European University Association – Erasmus+ mid-term review: EUA’s recommendations

The EUA published its 10 recommendations for enhancing Erasmus+

1. Continue to simplify rules, requirements and processes for application, management and reporting, in order to decrease the administrative burden.
2. Enhance paper-free and online processes and tools, data compatibility and userfriendliness.
3. Improve funding and funding efficiency.
4. Increase the number of grants under some of the actions in order to achieve reasonable success rates.
5. Maintain and further enhance the European dimension of all actions, as this is the key added value of the programme.

Read more @eua’s site

Universities must find a way to challenge populism

Higher education needs a new focus based on democratic and global citizenship, according to Fernando Reimers, professor of international education at Harvard University, who eruditely and passionately defended the values of freedom and equality against the rise of populism, in a keynote speech at the co-hosted WISE – World Innovation Summit for Education – and Santander forum in Madrid, Spain, on Tuesday.

The forum, with the theme “’Imagining the Future of Education”, sought to address how education systems can transform themselves to anticipate the future, what tools and innovations will be the real change-makers, and the role that higher education should play in shaping the future.

“We are faced with a challenge to liberalism by populists who are challenging the ideas of freedom, equality, human rights, representative democracy and globalisation… and most fascism starts with populism,” Reimers reminded the 800 delegates gathered from all over the world.

 

…continue @ University World News

Post al blog de la RCDP: “Més problemes per a les universitats: ara no són administracions públiques”

Tenim les universitats públiques operant sota condicions de funcionament de mera supervivència; això es deu a diferents motius que s’arrosseguen de fa anys, i que sintetitzant excessivament es reduïen, fins ara, a dos. El primer, ben conegut i enquistat, no és altre que la manca de finançament adequat; el segon, encara més antic i més crònic que l’anterior, és l’inadequat funcionament intern de la institució i els millorables lligams amb l’exterior. Doncs bé, ara ens han afegit un tercer problema no menor, de caire jurídic, amb l’entrada en vigor de les noves lleis bàsiques administratives, la Llei 39/2015, del procediment administratiu comú de les administracions públiques i la 40/2015, del règim jurídic del sector públic. El gran canvi que introdueixen pel que fa a les universitats és que han estat explícitament excloses de la condició d’administracions públiques. Quan parlo de la universitat havia utilitzat en alguna ocasió la metàfora del cotxe, explicant que no només anem justos de combustible –el finançament–, sinó que la mecànica és molt vella i s’ha de revisar de dalt a baix –el sistema de govern. Ara, la nova legislació administrativa ens vol fer creure que, a més, no tenim vehicle.

(llegir més al blog RCDP)

Article a la Revista Catalana de Dret Públic: “Els òrgans de govern universitari: reforma i inclusió de membres externs”

El número de desembre de la Revista catalana de Dret públic publica un article meu sobre el govern de les universitats públiques:

Resum

Durant els darrers anys s’han publicat un nombre important d’estudis i articles al voltant de la governança de les universitats, el seu sistema de govern i la necessitat d’una reforma en profunditat per tal d’adaptar aquesta institució a les necessitats que la societat actual té de la universitat, que transcendeixen les clàssiques de la docència i la recerca. Amb aquest article pretenc fer aportacions al debat en curs, amb la voluntat d’incidir en la concreció d’alguns dels temes tractats, específicament sobre com s’hauria de configurar l’estructura del govern de la universitat, els seus òrgans, la seva composició i les relacions entre ells.

La qüestió de la incorporació de membres externs al govern universitari, de quina forma s’ha de produir, en quina mesura i amb quines atribucions, és un dels nuclis centrals de l’article. La configuració que plantejo es basa en un únic òrgan de govern amb majoria de membres externs i amb una àmplia capacitat per dissenyar i executar polítiques, tenint d’altra banda com a òrgan de control, un claustre universitari fort, que avali el pla estratègic que li presenti el govern i que exerceixi de garant de les llibertats acadèmiques.

Una reforma de l’abast que s’està estudiant, tant si s’adopta una línia semblant a l’exposada aquí com si s’opta per altres tipus de configuracions, implicarà necessàriament la modificació de l’actual o la redacció d’una nova llei orgànica reguladora de les universitats. Les implicacions que necessàriament sorgiran de les noves atribucions amb què, sens dubte, es dotarà la institució universitària tindran ressò a mitjà termini en la configuració de l’autonomia universitària i de les llibertats acadèmiques que al llarg de les passades dècades ha anat teixint el Tribunal Constitucional. Exposo també en aquest article algunes consideracions al voltant d’aquests aspectes.

