Comparative Reflections on Poland and Norway
Edited By Marek Kwiek and Peter Maassen
Chapter 2: Competing or Complementary?Qualification Frameworks on the Agenda. Mari Elken
Chapter 2 Competing or Complementary? Qualification Frameworks on the Agenda Mari Elken Introduction In recent policy debates, higher education has moved from being primarily a cultural institution into being an expected contributor to innovation and, further, to economic wellbeing of Europe, which is highlighted both in the Lisbon agenda and recent Europe 2020 documents. Higher education systems in Europe are increasingly facing a multi-layered environment with competing structures, creating a new dynamics between various actors, structures and interests. Increasingly, European processes are setting the agenda in national policy debates. However, the notion of a straightforward policy transfer being enforced from the supranational level to national level cannot account for the complex reality, due to the lack of clear legal capacity of European institutions to develop and enforce legislative processes concerning higher education. This means that the increasing EU-led activities nor the initiatives linked to the Bologna process have a clear legal dimension. Nevertheless, there is an increase in European involvement and expectations that by following a certain template for governing and structuring higher education, one can expect certain changes, thus implying a strong belief on the part of policymakers that proposed changes and reforms would have intended consequences. This is exemplified by the Modernization agenda of European universities presented by the Commission, first in 2005 and then recently in 2011. The Commission’s account of higher education parallels closely the values in the construction of the wider European project (Keeling 2006), the construction of a common economic market with free flow...
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