A new Europe-wide survey among students shows that they want wider access to higher education and that universities should open up cooperation with the world of work and to lifelong learning.
Leren voor later
A large majority agree that it is important for higher education institutions to foster innovation and an entrepreneurial mindset among students and staff, and that there should be the possibility to undertake work placements in private enterprises as part of a study programme. More students want to study abroad and a majority want more information about the quality of higher education institutions in order to inform their study choices.
The students were asked how much they would agree with four statements about higher education institutions and the programmes they offered: relating to part-time courses, courses to meet varied social/cultural backgrounds, specialised courses and those teaching skills for “later life”. Students cited skills for “later life” as the most important focus for study: on average, nine in ten students agreed that study programmes should include generic competencies like communication skills, teamwork, and “learning to learn” (90%). Approximately half of interviewed students strongly agreed with this statement (55%), roughly a third rather agreed (35%) and 9% disagreed.
Mee doen met rankings
The survey also examined the views of students on the quality and transparency of higher education institutions. Most frequently, students strongly agreed or rather agreed that independent reports on the quality of universities and programmes would help students to decide where to study (83%); a similar proportion agreed that students choose where to study on the basis of the quality/reputation of the institution and its study programmes (83%). Overall, 81% of respondents in higher education believed that students should be involved in quality reports and rankings.
Ján Figel’, European Commissioner with responsibility for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, said “Higher education modernisation is at the heart of students’ interest; this feedback from students shows that Europe is on the right track with reforms aimed at the modernisation of Europe’s 4,000 higher education institutions.” Students from 31 European countries – all EU Member States plus Croatia, Iceland, Norway and Turkey were asked for their opinions for this Eurobarometer survey, which took place in February 2009. The findings echo equally the opinions of academic staff which were surveyed two years ago on improved possibilities for learning mobility, and on opening up universities to business cooperation and lifelong.
Nederland achterop met LLL
Opmerkelijk is dat Nederland op enkele punten ‘uit de pas loopt’ bij de kijk op de toekomst van het HO. ‘In the Netherlands 53% of respondents disagree with the statement that study and training programmes should encompass more generic competences, and 51% disagree with the statement that study programmes need to adapt more to labour market needs.’ Ook het gebrek aan inzet voor levenLangLeren in ons land is merkbaar in de uitkomsten: ‘The highest percentages of respondents that disagree that universities should open up for adult learners are found in Germany (19%), the Netherlands (18%) and Luxembourg (18%).’