1967) Los comienzos de la crisis universitaria en España. Antología de textos del Siglo XVIII. Editorial Magisterio Español S.A., Madrid.
BAREA TEJEIRO, J. (2003). La financiación estatal de la formación universitaria no conlleva su producción. In SAZ DIAZ, J. M. and GOMEZ PULIDO, J. M. (Eds.) Universidad …¿Para qué? Alcalá: Universitas, Universidad de Alcalá.
CONSEJO DE COORDINACIÓN UNIVERSITARIA. COMISIÓN DE FINANCIACIÓN. (2007). Financiación del sistema universitario español. Madrid.
DEL VALLE LÓPEZ, A. (1998). La Universidad Centralista 1834-1936. In de Luxan, Jose María (Ed.), Política y reforma universitaria. Barcelona: Cedecs editorial S.L.
El sistema educativo español 2.000. Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte, Centro de Investigación y Documentación Educativa, CIDE, I.S.B.N.: 84-369-3428-8, Madrid. http://www.educacion.es/. Consulted on: December 28, 2009
Estrategia Universidad 2015. (n.d.). Retrieved March 2010 from the Spanish Ministry of Education website: http://www.educacion.es/.
JIMENEZ, A. (1971). Historia de la Universidad Española. Alianza Editorial. Madrid
LOPEZ TORO, A. A. (2000). La evaluación de la calidad en la universidad española. Doctoral thesis, University of Malaga, Malaga.
PESET M., PESET J. (1974) La Universidad Española Siglos XVII y XIX. Despotismo Ilustrado y Revolución Liberal. Taurus Ediciones S.A., Madrid.
Propuesta de Resolución Definitiva de la convocatoria correspondiente al año 2009, regulada en la Orden EDU/3318/2009, de 9 de diciembre, para la concesión de subvenciones públicas a los proyectos que hayan obtenido una Mención de Calidad en el Programa Campus de Excelencia Internacional. (2009). Retrieved in March 2010 from the Spanish Ministry of Education website: http://www.educacion.es/.
Resuelta la Convocatoria Campus de Excelencia Internacional. (2009). Retrieved March 2010 from the Spanish Ministry of Education website: http://www.educacion.es/.
VELASCO MURVIEDRO, C. La Universidad Española durante el Franquismo. In de Luxan, Jose María (Ed.), Política y reforma universitaria. Barcelona: Cedecs editorial S.L.
About the author
Telva Martel is currently studying her phd on new technologies in communications at the University of Malaga. Additionally, she is representative of a training consultant company who teaches courses subsidized by the Social Security. She has also been representative of the Editorial Akal and the Editorial Grupo SM. Furthermore, Telva holds a B.A. In audiovisual communication.

For further information about this article contact the author at: telvam@hotmail.com.

Posté par pcassuto à 18:28 - - Permalien [#]

"Engaging in the Modernisation Agenda for European Higher Education"

http://uv-net.uio.no/wpmu/wp-content/blogs.dir/9/old-media/logo_modern.jpg"Engaging in the Modernisation Agenda for European Higher Education"  Brussels, 30 January 2012 (Download the programme). Register here.
KEY THEMES
The new EU Communication Supporting growth and jobs – an agenda for the modernisation of Europe's higher education systems (September 2011) highlights once more the need for Member States and European higher education institutions to play a much more proactive role in contributing to the development of a smart, dynamic and sustainable competitive economy in the Knowledge Society which is also at the heart of the EU2020 Strategy. 

Over the past decade EU policies have resulted in higher education undergoing a number of transformations triggered among others by the Bologna Process and the Lisbon Agenda, yet the Commission highlights that “the full potential of higher education institutions is still underexploited. Europe has too few world-class universities and needs a much wider diversity of institutions to address different needs”.
One of the most urgent challenges for university leaders and managers is the need to develop powerful strategies to address the many challenges in global settings and ensure their institutions’ long term sustainability in highly competitive environments.
How does your institution engage with its external environment in regional and global settings? How can you rely on a dynamic dialogue and multiple interactions between universities, businesses, governments and society at large in order to stimulate the creation, transfer and application of new knowledge?
As primarily publicly-funded knowledge institutions, how can you demonstrate that you are creating strong public value and relevance both in research and education, making your knowledge available to solve the many complex problems of society and supporting the skills agenda for the labour market?
What is your institution’s unique setting and strategic profile to “face the rankings” and improve your performance. How can you develop strong data collection and market intelligence to support your decision-making?
How can you reform your internal governance, management and operations to support strong innovation?  How can you develop an organisational culture sufficiently flexible to address the needs of society with innovative approaches?
The conference will take a close look at the EU communication, its impact on higher education institutions and the future opportunities it will offer in the new programmes under the next multiannual financial framework 2014-2020, i.e. the new integrated Education Europe, Horizon 2020 and the Cohesion programmes. It will build on the outcomes of the Modern European platform on Higher Education Modernisation.
See also European Ministers adopt conclusions on HE modernisation, mobility and a renewed agenda for adult learning.

Posté par pcassuto à 18:17 - - Permalien [#]
Tags :