Tag: European Union

Consultation of EUs new modernisation agenda for higher education

Flag_of_Europe.svgIn the end of 2015, the European Union announced a new consultation in their plans for a new modernisation agenda.

The consultation is carried out in the form an online questionnaire and focuses on the following aspects:

  1. the current strengths and weaknesses of higher education in the EU
  2. the priority areas where those in charge of higher education should focus their attention and
  3. how you think the EU should support efforts to improve higher education.

The target audience is wide, including students, higher education institution staff and researchers, social partner organisations representing employers and workers, governmental bodies, relevant associations, and umbrella organisations. Read more here.

The consultation will be open until 29th of February and summaries of the views received can be expected about a month after that.

News: Education and training monitor 2014

ed2014The European Commision has issued the third “Education and Training Monitor” that examines the development of education and training systems across the EU. Its purpose is to follow up on the Europe 2020 targets for education and training. The two headline targets include: reducing early school leavers under 10% and increasing tertiary attainment to at least 40%. The monitoring exercise follows more indicators that are considered important to reach these targets and understand the context.

Regarding higher education attainment, it appears that participation rates in average in Europe are increasing. In 2010, average tertiary education attainment was at 33,6%, and this has now increased to 36,9% – not far off the 40% target. However, looking at the map of Europe, there are also great disparities in this area, and Italy and Romania have attainment levels at 22,4% and 22,8% respectively, a sharp contrast from Ireland, where tertiary education attainment is at 52%, and additionally UK, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania and Luxembourg where tertiary education attainment is over 45%.

Regarding employability, the target is that by 2020, the share of those who have graduated from upper secondary or tertiary education should be at least 82%. This number has however been steadily decreasing, from 77,4% in 2010 to 75,5% in 2013. Countries like Germany, the Nerthelands and Luxembour show employment rates of over 85% for their graduates. At the same time, and rather unsurprisingly countries in the South of Europe who have been hit hard by the economic crisis show employment rates that are under 60%, where employment rate in Greece is just 40%.

Erasmus impact study – key results published today!

EUThe Erasmus Impact study was conducted by the Erasmus Student Network (ESN), CHE Consult (DE), Brussels Education Services (BE) and the Compostela Group of Universities (ES).

The study was lauched in spring of 2013 and covered current, former, mobile and non-mobile students across Europe through a quantitative and qualitative analysis. The study had two core aims. The first aim was to identify the effects of Erasmus mobility programme on skills enhancement, employability and institutional development of the individual students. The other main focus was on examining the impact of Erasmus staff/teaching mobility.

In the quantitative student surveys, over 50 000 students participated, in addition to more than 18 000 alumni and almost 5000 staff members from higher education institutions, as well as employer representatives and institutional responses. In total, there was almost 79 000 responses analysed. 

The key results from the study were published today. Five key findings are highlighted – related to the rationales to undertake Erasmus mobility, its relationship to employability, influence on future career, personal relationships and the benefits to staff and higher education institutions.

Perhaps unexpected, 90% of mobile students highlight the importance of having experience with living abroad as a rationale for Erasmus, along with language improvement and benefits to employability. Furthermore, the results highlight the inclusiveness of Erasmus, as very few of non-mobile students report barriers due to selection.

News: European Tertiary Education Register database published

eterYesterday, 2nd of July,  it was announced that the new European Tertiary Education Register (ETER) database is now published and accessible for users. The database represents a “new transparency approach to higher education“, according to the press release by the European Commission.

In the press release, Androulla Vassiliiou, the Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth commented on the potential of new register: “It will increase transparency in higher education and help develop a wider range of analysis and information, improve links between education and research, and support the diversity of higher education in Europe.“.

The ETER database provides detailed information on 2250 higher education institutions in Europe, including such information as:

  • Institutional descriptions, e.g. the name of the institution and founding year.
  • Geographical description such as region, city of the main seat and postcode.
  • Numbers of students and graduates at diploma, bachelor, master, doctoral level, gender, fields of education, nationality and mobility.
  • HEI expenditure and revenue.
  • Number of academic and non-academic staff, number of professors.
  • Research activities (PhD students, R&D expenditure)

News: U-Multirank launched yesterday

umultirankYesterday, 13th of May,U-Multirank finally reached its launch date and the data was presented to the public. The project has been funded with the European Union and has cost about 2 million euros. In this first edition, the ranking includes 850 institutions that can be compared in a multidimensional manner. The key argument has been to provide a system where institutional scores are not aggregated to one single score, but provide a means for users to rank institutions according to selected criteria.

In the press release, Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth commented on the launch: “I welcome the launch of this exciting new development in higher education. U-Multirank will enable students to make more informed decisions about where to study and give us a more accurate picture of how universities perform. We are proud of our world-class higher education, but we need many kinds of universities, catering for a wide range of needs; that means strong technical and regional universities just as much as outstanding research universities. U-Multirank highlights many excellent performers that do not show up in current, research-focused, global rankings – including more than 300 universities that have never appeared in any world ranking until now.

The core idea of U-Multirank is their focus on five key areas: research performance, teaching and learning quality, international orientation, knowledge transfer and regional involvement. Furthermore, the results can be viewed according to academic fields, the 2014 edition includes business studies, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and physics. In 2015, psychology, computer science and medicine will be added to the list.

The press release highlighted that 95% of institutions receive an A score on at least one measures, showing that almost all institutions who participate have certain strengths in their institutional profile and that these strenghts can vary. At the same time, only 12% of the institutions receive more than 10 top scores, indicating also some vertical differentiation of institutions. Furthermore, the press release indicated that the participants come primarily from Europe: 62% are from Europe, 17% from North America, 14% from Asia and 7% from Oceania, Latin America and Africa.