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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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The Impact of University Rankings on Higher Education Policy in Europe: A Challenge to Perceived Wisdom and a Stimulus for Change


Ellen Hazelkorn and Martin Ryan


The arrival of global rankings in 2003 was a clarion call for the urgent reform of European higher education. The results of the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities and the Times Higher Education QS World University Ranking, first published in 2003 and 2004, respectively, challenged the perceived wisdom about the reputation and excellence of European universities. Since then, the EU and its member states have sought to reshape and modernise higher education in Europe. This paper argues that the emergence of global rankings was not only a challenge to perceived wisdom, but also a stimulus for change in European higher education policy. While it is too soon to evaluate whether new policies have made a direct impact on the performance of European countries in global rankings, it is now time for debate on the apparent influence of global rankings on higher education policy in Europe.

Key words: global rankings, European policy, higher education in France, higher education in Germany, higher education in the UK

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