L’explication centrale des insuffisances de notre système tient dans la prégnance du modèle éducatif initial lui-même dominé par une approche abstraite et académique des savoirs. Ponctué d’exemples concrets des expériences réussies mais occultées et des bévues sans cesse recommencées, la démonstration de Danielle Kaisergruber est un rappel salutaire pour la mémoire institutionnelle défaillante et pour les acteurs de terrain qui tentent et trouvent des solutions rarement capitalisées. L’absence d’évaluation des mesures et des dispositifs sans cesse renouvelés est également soulignée par l’auteur qui n’oublie pas d’évoquer ce goût étrange pour la complexité de la part des acteurs du système… Suite de l'article...
The main explanation of the shortcomings of our system lies in the significance of the initial educational model itself dominated by an abstract approach and academic knowledge. More...
Cela a pu être constaté, une fois de plus, à l'issue des travaux d'un panel de l'European Research Council (ERC, le Conseil européen pour la recherche) que j'ai présidé, en juin. Ce panel devait répartir quelque 40 millions d'euros entre des candidats venus du monde entier à l'issue d'un processus de sélection exigeant. Sur les 27 dossiers retenus parmi près de 300, 16, soit environ 60%, seront traités au sein d'établissements d'enseignement et de recherche britanniques, dont une majorité à Londres. Les candidats pouvaient venir de toute l'Europe, et parfois au-delà, et ont fait le choix de ces établissements pour les accueillir.
Plus largement, de 2007 à 2011, les universités britanniques ont bénéficié de près du tiers des 460 bourses octroyées en SHS par l'ERC. Trois universités anglaises, dont deux londoniennes, accueillent à elles seules autant de boursiers ERC que l'ensemble des institutions françaises. D'autres données, sur la longue durée, pourraient nuancer ce constat, mais ne démentent pas que le Royaume-Uni se trouve en position dominante. Quelles raisons avancer?
Le Royaume-Uni offre aux lauréats de bourses ERC de bonnes conditions de travail et d'existence. L'accueil scientifique mais aussi humain, la capacité de bénéficier d'infrastructures efficaces et réactives, l'environnement intellectuel, la qualité des étudiants que le chercheur rencontrera sont à l'évidence décisifs. Un chercheur qui pose sa bourse dans un établissement universitaire lui apporte, en contrepartie, des ressources non négligeables, 20% des moyens qui lui sont alloués revenant à l'institution d'accueil.
Tout cela participe d'un modèle de recherche dominé par la concurrence et le marché. Le Royaume-Uni a fait depuis une bonne vingtaine d'années le choix d'ouvrir son marché du travail universitaire aux étrangers, nombreux à occuper des postes en SHS, ou à bénéficier de bourses de thèses ou de post-doc, sans parler des étudiants, qui proviennent du monde entier. La recherche non financée est de moins en moins possible, la compétition est féroce, et les chercheurs pour survivre doivent drainer des fonds, dont une partie significative servira à financer leur propre salaire, y compris s'ils sont en poste.
C'est à ce prix que le modèle britannique est efficace, plus capable d'attirer une certaine excellence, celle qui se fait reconnaître au niveau international, que d'élever le niveau général de la recherche nationale. International, donc, ouvert et dynamique, il est aussi dur, marchand et élitiste.
L'ERC, qui dispose de budgets considérables, a-t-il tort de promouvoir une excellence qui risque en réalité de correspondre à un modèle universitaire unique, le britannique? Les ressources qu'il alloue ne vont presque jamais vers des universités d'Europe centrale ou du sud de l'Europe, et peu vers la France (bien que notre pays soit mieux loti que l'Allemagne, l'Italie ou l'Espagne). Suite de l'article...
Έχει βρεθεί, για άλλη μια φορά, μετά το έργο της ομάδας του Ευρωπαϊκού Συμβουλίου Έρευνας (ΕΣΕ, το Ευρωπαϊκό Συμβούλιο Έρευνας), η οποία προήδρευσα τον Ιούνιο. Περισσότερα...
In 2010 to 2011, the UK Higher Education Statistics Agency reported that for the first time more international students were studying UK courses outside the UK than within it. While the exportation of higher education programmes delivered across borders to remote learners in numerous and growing forms is not a new phenomenon, interest has been heightened by the UK government's promise to cut net migration from hundreds to tens of thousands.
