Presentation on theme: "WHY HIGHER EDUCATION AND WHY STUDENTS? ESU Convention Budapest, February 18, 2011 Sjur Bergan, Council of Europe."— Presentation transcript:
WHY HIGHER EDUCATION AND WHY STUDENTS? ESU Convention Budapest, February 18, 2011 Sjur Bergan, Council of Europe
WHY THE EUROPEAN HIGHER EDUCATION AREA? Concern about : attractiveness of European HE mobility: numbers and balance time taken to complete degrees employment Brought in later: social dimension global dimension Not explicitly mentioned: broader purposes of higher education the contribution of HE to European societies beyond ensuring employability
SOME CHALLENGES TO EUROPE Disaffection, fear of the future and of others Public and private spheres Populism the search for easy solutions blame thy neighbor Improve trust in public authorities Complex issues requiring sophisticated answers Environment Social cohesion
PARTICULAR CHALLENGES Be able to relate to multiple purposes “Multipurposes”, not just multitasking Look beyond the immediate Long term vs. short term benefits and risks Values, not just value added
EDUCATION – TOWARD A DEFINITION Education: that which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding Ambrose Bierce: The Devil’s Dictionary
ONE ANSWER: EDUCATION Fundamental to developing democratic culture as well as employment Not a “once in a lifetime experience”: lifelong learning “It’s the economy, stupid” or “Man does not live by bread alone”? Broad range of competences
STRUCTURAL REFORM - FOR WHAT PURPOSE?
WHAT ROLES FOR HIGHER EDCUATION IN MODERN SOCIETIES? Preparation for the labor market Preparation for active citizenship in democratic societies Personal development Developing and maintaining a broad, advanced knowledge base Council of Europe Recommendation Rec(2007)6 on the public responsibility for higher education and research
WHAT COMPETENCES? Subject specific and generic As societies, we need competences in a broad range of disciplines Need ability to cooperate across discipline boundaries Need ability to put our own discipline into a broader context Knowledge, understanding, ability to act – but also attitudes Subject specialists but also intellectuals
IS HIGHER EDUCATION A GUARANTEE OF CIVIC COMPETENCE? Good examples Students for civil rights Students under military regimes Students under Nazism Students under communism Bad examples Students against civil rights Students under military regimes Students under Nazism Students under communism Democracy: institutions but above all democratic culture
WHY STUDENT PARTICIPATION? Utilitarian arguments Active learning better than passive Do only employers, teachers and ministries know what students really need? Cannot learn citizenship without practicing it Students contribute a different perspective -> real added value ESU has proved its value
WHY STUDENT PARTICIAPTION? Fundamental arguments Higher education is yours, as much as or more than anybody else’s Are we serious about stakeholder participation? Our societies need critical thinking and constructive solutions Example: Belarus Customers or members of a community?
HIGHER EDUCATION GOVERNANCE Balance of competence and representation Not just numbers Not just research and teaching competence With the shift toward external stakeholder representation, the view of what kind of competence is needed is tacitly shifting
WHAT EDUCATION FOR THE FUTURE? The answer to the question “What kind of education do we need?” lies in the answer to a different question: “What kind of society do we want?” Eugenio Tironi: El sueño chileno (2005)