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‘Rank/lings’: European Higher Education, Global League Tables and World Re-Orderings ESRC Seminar Series ‘Education and Changing Cultures of Competitivism’,

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Presentation on theme: "‘Rank/lings’: European Higher Education, Global League Tables and World Re-Orderings ESRC Seminar Series ‘Education and Changing Cultures of Competitivism’,"— Presentation transcript:

1 ‘Rank/lings’: European Higher Education, Global League Tables and World Re-Orderings ESRC Seminar Series ‘Education and Changing Cultures of Competitivism’, University of Bristol 23 rd January, 2009 Susan Robertson U of Bristol, UK


3 Phase I Inter/national Phase II External 1960’s- 1990s Deepening internal relations - ‘Europeanisation’ and regionalisation 2000s Extending outward - globalisation and inter- regionalisations ‘Within Europe’ Phases of European Higher Education ‘Regionalising’ and ‘Globalising’

4 The political economy of Europe, world order and the European Higher Education Area 1.The USA and Europe’s share of goods production has declined since the 1980s, whilst the emerging economies (China, Brazil, India) share 30% of world’s goods production. 2.The USA and Europe are net exporters of trade in services; to secure global leadership they need to control the conditions of trade in services. 3.The USA and EU have a common interest in expanding the global services (education, health, finance etc) economy. 4.The USA and EU are also rivals. As a single nation, the USA currently dominates with 14.3% of global services. However, the combined total share of the EU-25 is 46%. 5.This share of the services economy increases the potential for the EU to set global standards (knowledge, skills, recognition for labour markets) and consolidate its leadership. This is where Bologna (HE) and its ‘technologies’ for governing meet the EU’s Lisbon strategy.

5 The economic and political imperatives behind the creation of a European Higher Education Area 6. Europe’s economic imaginary can be seen in Lisbon 2000: “to become the most competitive, and dynamic knowledge- based economy in the world, with more and better jobs…..” (European Council, 2000). It was affirmed in the New Lisbon 2005 Strategy – the outcome of a shift in social forces within Europe. 7The European Commission has advanced its project of HE reform and rule, citing the rise of China and India as new economic competitors 8. This has meant a closer, though tension-ridden, alignment between the Bologna and Lisbon strategies over time 9. As a result, we can see competing ‘political’ projects in the various ‘dimensions’ and purposes of the Bologna Process.

6 Bologna Process ‘dimensions’ Bologna Process structuralsocialEuropeanexternal ‘dimension’ degree architecture public good - equity and access quality standard plus visibility of ‘Europe’ attractiveness competitiveness and model agenda setting strategy globally

7 1. Kok Report – Mid-Term Review (2004) of Lisbon 2000 gave the European Commission the legitimacy to push forward an aggressive policy that now linked Lisbon and Bologna together and elevated the global dimension. 2. Kok argued…the Lisbon strategy had failed to deliver a satisfactory economic growth performance and that Europe was falling far behind both the USA and Asia. The spectre of China and India, as threat and opportunity, now added a new level of threat to the external challenges (Kok, 2004: 12). … For Europe to compete, it needed to urgently “…develop its own area of specialisms, excellence and comparative advantage which inevitably must lie in a commitment to the knowledge economy in its widest sense… Europe has no option but to radically improve its knowledge economy and underlying economic performance if it is to respond to the challenges of Asia and the US” (Kok, 2004: 12). Europe’s Knowledge-Economy Strategy Goes Global

8 The Bologna Process/Tuning Project/EQAR is thus about.. … internal change, external readability for competitiveness, and global standard setting…..…it involves attracting/retaining the best brains for economic development, creating a higher education market to inject more capital into the sector, generating mechanisms and momentum for standard-setting using intra-and inter-regionalising projects… …a process seeking to constitute Europe as sovereign ruler, the European citizen, and Europe as centre of ‘soft’ power rule over wider territories. …it also seeks to challenge the normative power of the US Europe’s HE ‘Knowledge-Economy’ Strategy

