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Trends and issues in learning structures

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Trends and issues in learning structures

TRENDS AND ISSUES IN LEARNING STRUCTURES IN HIGHER EDUCATION IN EUROPE:

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    This document is meant as a contribution to the follow up work to the Sorbonne Declaration of May 1998 which called for the harmonisation of the architecture of higher education qualification systems in Europe. Its main purposes are to map areas of convergence between these systems in Europe (mainly EU/EEA), to identify trends affecting them and to indicate ways towards greater convergence in the future.

The survey of existing structures shows the extreme complexity and diversity of curricular and

    degree structures in European countries. The Sorbonne Declaration recommended that studies should be organised in an undergraduate and a graduate cycle, but did not provide an indication of their duration. The debate that followed focussed on the alleged existence (or emergence) of a European “model” with 3 main levels of qualifications requiring 3, 5 or 8 years of study.

     No significant convergence towards a 3-5-8 model was found. Whether traditional or newly

    introduced, bachelor-type degrees require 3 to 4 years, and many European countries without bachelors have first degrees in 4 years; there is however a high degree of convergence towards a duration of about 5 years for master-level studies; but there is no 8-year standard duration for doctoral degrees. In addition, whereas the UK, the US and most countries in the world - except in continental Europe - apply two-tier (undergraduate-postgraduate) systems, the length of studies and the degree structures vary considerably within and between these countries, and duration tends to be expressed in academic credits rather than in years.

Several important trends affecting the structure of degrees/qualifications in Europe could be

    identified. There is a strong and growing governmental push towards shorter studies, first aimed

    at reducing the real duration of studies to their official length (which is typically exceeded by 2 to 4 years in many countries), and more recently through the introduction of first degrees in countries with traditionally long curricula without an intermediate exit point. Recent reforms in Germany and Austria have introduced new bachelors/masters curricula on a voluntary basis

    alongside traditional diplomas, whereas in Italy and France existing curricula are being re-arranged in a first and postgraduate cycle. Elements of two-tier systems exist in many other

    European countries, and it seems that currently only a few countries in the EU/EEA do not have, or are not experimenting with two-tier curricula in at least part of their higher education system.

    In countries with a binary system, the line of divide between the university and non-university sectors (and their degree structure) is become increasingly blurred. Most countries have adopted, or are adopting various types of systems for the transfer, and to a lesser extent also the accumulation of academic credits; most are compatible with the ECTS system, which is gaining ground at many institutions. There is a marked trend towards more autonomy of universities, coupled with new initiatives for quality control and evaluation in many countries.

In recent years, European higher education has been faced with mounting challenges from abroad.

    Transnational education delivered in English by foreign/overseas providers through branch campuses, franchising, or by electronic means has grown rapidly in many European countries; a

    whole new sector of higher education is emerging alongside traditional, national, state-regulated systems, but until now it has been largely ignored by governments as well as universities in Europe.

Four main avenues of combined action which may foster the desired convergence and

    transparency in qualification structures in Europe are being suggested.

* The gradual adoption of an ECTS-compatible credit accumulation system. This would enhance

    the flexibility of national/institutional systems (in particular in view of the development of lifelong learning), bring them more in line with each other and with world systems, and ease mobility both within and from outside the EU/EEA area.

* The adoption of a common, but flexible frame of reference for qualifications. A rigid, uniform

    model (like the 3-5-8 model) is neither desirable nor feasible in Europe. In line with the analysis of existing systems and reforms in progress, the following broad frame could serve as a common reference, while at the same time allowing for flexibility and differences in countries and subjects (length of studies are expressed not in years, but as the number of academic credits that must be

    successfully completed (one academic year corresponds to 60 ECTS credits):

    - sub-degree level (certificate, diploma): 1 to 2 years worth of ECTS credits; - first degree level (bachelor, honours, other first degree): no less than 3, no more than 4 years

    worth of ECTS credits;

    - master level: about 5 years worth of ECTS credits, of which at least 12 months worth of

    master-level credits;

    - doctoral level: variable (about 7 or 8 years in total).

The main conditions for meaningful first degrees of the bachelor/honours type are being set out.

    Key factors are the introduction of new curricula (instead of a sheer re-packaging of existing ones), a guaranteed level (gauged on the basis of knowledge and competencies acquired rather than time spent), real possibilities on the market labour, a clear separation from postgraduate studies, and formal accreditation. Short master programmes (12 months) present specific

    opportunities for intra-European mobility and international competitiveness.

* An enhanced European dimension in quality assurance, evaluation and accreditation:

    - compatible quality assurance systems, especially regarding the setting of threshold standards

    based on learning acquired (outputs) rather than on time spent and curriculum content (inputs); - independent evaluation leading to European quality labels in broad subject areas; the current

    vacuum for independent evaluation in Europe would best be filled through agencies independent from national and European authorities, and working along subject lines; they could draw on existing and future European-wide subject-based networks;

    - a coordinated approach to quality standards for transnational education, which raises the

    question of the recognition of foreign private providers.

