eWENR, July/August 2000: Europe

Regional News



The government is calling for substantial cutbacks in university admissions to bring graduation rates in line with job prospects. At present there are 263,800 students attending institutions of higher education in Bulgaria, a country which has a population of 8.4 million. Although the overall intake for Bulgarian universities was fixed at 47,000 last year, only about 39,000 enrolled. The total intake for next September has been set at 37,648. It is estimated that almost half of Bulgaria’s high school graduates will enter institutions of higher education.

However, these admission figures do not include students who pay tuition. Contrary to the law, a number of universities have established subsidiaries to offer undergraduate and graduate programs for a fee.

— The Times Higher Education Supplement
June 9, 2000


Berlin’s Free University [1] has launched a new masters degree program aimed at improving job prospects for aspiring teachers. The program is globally oriented, providing students with hands-on training in a multi-national classroom. The objective is to make graduates of the program more employable elsewhere in the European Union (EU).

Many unemployed German teachers look for jobs in other countries only to find that their teaching diploma, the Staatsexamen, enjoys limited recognition abroad. The new European master’s degree in intercultural education is part of the EU’s Erasmus program.

Students enrolled in the new master’s program must complete one full year of study and are expected to earn 60 credit points under the European Credit Transfer System [2]. The program combines theoretical knowledge with work experience, and students spend time abroad at a partner university.

Applicants to the program are required to hold a teaching degree from any European university and possess an excellent command of English, which serves as the language of instruction. The program is scheduled to begin in October 2000.

— Times Higher Education Supplement
June 30, 2000

The University of Bayreuth [3] will soon be turning out “philosophizing economists.” University officials recently announced plans to offer a three-year, combined bachelor’s degree program in philosophy and economics. Although this degree has been available in the United Kingdom for many years now, it is brand new to Germany.

The program will cover the following areas of study: distribution rights and fair negotiation resolutions, as well as environmental and economic ethics.

— Die Zeit
June 15, 2000


Last month, several thousand ethnic-Albanians took to the streets in Tetova, Macedonia’s largest Albanian-speaking town, which lies on the border of Kosovo. The demonstrators were protesting the government’s plans to close the Albanian-language university, which has never been formally recognized, and replace it with a multilingual institution. Tensions in Tetova have been escalating as a result of irredentist demands for a Greater Albania following the war in Kosovo. However, Albanian-speaking students in Tetova claim they are merely demonstrating for the right to study in their own language.

Although student leaders claim the university operates according to Macedonian law, Tetova’s diplomas are not officially recognized. A new education law, establishing guidelines for minority education, is being drafted with the help of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe [4]. If passed, the law would require ethnic-Albanian students to take an additional government test before their diplomas could be recognized.

— The Times Higher Education Supplement
June 9, 2000


The Academy of Humanities and Economics [5] in Lodz recently announced the opening of its new International School of Business and Engineering (ISBE). Classes will begin in October 2000.

ISBE will offer three-year programs in computer science and business administration. The language of instruction is English, and the academic year will be divided into two semesters. Credits will be allocated in accordance with the European Transfer Credit System [2].

In addition, the new school plans to offer a polish language course and a refresher English course. For further information concerning the curriculum, admission procedures and fees, please contact the Academy of Humanities and Economics at: [email protected] [6] or [email protected] [7].

— Correspondence from the Academy of Humanities and Economics
April 10, 2000


Recent government statistics reveal a staggering divide in access to higher education between rich and poor. One study of university applicants in four East Anglian counties showed that in some areas, dubbed “cold spots,” less than 1 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 25 are accepted to universities each year. This is significantly lower than the national average, which is more than 5 percent.

Even in affluent areas, there are numerous “cold spots.” In one ward in Colchester, Essex, only 11 out of 1,300 students aged 18 to 25 were awarded places at universities in 1998. In inner city areas, few or no students go to college. In Whales, the number of students pursuing higher education is one-third the national average.

In a similar study, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service [8] found that applications to higher education institutions in Manchester were at best inconsistent in many of the city’s districts.

A spokesperson for Anglia Polytechnic University [9], which conducted one of the government-funded studies, blamed much of the problem on the “elitism of universities.” David Triesman, general secretary of the Association of University Teachers [10], called the study’s findings “explosive” and warned: “We have a system which does not admit working-class kids. That’s got to change.”

— The Independent
June 19, 2000

E-mail your comments to the editor [11] The eWENR staff welcomes your feedback regarding this article or the newsletter in general.