HO nog helemaal niet echt Europees

Nieuws | de redactie
6 juni 2008 | ESU-voorzitter Koen Geven is ‘particularly harsh’ over de richting die het post-Bologna-debat is ingeslagen tijdens het recente seminar in Gent. In een commentaar wijst hij er op dat nog zo’n 95 % van de studenten geen enkele Europese ervaring opdoet gedurende de HO-studie.

‘A new story is starting for the Bologna Process, which is currently discussing its focus after 2010. The seminar in Ghent, ambitiously titled ‘Bologna 2020 – Unlocking Europe’s potential, contributing to a better world’ started this new story by taking a very different turn than expected. The main recommendations focused on fostering diversity, developing classifications of higher education institutions, attracting more funding for higher education institutions from private sources (including tuition fee arrangements) and stating that current mobility mechanisms are obsolete.

I took a particularly harsh stand at the end of the seminar, stating that these recommendations are useless towards the creation of a European Higher Education Area. ESU pleaded for a reorientation of priorities of the current Bologna Process in order to create a genuine European Higher Education Area by 2010. According to ESU, this European Higher Education Area, with mobility of students and staff as one of its main features, is far from being established. More than 95 % of students still don’t finish their degrees with a study period abroad. Even though progress has been made on many action lines, in particular with regards to reforms of education structures, we can hardly say that our higher education systems are ‘European’.

I believe that the real challenge for European higher education in the era of globalisation is to reflect on its core values and build a system that is open, focused on learners, self-confident and resistant to the forces of the market. As Pascal Lamy has announced that the WTO-GATS negotiations might re-open this month, such a system seems all the more urgent. As we see this as the true strength of the Bologna Process, ESU has spent the last years promoting, and actively contributing to it.

I hope that these new elements in the Bologna Process will soon be rephrased into a story that will genuinely benefit European students. European students are ready for changing higher education, if these changes make it more open, more flexible and create better study conditions. Maybe that doesn’t sound that new, but within politics, true innovation lies in meeting these ambitious goals.’

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