Text complert a la Revista catalana de Dret Públic

Signals being sent to Universities: are there better ways to prove your value than a degree?

The Two Great Secrets of Higher Education

  1. Tuition is paid for one reason: to buy a signal.
  2. That signal is not worth the investment compared to what you can create elsewhere.

These two great secrets are known to almost nobody. A few people know secret number one, but falsely conclude that the signal is still the best option.

A small but growing number of people partially understand what’s behind secret number two, but because they do not grasp that the product universities sell is a signal, they only compare only alternative social and learning experiences to universities, not alternative ways of creating a signal.

The combined understanding of both of these secrets will completely revolutionize the way people think about and engage in education, career preparation, work, and life.

Continue reading @ The Mission

Flemish Universities suspend study-abroad programmes in Turkey

All major Flemish universities have decided to stop sending students to Turkey as part of the Erasmus exchange programme. The measure was taken in the aftermath of the thwarted military coup, the imposition of a state of emergency and the suspension of thousands of education staff in Turkey. Students who were planning to study in the country will now have to either postpone their trip or choose a different destination.

Earlier this month, Ghent University imposed a travel ban on staff and students wanting to travel to Turkey, after a terrorist attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport. According to the Flemish Interuniversity Council, rectors of all Flemish universities have expressed concern at the Turkish government’s decision to suspend thousands of education staff following the failed military coup. The rectors will now examine their relations with Turkish universities.

Read more @ TheBulletin.be

Les universitats públiques catalanes reclamen al govern millores en la política universitària

Els rectors i presidents dels consells socials de les universitats públiques catalanes han presentat aquest matí a Barcelona una declaració conjunta, elaborada en el marc de l’Associació Catalana d’Universitats Públiques (ACUP), per reclamar al govern català millores en la política universitària. La declaració gira a l’entorn de cinc eixos: major autonomia, millor finançament públic, reducció dels preus públics de matrícula dels estudis de grau i de màster, compromís amb els acords del Consell Interuniversitari de Catalunya (CIC) pel que fa a l’estructuració dels estudis i, finalment, la incorporació de nou personal docent i investigador (PDI) i de personal d’administració i serveis (PAS).

(més @ ACUP )

Universities face funding pressure right across Europe @University World News

(By Brendan O’Malley)

In at least 20 out of 24 European countries, funding for higher education has either been cut or has not kept pace with increases in student numbers, according to new data published by the 2016 Public Funding Observatory.

The data, released at the European University Association’s funding forum in Porto, Portugal, reveals, for example, that although public funding to universities has increased in 11 countries between 2008 and 2015, rising enrolment meant that funding per student fell in seven of these.

Meanwhile, public funding has fallen in 13 systems; and in seven of these, student numbers have been growing.

This indicates that “almost all systems in Europe are under pressure”, the European University Association or EUA says. The exceptions are Norway and Sweden.

(Read more at University World News)

Can online higher education replace traditional college? (The Washington Post)

For much of their modern existance, distance-education courses have suffered from an image problem.

In the 1970s and 1980s, they were seen as cheap knockoffs of on-campus offerings, hawked on late-night television by the likes of Sally Struthers, who asked viewers, “Do you want to make more money? Sure, we all do,” in commercials for the International Correspondence School.

In the late 1990s, the introduction of online learning coincided with the expansion of for-profit providers, such as the University of Phoenix and Corinthian Colleges. The two trends were often conflated in the media, and the quality concerns that frequently dogged the for-profit industry rubbed off on online programs.

Columbia University tried to change public perception in 2000, when it started a high-profile, $25 million online learning portal called Fathom, which aggregated content from other top-ranked institutions. It was an idea ahead of its time, by a decade. The site went dark in 2003, after failing to turn a profit. By 2011, in a survey by the Pew Research Center, just 29 percent of American adults said that online courses offered equal value to learning in traditional classrooms.

But then the negative headwinds facing online education began to shift, and quickly. The big reason? Name-brand and elite universities suddenly became interested in digital learning.

(read more @ The Washington Post)

‘Free’ higher education: unrealistic expectations, unsustainable solutions (Damtew Teferra @ TheConversation)

Free higher education is a myth. There is no such thing anywhere in the world, even in wealthy states like Germany, Finland, Norway and Sweden, which insist that their tertiary education systems are “free”. In fact, higher education in those countries is predominantly paid for by taxpayers. They can afford it. They are rich, socially and economically equitable societies.

Higher education is a resource intensive enterprise. It cannot effectively function without a massive injection of resources in a sustained and escalated way.  (read more @ TheConversation)