WENR, March/April 2003: Europe
EU Study: Higher Education Enrollments Up 100% Since 1975
A recent study by the European Union reveals that student numbers in higher education doubled between 1975 and 2000, and there are now 16 million enrolled in higher education across Europe.
Portugal saw the biggest increase, with four times as many students enrolled in 1999-00 as in 1975-76. In Greece, Spain, Ireland, Finland and Iceland, the number almost tripled. Germany witnessed the lowest growth over the 25-year period, during which numbers increased 1.5 times. Numbers have actually been shrinking in Germany and France since 1995-96 and in Italy since 1997-98.
In EU-candidate countries, for which data have been available since 1996-97, an increase of 33 percent has been reported in Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Slovenia, and Slovakia; there was virtually no change in Bulgaria, Cyprus and Malta.
Between 1975 and 2000, the number of women enrolled in higher education increased five-fold in Greece, Spain, Ireland and Portugal, and by a factor of approximately four in Austria, Portugal, Finland and the United Kingdom. In 1975, women represented 40 percent of the student population, whereas today, they are the majority in virtually every country in Europe. But there are still very few female students in most scientific fields, with the opposite being true for social sciences.
According to the study, the United Kingdom hosts the most European students (more than 110,000); the second most popular destination is Germany (nearly 70,000). Only 2 percent of students go to other European countries to obtain their degrees.
Across Europe, 23 percent of people age 30 to 34 have a higher education diploma. In Finland, Lithuania and Norway, approximately 40 percent have a diploma. In Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Iceland and Sweden, about one-third do. In Italy, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, only about 10 percent do.
Common University Entrance Exam to Return
Deputy Minister of Education Anastas Gerdzhikov has announced that common national exams for entrance to Bulgarian universities will be created next year, renouncing reforms made in 1990.
Currently, candidates for undergraduate studies in Bulgaria have to take a different test for each program they apply for.
Jan. 29, 2003
U.S. Corporation Buys 9 French Colleges
Career Education Corp. has moved into the European market with the acquisition of Formastrat SA, a French company that operates nine institutions of higher education in Bordeaux, Lyon and Paris.
Formastrat, also known as INSEEC, enrolls about 4,000 students annually. Seven of its institutions offer the French equivalents of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business. An eighth institution offers those degrees in communications, and the ninth institution trains students to work in the health-care and pharmaceutical industries.
This is Career Education’s first direct acquisition outside North America, although it enrolls approximately 2,000 students at campuses in Britain and the United Arab Emirates through the purchase of the parent company American Intercontinental University in Nov. 2000.
The French acquisition cost was US$20 million. With these new institutions, Career Education now has 51 campuses and a student enrollment of more than 55,000, including online learners.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Feb. 20, 2003
New University to Bridge Channel
At the February summit between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac, the two countries launched Transmanche University, which will link academics in southern England and northern France.
The project, to be jointly funded by both countries, will connect the University of Kent, Lille’s three universities and the University of the Littoral with campuses at Dunkirk, Calais and Boulogne. The new institution will support undergraduate, postgraduate and research programs.
Kent’s first joint degree in politics and international relations was launched in September with the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Lille. Students in the program will spend their first and fourth years in Canterbury and their middle years in Lille.
The agreement also includes a student exchange program, which will encourage visits involving 17,000 students and 1,500 teachers.
Feb. 4, 2003
CERAM Adds New Degrees
The CERAM School of Management and Technology in Sophia Antipolis will be offering three new degrees next year: a master’s of science in international project leadership, an MBA in European management for the global market and a global executive MBA.
All the new courses will be taught in English. The global executive MBA was created in partnership with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, the University of Delft in Holland and Smith Business School in College Park, Md.
Program Boosts Cooperation Between East, West Europe
The German Research Institute and the Lotman Institute for Russian and Soviet Culture at Ruhr University in Bochum have created an international study college, the Promotionskolleg Ost-West, for Eastern and Western European doctoral students.
The two-year program acts as a forum for scientific cooperation and exchange between doctoral candidates from Eastern Europe for joint research with their Western European counterparts.
The first round of research started in 2001, and the second round is scheduled to start this summer under the heading: “National and Cultural Shaped Ways of Thinking, and Examples of Their International Expansions Since the 1800s.”
Jan. 15, 2003
New Degree Programs
Chemnitz University of Technology will launch a knowledge management master’s program in the winter semester of 2003-04. The three-semester program is an occupational-based course that will work closely with partner companies on student projects. Students will graduate with an executive master of knowledge management degree. Tuition is 15,000 euro (US$16,100).
An international master’s degree in process energy and environmental systems engineering commenced this semester at the Technische Universitat in Berlin. The course is two academic years in length, is taught in both English and German and includes an internship abroad.
A new joint photonics master’s program will be offered at the Technical University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, Wildau and Brandenburg this summer. The program will work closely with industry in terms of instructors and practical elements of the course. It will be funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and will cost 250 euro (US$270) per semester.
Universities Slow to Adopt Bologna Proposals
A recent survey by the Federal Statistical Office reveals that most German universities have chosen to delay the implementation of the Bologna Declaration. So far, only 600 bachelor’s courses and 800 master’s courses – 13 percent of those offered by German higher education institutions – have been created in line with the Bologna proposals. Only 2 percent of total enrollment has been affected.
Feb 26, 2003
New English-Language Business School to Open
A new privately operated, state-approved university will soon offer courses in principles of technology and management.
The European School of Management and Technology will open its doors for executive education classes in the fall, and will offer its first MBA course in 2004. The new school, which hopes to graduate 500 students annually, will be based in Berlin, with satellite campuses in Munich and Cologne. Instruction will be in English.
Italian-German Joint Degrees Offered
Last fall, vice chancellors from the University of Tübingen and the University of Trento signed an agreement to issue joint degrees in physics and mathematics.
Students wishing to spend a semester abroad in either Germany or Italy must first pass a language proficiency exam and must have completed two years of pre-degree study. Students graduate with a degree issued and recognized in both countries.
Dec. 5, 2002
Reforms to Close 7 Research Institutes
Academics at Italy’s leading state research institutes are furious about reforms that will cut the number of research institutes from 19 to 12, give them fewer resources and allow the government to control the selection of department heads.
Among the institutions affected was the National Research Council (CNR), which controls 108 sub-institutes in all fields. It has warned that insufficient funding could force it to drop out of international programs.
The Department of Higher Education and Research employed a consultancy firm to help shape the reforms, reinforcing critics who believe the government merely sees research as an offshoot of industry. In October, the deputy minister for research, Guido Possa, gave assurances to the scientific community that it would be consulted on any changes. However, in January, Higher Education and Research Minister Letizia Moratti announced the reforms as a fait accompli that requires only Cabinet approval.
Jan. 31, 2003
Minister Plans to Stray From ‘European Degree’
Higher Education and Research Minister Letizia Moratti plans to abandon the recently introduced three-plus-two-year degree, which is based on the “European degree” that much of Europe is committed to under the Bologna Process.
Moratti wants to introduce a common curriculum for first-year students, who would then choose a program of either a further two years or a further four years in two, two-year stages.
The minister also plans to replace the automatic job-for-life agreements for lecturers in state universities with three-year contracts. Academics would be eligible for tenure after their second contract.
The Times Higher Education Supplement
Feb. 14, 2003
Prishtina University Adjusting to European Model
A two-year project, “Technical Assistance for the Development of Higher Education in Kosovo,” has ended, providing a sound basis for higher education in Kosovo to become part of the European Higher Education Area.
The project, which started in June 2000, was funded by the World Bank and managed by the Council of Europe, the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) and the European University Association (EUA). It depended on cooperation with the Department of Education, Science and Technology of the United Nations’ Mission in Kosovo.
Using the Bologna Process as the basis for its development, the Albanian-language University of Prishtina has, since 2000, started a reform of its teaching and learning process, including the implementation of the bachelor-doctorate cycles. This includes the introduction of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) across the institution. First steps in basic quality assurance procedures have also been taken, and the university has produced a draft eight-year strategic development plan.
EUA has also taken the first steps in facilitating European academic cooperation with the University of Mitrovica, 30 miles north of Kosovo. A preliminary visit to the university in December helped determine current conditions at the Serbian-language university — recently established as a result of hostility to Serbs at the University of Prishtina — and shared its plans for providing quality higher education.
The United Nations has been asserting its control over the institution as a first step to bringing it under the authority of the new Education Ministry of Kosovo. These efforts have been undermined by the refusal of Kosovo’s new multi-ethnic – but Albanian-dominated – Assembly to recognize the institution. That refusal angered the United Nations, which last fall extended provisional U.N. accreditation for the University of Mitrovica for another year.
European University Association
SERBIA and MONTENEGRO
French School Begin Courses in Serbia
The Grenoble School of Management, an EQUIS-accredited French business school, is offering a bachelor’s degree in international business in collaboration with the private and government-recognized Megatrend University in Belgrade.
Introduced in January, the course prepares students for master’s of business administration and master’s in international business programs.
More than 100 professors from the French school teach each year in one of the school’s partner institutions in Malta, Moscow, Poland and China.
Feb. 19, 2003
Hungarian University Gets Green Light
Slovak Education Minister Martin Fronc announced after a Cabinet meeting March 12 that the Hungarian-language Janos Selye University will be inaugurated in Komarno in September 2004.
The university must first receive accreditation, and Parliament must then approve the proposal.
March 13, 2003
Primorka School to Open in 2004
A late vote in Parliament postponed the opening of the University of Primorka from this fall until 2004.
With a number of different campuses, Slovenia’s third university will offer most major areas of study: liberal arts (literature and education), professional training (management, tourism, medical studies), science (natural and technical sciences), as well as graduate studies. It is expected that the university will adopt the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).
