Modernisation of the European higher education community

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Back in September 2011, the European Commission published its conceptual ideas concerning the modernisation of higher education in the form of an agenda, initiating a raft of measures designed to set the modernisation process in motion.

The EU modernisation agenda not only requires appropriate funding of the higher education system, but an increase in student numbers, stronger teamwork between academia and the economy, and improvements in the quality of the higher education given.
In September 2012, a high-ranking expert group was established, headed by former Irish President Mary McAleese and which also numbers former DAAD Secretary General Dr Christian Bode among its members. On 18 June 2013, the group published its first report on the quality of teaching and provided details of a total of 16 recommendations: these include exhortations to develop and implement strategies for internationalisation at higher education establishments, to set up a European Academy of Teaching and Learning, and to better support the development of entrepreneurial spirit and innovation skills among students. As a next step, the expert group will look at how new teaching methods can be optimised to ensure a continuously high quality of higher education. Such teaching methods include Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), for example, which enable access to higher education from home.

Initiatives such as the “We mean business” campaign started by the EU Commission in 2012 or the pilot appeals for “knowledge alliances” between academia and the economy – intended to be expanded by the new EU education programme – highlight the priority given to teamwork between universities and business in EU higher education policy.

Modernisation agenda 2011: