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The Globalisation Challenge for European Higher Education

Convergence and Diversity, Centres and Peripheries

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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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Diversification in Austrian Higher Education: A Result of European or National Policies?

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Elsa Hackl

Abstract

The need to diversify European higher education has been a constant concern of European policy makers at the supranational and intergovernmental level. This chapter discusses the concepts of differentiation and diversification and relevant developments in European higher education. Regarding the case of Austria, it deals with the questions of whether and how policies on the European level have influenced its differentiation and diversification policies. Traditionally, in Austria higher education institutions have enjoyed the same status and their courses and degrees have been regarded as being equivalent. In the late 1980s/early 1990s this began to change and in the late 1990s/early 2000s further reforms in order to diversify higher education took place. Did policies at the European level cause or enhance the differentiation and diversification? Or was the start of differentiating and diversifying higher education in Austria and its accession to the European Union just a coincidence in time?

Key words: differentiation in higher education, diversity in higher education, Europeanisation, higher education reforms in Austria

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