Dec. 31, 2002
550 European Internships to be Awarded
Final-year Spanish students wishing to have four months of professional training abroad can now do so under the FARO program. The project will award 550 internships in European countries and will be financed by the European Union’s Leonardo DaVinci Program and the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.
The University of Valladolid General Foundation will coordinate the project. Companies, host organizations and students may apply or make placement offers until February 2004.
Bologna Integration to Start in 2004
By 2004-05, the first Spanish degree programs compatible with the European higher education area will be up and running.
On Feb. 14, the Ministry of Education issued a report outlining the steps to be taken by universities toward European harmonization. The report integrates recommendations made by the Bologna Declaration and states that credits will be delivered on the basis of the total duration of studies rather than on the number of hours of class time. The new program calls for a reduction in the time of study, often longer in Spain than in the rest of Europe. All Spanish universities must assimilate the changes before 2010.
El Pais Universidad
Feb. 15, 2003
University Reforms Attacked
The head of Turkey’s Higher Education Council recently criticized the government’s plans to introduce reforms aimed at giving universities more autonomy.
Council Chairman Kemal Guruz said the reforms would undermine secular education, accusing the government of packing the parliamentary education committee with religious-school alumni.
Prime Minister Abdullah Gul countered by criticizing the centralized powers of the council, which can appoint and dismiss academics and drafts the shortlists from which the country’s president chooses rectors. The council has in the past five years dismissed 43 academics for supporting religious groups.
Minister of Education Erkan Mumca is committed to reforming the council and said the government is “determined to create a democratic, secular, contemporary, efficient and free university structure.”
The Times Higher Education Supplement
Jan. 10, 2003
Scots Launch Online Medical School
A Scottish-initiated venture to revolutionize the education of doctors through e-learning was launched Feb. 10 at the World eLearning Conference 2003 in Edinburgh.
The first virtual international medical school, Ivimeds, will allow students around the world to pursue a medical education through a combination of e-learning and clinical experience in local health facilities.
The school has more than 30 partners, including universities in the United Kingdom, United States, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Malaysia, China and Australia. It also has the backing of the American National Board of Medical Examiners and the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland.
Students at Hull York Medical School in England will begin pilot courses this August. The first Ivimeds students will start in August 2004.
University of Dundee news release
Feb. 10, 2003
Cambridge Follows MIT’s Lead with Electronic Archive
Cambridge University is set to become the first U.K. university to launch an electronic archive that will make its academic material freely available on the Internet.
[email protected] is being developed in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which launched a similar system in November. Six more universities will use the software, which MIT Libraries developed over the last two years with Hewlett-Packard Laboratories.
Feb. 11, 2003
Move Aims to Boost Foundation Degrees
Foundation (vocational) degrees were launched in 2000 with the aim of filling a skills gap identified by employers. Companies had reported that despite the growing demand for higher education, the demand for Higher National Diploma (HND) courses was falling.
The new two-year degree is designed to replace HNDs. In February, the awarding body Edexcel said it was converting its HND courses into foundation degrees. Universities were invited to bid to run pilot foundation degrees alongside local further education colleges and employers.
The 40 pilot courses in 21 universities in 2000 all guaranteed students that they would be able to progress to a full honors degree if they wished – taking only one year and a term of extra study. This guarantee is now being reconsidered. Margaret Hodge, Higher Education secretary, revealed to the House of Commons in February that ministers now want the foundation degree to stand in its own right as a recognized qualification.
The move to multiply two-year foundation degrees is part of the Government’s plan to increase the percentage of 18 to 30 year olds entering higher education from 43 percent to 50 percent.
When questioned whether two-year degrees would fit the Bologna requirements, Hodge replied that only the course content, not its duration, should be used to compare qualifications.
Feb. 11, 2003
Manchester Merger Official
The University of Manchester and the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) have formally merged to become the largest university in the United Kingdom.
When it opens its doors in September 2004, the new institution will have 34,000 students, 9,000 staff and a joint income of more than £420 million (US$676 million). The merger comes at a time when the government is encouraging more collaboration between universities. The new institution hopes to compete with Cambridge, Oxford and London in its research capabilities.
The only thing left to decide is a name for the institution.
March 6, 2003
New Qualification Allows Colleges to Offer Postgraduate Courses
The awarding body City and Guilds has developed new vocational qualifications that will allow further education colleges to offer postgraduate-level courses.
The master’s professional diploma (MPD) has been created as a progression from the higher professional diploma (HPD), which came into being with the newly created foundation degree. So far, six MPD programs have been accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority in the areas of learning and development, hospitality and catering and sport and recreation.
The awarding body has also been working with Leeds Metropolitan University to create a new qualifications structure that will allow the HPD to form the first year of a foundation degree. HPD students who gain a full foundation degree could then take the MPD. It would then be possible to move to a full master’s degree at a university.
The Times Higher Education Supplement
March 14, 2003