‘Sluit zwakke HO-instellingen’
CER stelt onder meer: “In Europe, the institutions that should be the main sources of knowledge are failing to meet the challenge. Among the world’s top ten universities, only two are in the EU. Just two out of the top ten world universities and eight out of the world’s top 50 are located in the European Union. Harvard University is number one, with the UK’s Cambridge and Oxford second and tenth respectively and with the Netherlands, Sweden and France being the only other EU members to get one school each into the top 50. The US dominates the league with 37 universities out of 50 while Japan and Canada get two each. But China and India are catching up and expected to enter the rankings in 2010.”
Europa heeft volgens CER geen tijd meer te verliezen. Een structureel gebrek aan investeringen in kennis speelt Europa hier parten, zo analyseert men, “ With the EU spending on average 1.2 percent of its GDP on higher education compared to 1.8 percent in the Nordic countries (which come in for praise) and 2.6 percent in the US. If Europe wants to stop falling behind and stem the ‘brain drain’ across the Atlantic, it must act now. It needs to devote more resources to research, improve its teaching record, build up centres of excellence, strengthen links between education and business, and give its universities more autonomy.”
Harde ingrepen zijn daarom nodig, ook omdat de beperkte middelen dun uitgesmeerd worden over instellingen. “In countries such as Italy, France and Germany, there is a kind of drab uniformity across a sector that is struggling to cope with too many students, and delivering uninspiring teaching in dilapidated buildings. Bad universities should be closed with resources spread too thinly around the EU’s 2,000 higher education establishments and that there should be more rigorous selection of students. Governments in France and Italy should stop trying to run universities, Brussels should avoid white elephants like the European Institute of Technology and the EU should harmonise curriculums and qualifications across the bloc.”
Minister van Financien Gordon Brown nam het rapport in ontvangst en gaf daarbij aan, dat hij de collegegelden nog verder wil verhogen om de investering in het HO te vergroten, ook omdat het CER aangeeft dat verhoging en introductie van collegegeld elders in Europa op de agenda komt.