EUA: ‘Autonomie succesfactor’

Nieuws | de redactie
1 december 2009 | ‘Autonomie is cruciaal voor het succes van Europese universiteiten in het komende decennium’, aldus EUA-president Jean-Marc Rapp. Uit onderzoek van EUA blijkt echter dat een flink percentage van de universiteiten nog te veel gebonden is aan overheidsbemoeienis en controle om te kunnen excelleren. Wat moet er veranderen?

Volgens het EUA-rapport zijn de uitdagingen en huidige obstakelsdie in vele gevallen de universitaire autonomie beperken, samen tevatten in vijf categorieën. Deze vindt u hieronder. Het gehelerapport vindt u hier.

Financial issues
This proved to be the area where the majority of nationalrectors’ conferences saw a current or future challenge. The mainissues mentioned were related to the low levels of public funding,short funding contracts which made planning difficult, line-itembudgets and a lack of independent financial capacity, such as lackof ownership of university buildings or limitations onuniversities’ employment policies. Reporting procedures were alsoperceived to be heavy and cumbersome, and, in a number of cases,irrelevant.

Student-related issues
It was, in particular, universities in countries whereaccess to studies is free which pointed out the challenge thisrepresents for planning at the university level. A lack of abilityto determine the level of tuition fees or to decide on theirintroduction was in some cases seen as a competitive disadvantagein an international higher education market.

Institutional capacity
A lack of familiarity with the consequences of increasedautonomy, new accountability tools, and a rapidly changing,competitive environment are proving problematic for someinstitutions. Reforms on governance and autonomy are usually notcomplemented by the necessary support measures and resources forstaff development and training. Overly powerful faculties or theirde facto strong representation in the relevant governing bodieswere occasionally judged to be limiting the effectiveness of topmanagement.

Relations with relevant ministry
Relations with the respective ministries responsible foruniversities were sometimes perceived as troublesome. Someministries were viewed as lacking a long-term vision for thesteering of universities. The ministries were similarlyinexperienced in using the new steering mechanisms, which led toeither a non-indented outcome (in particular with fundingmechanisms) or to a too short phase of adaptation to the newcircumstances. 

Relations with state and society
In federal or regional systems with differing operatingconditions, some universities felt unable to compete on a nationallevel. There were also concerns about the long-term commitment ofsociety to funding universities and guaranteeing their autonomyeven under conditions of an economic downturn. Universities alsomade the point that it was challenging to maintain an adequatedistance from the short-term interests of politics andbusiness.

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