9 1.Central Asia - Tempus Project - 11 Kyrgyz higher ed institutions linked to 2 European universities (instruments such as Tempus, Bologna + Tuning) 2. Euro-Mediterranean Partnership - Catania Agreement 2006 -working toward a Euro-Mediterranean Area (includes Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Jordan) 3. Euro-Africa - Bologna a model for regional collaboration using colonial ties; - Afrique francophone (Conference held in Senegal, 2005; Morocco, 2006; Congo, 2007) - African Lusophone - (Angola) 4. Mahgred region - Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria (Middle East and North Africa) 5. Lusophone Higher Education Area (ELES) 6. EU-LAC Common Area - EU-Latin American and Caribbean - includes Tuning Latino Americana (181 LAC universities involved so far) as well as mobility and scholarship instruments (e.g. Erasmus Mundus, Apha) 7. Asia-Link/ASEAN Initiatives (2006-) - China and other Asian economies - workshops on Bologna, deploying mobility and scholarship instruments The external dimension - using existing inter-regionalism and instruments to ‘diffuse’ higher education norms

10 Lisbon European Research Area Bologna EHEA Mobility of academics, students and labour ‘Quality’ and Attractiveness of EHEA Mechanism of Cooperation, Learning Model for Norm Setting Minds for Knowledge Economy Markets for Service Economy globalising through ‘regions’ state building strategy EUROPE: A GLOBAL BRAND?

11 Global rankings: EU rank/lings Shanghai Jiao Tong – (began in 2003) to rank the distance between China’s universities in relation to the perceived world class universities. Has data on 510 institutions; awards a total score to the top 101 universities with a ranking from 1 downward; uses Nobel Prize winners and other medals (current and alumni); number of highly cited papers mostly in hard sciences (only 2 of the 21 disciplines belong to social science); favours the US; does not distinguish size of institution. Times Higher Education Supplement-QS World University Rankings - (began in 2004) uses peer review, employer review, citations per capita; student teaching ratios; international orientation; UK does relatively well on this - other ‘European’ universities do not. Both are struggling for global position; they are also shaping immigration policy (Netherlands uses THES and SJT) to recruit skilled labour; access to finance (S&P uses rankings to rate institution’s creditworthiness; recruitment of students and staff; philanthropy.

12 Challenging hegemony: diverse projects Berlin Principles – developed in ‘major ranking interests’ in 2004 by Institute for HE Policy in Washington and UNESCO-CEPES Bucharest – outlines basis of good practice in the emerging ‘niche’ industry Centre for Higher Education (CHE) Germany (since 2005 published rankings with Die Zeit) – subject-based interactive rankings that produce high, medium and low bands Lisbon Council (Brussels) – think-tank established in 2004; created a University Systems Ranking (inclusiveness, access, effectiveness, age range, responsiveness) Leiden University – Leiden Ranking based on own bibliometric indicators (web of science) and related to size of institution CHEPS – Netherlands- European classification of higher education institutions (2005-)


14 Challenging US ‘knowledge production’ hegemony: concluding remarks 1.Challenging existing global league tables represents an attempt to further extend EU normative leadership 2.Further develops a higher education industry with ‘regional’ interests and recurring returns as different ‘packagings’ for particular interests are identified, made visible, and sold. 3.A ‘Multidimensional European Ranking System’ (MDERS) would be brokered globally along with Tuning, Bologna and the EQF – using old colonial footprints and new incursions into Central Asia/SE Asia 4.A ‘MDERS’ would act as a form of strategic selectivity, advancing a reordering, whilst at the same time further embedding the EHEA project within the region and into national state spaces 5. A ‘MDERS’ to act as a tool of European governance 6.New tensions between competitiveness and equity, excellence and egalitarianism, the role of the ‘cultural’ in HE. 7.However has very little sense of China and an emerging power, aside from as a market.

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