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National Higher Education Reforms in a European Context

Comparative Reflections on Poland and Norway


Edited By Marek Kwiek and Peter Maassen

This book addresses the following research questions: What are the main transformations in European higher education? How do these transformations affect the national higher education systems of Norway and Poland? How do European-level higher education policy processes affect national higher education policies in Norway and Poland, especially in the areas of funding and governance? Europe and the two countries are the units of analysis, with different authors choosing different research foci and different disciplinary approaches.


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Chapter 6: Higher Education Reforms and Their Socio-Economic Contexts: Shifting Funding Regimes and Competing Social Narratives. Marek Kwiek


Chapter 6 Higher Education Reforms and Their Socio-Economic Contexts: Shifting Funding Regimes and Competing Social Narratives Marek Kwiek Introduction From a structural perspective of funding and governance, until 2010-2011, Polish universities have remained largely unreformed in the last two decades, following the initial radical changes right after the collapse of communism in 1989: their adaptations to new postcommunist and market realities were much slower than adaptations of other public sector institutions and organizations, including other parts of the traditional welfare state: social assistance, pension schemes, healthcare provision and primary and secondary education. The latter were substantially reformed in the period from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s. In two decades (1990-2010), higher education system was steered by two new laws on higher education: the 1990 Law, introducing academic freedom and institutional autonomy (leading to the emergence of the Polish State Committee for Research in 1991, an independent grant-making agency), and the 2005 Law, adapting the system to the Bologna Process requirements. The core of the system, including its relatively non-competitive funding modes, heavily collegial governance modes, and a complicated, obsolete, multi-level system of academic degrees and academic careers, remained largely untouched until the end of the 2000s. The amendment to the 2005 Law was passed in March 2011 and it is the second stage of the recent wave of higher education reforms, the first implemented in 2010 and consisting of six new laws regulating the functioning of research. Clearly, in the wave of recent reforms and discussions preceding them (2008-2011), Polish...

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