De identiteitscrisis van de Europese universiteiten

MADRID – Het hoger onderwijs in Europa bevindt zich in een staat van diepe onzekerheid. Wat moet het primaire doel van een universiteit zijn? Onderzoek, professionele training, of sociale inclusie? Moeten regeringen meer in het hoger onderwijs investeren om economische groei te ondersteunen? Of moeten universiteiten aan hun lot overgelaten worden om te concurreren en te overleven (of niet) op een mondiale vrije onderwijs markt?

Tijdens deze discussies over hun toekomstige rol, moeten de Europese universiteiten hun individuele identiteit, hun tradities en hun sociale doel niet uit het oog verliezen. Dit zal niet makkelijk zijn. De bestuurders van universiteiten worden van boven af onder druk gezet (door Europese instituties en nationale overheden) en door hun eigen onderzoekers, docenten en studenten.

Bovendien worden de parameters van debat steeds onduidelijker. Aan de ene kant houden universiteiten zich aan sinds lang bestaande afspraken met de overheid; aan de andere hebben ze te maken met ijverige hervormers die op zoek zijn naar marktgerichte oplossingen die de nadruk leggen op de competitie tussen instituten, het aanmoedigen van personeel en studenten en studentgericht leren.

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