Convergence and Diversity, Centres and Peripheries
The Effects of Europeanisation on Institutional Diversification in the Western Balkans
A lack of diversity among higher education institutions is coming to be seen as one of the key weaknesses of European higher education. The European Commission [EC] suggests that a low degree of diversification – implying uniformity and egalitarianism among HE institutions – is an obstacle, indeed “a bottleneck”, to achieving excellence and efficiency at the system level. The key question investigated in this article is to what extent national policy developments reflect the European recommendations on institutional diversification. In other words, to what extent can we speak about Europeanisation in the sense of policy adaptation and institutional change towards institutional diversity? This question is explored in the context of four Western Balkan countries: Albania, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia. The article first reviews the European positions and recommendations on institutional diversity focusing on those formulated by the EC. The second section is devoted to an analysis of the key strategic and regulatory documents concerning institutional diversity within the last decade in these four Western Balkan countries. This section highlights the key dimensions of institutional diversity pursued by the respective governments, and how they are pursued. The article closes with a discussion of the key drivers for diversification within the national contexts, and how these play out with the impulses coming from the European context.
Key words: institutional diversity, institutional diversification, Europeanisation, diffusion, Western Balkans, higher education reforms
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