Cross-National Academic Perspectives
Chapter 11: The European Debate on the Modernisation Agendafor Universities. What Has Happened Since 2000? Georg Winckler
Chapter 11 The European Debate on the Modernisation Agenda for Universities. What Has Happened Since 2000? Georg Winckler 1. The modernisation debate In democracies, new policy directions are rarely introduced smoothly. Quite of- ten, even when there are pressing problems and new policies need to be devel- oped, no political consensus on what to do can be reached. Yet, on rare occa- sions, especially when new governments start working, the speed with which new policies can be identified and implemented is astonishing. Much depends on the right personalities proposing the right policies at the right time. The problem of modernising European universities has been a pressing one since the Second World War. Where are the right people, what are the right pol- icies and when is the right time in order to get this problem solved? What should be the role of European institutions in pushing forward the modernisation agen- da for universities? Since the emergence of knowledge societies in the 1950s, with mass higher education and with intensified research, especially in the business sector, the debate on the modernisation of universities has been gaining momentum. In many countries, the modernisation issue – is an important policy item at the na- tional – level. In this debate, it became clear that the higher education sector needs reform efforts from within the institutions as well as by governments in order to better meet the challenges of a knowledge society. However, it took un- til the beginning of the Bologna Process in 1999 and...
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