Complicate this picture further for UK institutions with the increase in UK domestic student fees and substantial cuts in universities' government funding, and it has never been more evident than now that UK higher education institutions need to get creative, innovate, capitalise on, and think outside the tradition of its four walls.
The operating environment in the UK for institutions wanting to internationalise is witnessing governmental, economic and political impact that are forcing them to think beyond their traditional and experiment with the possibilities before them in delivering Transnational Education (TNE) programmes.
The delivery of these programmes has led to a new type of higher education consumer who seeks an unconventional, flexible format that allows them to continue their own pursuits (be that career, family or other) outside regular residential bricks and mortar study. TNE students have been described as 'glocal' students, in other words local students with global aspirations. Whilst this observation is an accurate description – indeed, students are studying for globally administered programmes in a local setting – these students display far more sophisticated and nuanced characteristics than this assessment implies.
Perhaps a better term might be 'career alumni.' This new wave of learners that has emerged seek quality programmes that will lead to career enhancement like their traditional internationally mobile counterparts. But they are also making measured and often multi-layered choices that allow them to advance in many cases a prosperous career without leaving their job, over the chance to experience studying within a campus environment. The 'career alumni' tag resonates due to their focus on their own professional development, and the importance they place on the creation of professional networks gained during their period of study.
So why isn't everyone jumping on this band wagon? For both the delivering institution and the participating student, TNE programmes present the assessment of a measured risk. The challenge for both student and institution is mitigating that risk and achieving end goals of development and sustainability.
Trends in international student mobility traditionally show students seeking higher quality education than immediately available to them at home, often in a country renowned for its world class institutions, academics and opportunities. A better quality of education and fulfilling the ultimate goal of improving career prospects have always been among the most important factors for students choosing to study overseas.
Indisputably, students also want the cultural experience of living abroad. This wider experiential dimension, outside education and employment, is often capitalised on by institution's marketing strategies and national branding campaigns that exploit creative, scientific and artistic innovations, in the hopes of inspiring a new generation of imported home-cultivated alumni.
Setting aside the potentially negative spin that could be applied to findings that TNE students are not treated equally by awarding institutions and are not offered the same quality of experience as those based on campus, there is an opportunity here to be grasped. The straight transference of a campus-based programme aimed at classroom-taught students fails to understand the motives behind the TNE-seeking student.
Embracing the lack of four walls and the building of new professional communities could lead to the development of appropriate and sustainable programmes that would increase an institution's brand value rather than detract from it. Acknowledge and celebrate the difference in a TNE programme, not as a second choice, but as a strategic decision made by individuals that do fit this mode of delivery and gain from it a valuable experience that will grow their unique needs, skills sets and personal situation.
Elizabeth Shepherd is British Council research director of education intelligence – this blog is based on a report into Transnational Education available to UK universities at the British Council SIEM site.
Over 100 participants from European universities, national agencies and government bodies gathered at the University of Oslo from 4 to 5 September to debate the outcomes of the EUA-led project ‘Mapping University Mobility of Staff and Students’ – MAUNIMO – and discuss the implications for the implementation of current European mobility targets. The project findings have been published in a comprehensive new report, entitled ‘Mobility: Closing the gap between policy and practice’, that was launched at the event.
Over the last two years, the MAUNIMO project has explored the university perspective on academic mobility of various types and how institutions are responding to increased pressures from European and national levels to increase and improve mobility.
The project centred on the creation and pilot of a (web-based) mobility self-assessment tool for universities, tested on 34 universities from 21 countries. It was designed to help universities examine a variety of issues such as: how they are defining and implementing strategies for mobility, how they collect different types of data on mobility, how different external stakeholders (including local and regional government, employers, etc.) influence mobility, and how perceptions of mobility vary within an institution. The tool consists of a questionnaire that helps structure an internal consultation and mapping of mobility perceptions and practices, and has been further supported by other interactive activities such as practice sharing between universities.
The final dissemination conference was an opportunity to share and discuss the findings from the project. The event included case studies and testimonials from the pilot universities, as well as presentations and discussions on the recently launched mobility strategy of the European Higher Education Area, the proposed programme framework ‘Erasmus for All’ of the European Commission, and the prospects for doctoral candidate and young researcher mobility under the EU’s 'Horizon 2020'.
A number of key issues with regard to mobility strategies – many of which are covered in the project report – were raised and discussed by speakers and participants.
- For example, the interrelation of mobility strategies at European, national and institutional level was considered critical. The point was made that all were necessary to truly advance mobility in Europe, and that universities in particular should develop strategic approaches to mobility that crosscut teaching and learning, internationalisation and research. Mobility for teaching/learning versus research purposes, for example, is not appropriately articulated to students and staff and not properly related. The strategic importance of doctoral candidate mobility was mentioned in this regard, which requires connecting the teaching and learning with the research agenda in order to be advanced. In response to this discussion, the European Commission stated the need to better exploit and promote synergies between the proposed ‘Erasmus for All’ and the ‘Horizon 2020’ Programmes.
- Data collection was another important focus of discussion. Different techniques or approaches to collecting data on various types of mobility were shared. The collection of reliable and comprehensive data on staff and researcher mobility was identified as particularly challenging, and a number of institutions reported on recent initiatives to tackle this issue. Participants noted that the bottom line is that researchers and staff need incentives to report on their activities, but also that quantifying staff mobility (measuring time duration for instance) can and should be quite different from that for student mobility. It was also very much felt that there should be a strong focus not only on time spent abroad, but also on outcomes and impact. Generally, as for other types of mobility, inclusion into the strategic priorities and support of leadership were found to play a critical role.
- Finally, the social dimension of mobility was also at the forefront of discussions. It was highlighted that: ensuring access to mobility opportunities, particularly for lower socioeconomic groups, would also be a critical point for institutional self-evaluation and policy more generally.
Presentations from the event can be found here. The final MAUNIMO report ‘Mobility: Closing the gap between policy and practice’ can be downloaded here.
MAUNIMO is a project supported by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission. It is led by EUA and supported by partners; University of Oslo, University of Trento, Swansea University and University of Marburg.
The Parliament sinks its teeth into Erasmus for All (or shall we say Lifelong Learning Programme II?)
Following the Council’s adoption of a partial general approach for the Commission-proposed Erasmus for All in May, it was now the European Parliament’s turn to take a closer look and stamp its own vision on the new programme. Under the leadership of MEP Doris Pack (rapporteur), the long-time Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT), the Parliament issued its first version of the Draft Report at the end of July. Although still to be ratified by the plenary in November, the amended proposal lays the groundwork for future negotiations with the Council and has already attracted plenty of attention.
In general terms, members of the CULT committee agree with the new streamlined structure organised along three key actions of mobility, cooperation and support for policy reform. More critique is reserved for the vagueness of the legal base especially when it comes to specific information on activities across sectors for all three key actions. In the same vein, the Parliament would like to increase the minimum allocations per sector to 82%, rather than the 56% proposed by the Commission in order to guarantee more parity in funding across the different levels of education.
The first major issue taken up by the rapporteur is the name. Although Erasmus for All as a brand has been hotly debated in the Council with many alternatives thrown around, very few member states felt strongly about retaining the current Lifelong Learning Programme tag. However, this is exactly what the Parliament would like to do, although its claim that the name is “well-known” is up for discussion when one steps outside the education community. On the other hand, the report’s second proposal to keep the current sectoral names is likely to find more support. Equally similar to the Council’s approach are the suggestions for a separate chapter and budget line for youth, as well as the inclusion of a provision guaranteeing funding for all six academic institutions active in the field of European integration. The Parliament would also like to preserve a flexible approach to allow more than one National Agency in cases where national structures already have a multi-institution landscape.
When it comes to higher education, the report does feature one oddity or a failed attempt to accommodate a frequent call from organisations active in internationalisation of higher education. In the Explanatory Statement the rapporteur mentions the idea of introducing multiple mobility within Erasmus (higher education) reasoning that “it should be possible to study at least at two universities and in different academic years”. However, this suggestion is nowhere to be found in the preceding proposed amendments to the legal base thus effectively ‘explaining’ a non-existent clause.
The matter of the overall budget still remains in the air due to the Multiannual Financial Framework negotiations, but the Parliament would like to see funding for the new programme increased to the level proposed by the Commission. To seasoned EU observers, this is somewhat surprising as it is out of line with the usual ‘cat and mouse’ game between the Parliament and Council, where the Parliament normally proposes an even higher increase knowing that the Council will decrease the funding level anyway. At this moment, the previously set timeline for Erasmus for All (or the Lifelong Learning Programme II?) remains in place, as both sides hope a final version of the legal base can be agreed upon in early 2013. As with the budget and the name, we will just have to wait and see…