Tag: EUA

Student Chronicle: Study trip to Brussels 2015 – part 1

As a part of their Master studies at University of Oslo, Hedda students made a study trip to Brussels in end of April. In this post, Kate Belova and Raymond Olufsen write about the experience and highlight some of the knowledge they gained during this study trip. 

On Tuesday April 21st, seven representatives, from the masters’ class of higher education at the university of Oslo, went to the bureaucratic capitol of Europe; the city of Brussels for a four-day visit. On the agenda was a tight program consisting of meetings with different organisations and persons working in the area of higher education within the EU. The purpose for the trip was to give the students a better insight into the field they are studying.


From left to right: Misar and Nirmal from Nepal; Beatrice and Joshua from Ghana; and Kate from Ukraine.

Our group consisted of people from Kenya, Ghana, Nepal, Norway and Ukraine. In many ways our little gang reflected the multicultural society that makes up Brussels. None of us had ever been to Belgium and we were excited to see what the city of Brussels would have in store for us.

Arrival and the first day of meetings

After settling into the apartment we rented, using Airbnb; we went out to familiarise ourselves with the neighbourhood. The apartment was located in Schaerbeek, which is one of the nineteen municipalities that make out the Brussels-Capital Region.

News: The latest Bologna Process communique adopted in Yerevan last week

bolognaLast week, on May 14-15th of 2015 the latest Bologna Process Ministerial Conference and Bologna Policy forum was held in Yerevan, Armenia. The participants of the process met at the event, amongst else to agree upon the most recent communique that sets the agenda for the coming years, and approve new members. At the meeting, Belarus was approved as a member. The approval of Belarus was anticipated, and has been linked to recent geopolitical developments, despite frequent concerns regarding academic freedom in the country.

The 2015 Yerevan conference also marked a shift in main focus. While in 2012 in Bucharest the main topics were the “F-word” (funding) and automatic recognition, there were other themes that were in focus in Yerevan has slowly shifted closer to the core of higher education enterprise – teaching and learning. The Bologna process has arguably had more focus on the structural aspects of higher education systems this far, so one can argue that this shift is a change. One could argue that this is necessary to also create new enthusiasm for the process.

The Yerevan Communique that was adopted highlights  four key priorities, where the quality and relevance of teaching and learning is now set as the “main mission of the EHEA”. In addition to quality, the other two points concern employability and inclusiveness – illustrating how the values in the process have a dual attention on social cohesion while promoting the interests of the labour market as well. While teaching and learning have been put to the forefront, structural reforms remain one of the four key objectives, where degree structure, credits system, quality assurance standards and guidelines, as well as various cooperation in mobility and joint degrees are highlighted as the “foundations of the EHEA”.

In this context, the BFUG has received a task to review and simplify its governance structures. A number of policy measures were also adopted, amongst else the revised version of ESG (European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area), the European Approach for Quality Assurance in Joint Programmes as well as the revised ECTS users guide. It should also be noted that during the conference, a call was made to have more precise instruments to measure implementation.

New EUA report: mergers on the rise in the EU

definemergersThe European University Association (EUA) has published a new report that examines merger processes in 25 higher education systems in Europe. The report is produced for the DEFINE project, in which EUA looks into excellence initiatives, mergers and performance-based funding across Europe – being also described as a “stock-taking exercise” with aims to provide recommendations for policymakers. The project is funded by the EU.

The report maps merger processes across Europe, and is based on questionnaires, focus group discussions and interviews.

What emerges is that there are different kinds of merger processes that can be identified. They distinguish between horizontal and vertical mergers – in principle whether two more or less equal partners merge, or whether smaller units become part of larger institutions. The other dimension highlighted is the comparability of the institutions in terms of their similarity, and the depth of the integration process.

Another central point is that mergers have at least been discussed in the majority of the systems that were examined, suggesting the prominence of the topic in the political agenda in Europe. In total, almost 100 merger cases were identified in the systems identified in the period 2000-2015.

One minute silence against violence

The European University Association (EUA), with support from the European Student Union (ESU) have called higher education institutions, student unions and other organisations across Europe to stand united for one minute silence on Monday 27th of April 2015  (12:00 CET) in remembrance of the 147 students killed at Garissa on 2 April 2015.

The role of education in military conflict and the attacks on educational institutions also led to the adoption of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack in 2014. Read more here.


Leslie Wilson, the secretary general of EUA commented on this: “While the events in Garissa stand out in their barbarity, we draw attention to the appalling reality that attacks continue to happen every day. Attacks on universities, their students and scholars weaken or obliterate academic freedom; have a devastating impact on research, teaching and access to education; and impair society’s long-term development. Safeguarding the freedom and safety of universities and university communities is therefore vital in ensuring the advancement of knowledge and the cultural and scientific development of humankind.

Join the ESU event here

The European Student Union has also encouraged to support Kenyan Red Cross who has provided help to the survivors and families of the victims. We would also strongly encourage you to consider this.


Job opportunity: Policy officer at EUA (research and innovation)

euaEUA has a job offer for a policy officer in the area of research and innovation. The job is linked to work on strengthening the capacity of universities in research and innovation and their representation at European policy level.

The position involves gathering informationfrom EUA membership and other relevant sources, organisation of meetings and events,building relationships with external partners and providing evidence-based support for policy development. The work relates specifically to the European research and innovation policy context (Horizon 2020, Structural Funds, European Research Area,international research cooperation) and the engagement of universities in this area.

Required qualifications:
– Relevant higher education degree (Masters or Doctorate).
– Preferably with a minimum of 3 years’ relevant professional experience
– Knowledge of research and innovation areas (preferably at European level) and familiarity with the university sector
– Knowledge and experience on information management and preparation of reports
– Demonstrated ability to relate to senior university leaders