eWENR, March/April 2001: Europe
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Institutions of education in Copenhagen and southern Sweden are traversing national boundaries and forming a regional organization that will compete with Europe’s largest metropolitan centers in higher education. The Oresund University has been established as an umbrella organization for 11 participating institutions. It takes its name from the strait that divides the Danish capital from Malmo and Lund in Sweden. This strait has recently been spanned by the $2 billion Oresond bridge. The new bridge has opened up an exchange of students and academics between the two regions.
Oresund University intends to facilitate this exchange and bolster the educational opportunities that smaller institutions cannot afford to promote. Lund University, the University of Copenhagen and the Technical University of Denmark are the major proponents of the new network. By sharing their resources and creating joint programs, member institutions of Oresund University have been able to perpetuate failing departments, especially languages, and expand research and development projects.
Perhaps the most lucrative advantage of this association will be its collaboration with the regional biomedical research sector, which they hope will spawn a center of the biomedicine industry likened to the San Francisco Bay area’s relation to software. More than 25 hospitals and 150 companies have pledged their support to the project, along with the Royal Danish School of Pharmacy and the universities of Malmo and Roskilde.
Several obstacles still face Oresund University, however, including the distance gap that the bridge was intended to ameliorate. Commuters complain that the trains across the strait are unbearably slow, while the option of driving across is hampered by a US$30 one-way toll. Others worry that the new network of universities will struggle to achieve an equilibrium, because Copenhagen is by far more prosperous than the Malmo region. Still, as word begins to spread about the new joint projects, administrators expect Danish and Swedish students to take advantage of newer, more diverse and comprehensive educational programs.
— The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 16, 2001
The new Administrative Board of the International Association of Universities, based in Paris, has admitted the following new members:
• University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia
• Yerevan State Medical University, Armenia
• Ama International University, Bangladesh
• National Taiwan University, China, Taiwan
• National Taiwan Ocean University, China
• Universidad del Quindio, Colombia
• Universidad Mariana, Colombia
• Universidad Nordestana, Dominican Republic
• Benha Higher Institute of Technology, Egypt
• Concordia International University, Estonia
• Pazmany Peter Catholic University, Hungary
• Tehran University of Teacher Training, Iran
• Irbid Private University, Jordan
• Pusan National University, Korea
• University of Medicine and Pharmacy (IASI), Romania
• Council of Rectors of Higher Educational Establishments, Armenia
— IAU Newsletter
New reforms have been passed that will put an end to regulations requiring the completion of a specified number of years of study to earn a degree. A law established in 1938 has prevented students from graduating early, even if they have acquired sufficient credits and proven capable of passing the requisite exams. The new law will allow Italian students to graduate more quickly and move through courses of study without the burdensome constraint of a time requirement.
— The Times Higher Education Supplement
Feb. 23, 2001
After days of intense debate, the parliament of Macedonia passed a new law to establish an Albanian-language university. The university is intended to serve the large minority of ethnic Albanians in the country, and will be co-funded by Western European governments, the Council of Europe and the Soros Foundation. Many Albanians have criticized the state for not funding the new school, while others have said that such a school will only underscore and intensify ethnic partitions within Macedonia. There is currently no other Albanian-language university in the country, although Kosovar teachers established an illegal academy in that language in 1994. The new college will be situated in the vicinity of that academy, in the village of Kalnick.
Dutch Education Minister Loek Hermans has announced his support for the expansion of the Open University in Holland to incorporate other universities and institutions of higher vocational education. Within five years, this proposed consortium is expected to become a top-notch virtual university that will contribute to the country’s growing emphasis on professional education and lifelong learning.
At least three universities and eight colleges have already committed to join the consortium, which, in its culmination, will be renamed the Digital University.
— Cedefop INFO
Officials within the Spanish government are formulating critical education reforms to be presented as the Bill of Quality this summer. In efforts to increase competition among both students and universities, many are trying to toughen the baccalaureate degree by implementing a nationwide final exam. The exam would cover all subjects, and a degree candidate would have to receive a passing grade to graduate and pursue a degree in higher education.
In addition, there is a proposal that universities begin to offer their own entrance exams, specific to the chosen course of study. While the final exam would aid the standardization of the baccalaureate in Spain, the new entrance exams would allow for a school’s greater control of selectivity and overall autonomy.
— El Pais
Feb. 19, 2001
The First Minister of Scotland, Henry MacLeish, and the Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning, Wendy Alexander, recently announced the official opening of the Scottish University for Industry. The Scottish government has pledged nearly 40 million pounds (US$ 57 million) to the new school.
— Times Higher Education Supplement
Jan. 19, 2001
Leeds University will merge with the troubled West Yorkshire college Bretton Hall in August of this year. Administrators will introduce a new school of performing arts at Bretton and augment teaching and research in the arts. Bretton’s fashion and design program will link with textile studies at Leeds. Officials anticipate an additional 3,000 students at the school within the next five years.
— Times Higher Education Supplement
Jan. 5, 2001
Due to plummeting student enrollment, the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside has decided to withdraw from its Hull campus and move to Lincoln — changing its name to the University of Lincoln in the process. School administrators admitted that they could no longer afford to compete with the University of Hull.
— Times Higher Education Supplement
Feb. 2, 2001
The Quality Assurance Agency released its new qualification framework in January, setting three “levels” of undergraduate status: certificate level; intermediate level, including the ordinary Higher National Degree and the new foundation degree; and honors level, including the Bachelor of Arts (Honors) and Bachelor of Science (Honors). Universities are expected to comply with this new structure and nomenclature by 2003.
— Chronicle of Higher Education
Feb. 9, 2001
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