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The Globalisation Challenge for European Higher Education

Convergence and Diversity, Centres and Peripheries


The last decade has marked European higher education with particular dynamics. Today, after a decade of «connected» policy, national systems look much more convergent but new questions and dilemmas are emerging: about the nature and quality of higher education, about the real impact of recent reforms in different countries, and about higher education's future. The book examines the impact of Europe-wide and global developments on national higher education systems. The authors try in particular to place upfront issues of convergence and diversity, of equity and of the relationship between centres and peripheries in higher education. The book is an outcome of research collaboration between six institutes which developed a EuroHESC research proposal on the consequences of expanded and differentiated higher education systems.
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Imagining Higher Education in the European Knowledge Economy: Discourse and Ideas in Communications of the EU


Janja Komljenovič and Klemen Miklavič


The paper focuses on the role of EU institutions in European higher education. Following the outset of the EU Lisbon Strategy (2000), the EU Commission positioned itself as an influential venue for generating, coordinating and communicating discourse on higher education (within the Bologna Process and beyond). Gradually, the scattered ideas converged into a relatively detailed set of policy proposals on the systemic and institutional reforms needed to engage higher education in the regional economic project. The ideas evolved within the imagined knowledge economy. The dominance of this political rationale has resulted in the steady advance of the Europeanisation of higher education, including the incremental tendency to transfer national competencies to supranational arenas – so far limited to soft instruments such as recommendations, guidelines, reporting and common actions.

Key words: higher education, EU policy, EU institutions, knowledge economy, ideas, discourses, Europeanisation, university

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