     * Empowering Europeans to use the new learning opportunities. Compatible credit systems,

    understandable degree structures, increased quality assurance and an more European labour market are structural improvements which would create a whole new range of learning

    opportunities for all; their impact would be even greater if they were combined with measures such as short master degrees favouring new types of mobility, the further strengthening of the

    NARIC/ENIC network, counselling with a European dimension, and the elimination of remaining obstacles to student and teacher mobility.

    The combined impact of the suggested action lines would also make European higher education more understandable and attractive to students, scholars and employers from other continents; they would enhance European competitiveness and thus help to consolidate (or in the eyes of

    many, to re-establish) its role and influence in the world.

Guy HAUG

     TRENDS AND ISSUES IN LEARNING STRUCTURES

    IN HIGHER EDUCATION IN EUROPE

    (Final version - revised after the Bologna meeting of 18-19 June 1999)

    Guy HAUG

    The main purpose of this paper is to provide information and observations on the current structure, recent trends and possible avenues for change in the architecture of higher education systems in

    Europe. It should be seen both as a follow up document to the Sorbonne Declaration of May 1998 and as an input to the Bologna meeting of ministers/governments and higher education representatives on 18-19 June 1999.

    A survey and discussion of the architecture of higher education systems covers by definition all the various types of higher education, even though some of the topics may be more specifically relevant for the sub-system of university education. While the focus is on member countries of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) the overall perspective within which trends and issues emerge in higher education is in many respects that of Europe as a whole.

    Given the scope and complexity of the spectrum of issues to be covered, this report will not deal with the following items, even though they are an important and integral part of the overall architecture of higher education in Europe:

    - European directives setting out specific rules for the preparation of, and access to certain regulated professions;

    - structure of the curricula leading to these professions in the European Union.

Within the framework as set out above, this paper will try

    - to map main areas of convergence and divergence in the structure of the various systems and

    sub-systems of higher education in Europe,

    - to identify significant trends in Europe and the global environment which may have an effect on these structures,

    - and to indicate possible ways towards greater convergence and effectiveness in the future.

I. HIGHER EDUCATION STRUCTURES: HOW CONVERGENT ARE THEY ?

     * Even more systems than countries in Europe

    One of the key conclusions coming out of the survey carried out by Jette Kirstein (cf Part II of this document: Information on Learning Structures in Higher Education in the EU/EEA Countries) as well as of other sources is that the overall picture of studies, curricula and degrees is indeed extremely complex and varied, as a consequence of major differences in such key factors as: - type, breadth and duration of secondary education, with obvious consequences concerning age and preparation for further studies;

    - the existence or not of sub-systems of higher education, their respective role and size and the relationship between them, in particular possibilities to transfer from one to the other; - access to higher education (from open choice to various forms of selection and numerus clausus

    in all or some sectors);

    - study fees (from gratuity to differential or generalised systems of tuition fee); - organisation of studies in terms of calendar (from annual courses to block modules), choice (varying from set curricula to nearly free choice), frequency and type of examinations (continuous examinations, final exams per credit, or only block examination after several semesters of study);

    - and of course, the structure, duration, number and type of degrees that can be earned.

    A major conclusion is that comparisons between degrees and degree structure made within such an environment can only be meaningful within certain limits. They become irrelevant if the various factors shaping their existence in a given national system are ignored. In the pages that follow, many comparisons will nonetheless be made, always with this fundamental remark in mind, even though it will not be repeated.

    Whether officially unitary or binary, the architecture of national systems can be extremely complex. Within a single country there can be up to 100 different academic qualifications and as many different curricula linked by a variety of “bridges”. It is important to point out in this

    respect that a potential European framework of qualifications cannot be less complicated than the most complicated of the national systems included in it.

* No convergence towards a strict “3-5-8” model

    The Sorbonne Declaration recommends that studies should be organised in an undergraduate cycle leading to a first qualification and a graduate cycle leading to a master or doctoral degree, but it does not provide an indication on the duration of these cycles. An extensive debate has nonetheless taken place about this issue, based on the assertion in the Attali report to the French government about the existence (or emergence) of a (single) European model of higher education based on a sequence of studies and degrees of 3-5-8 years. A model strictly following this pattern does not exist.

There is little convergence towards a first degree after 3 years.

    No one country in Europe has an across-the-board system of 3-year first degrees in all sectors of higher education or all disciplines.

    In the UK, while most bachelor degrees indeed take 3 years to complete, there are many which take longer (typically 4 years), especially (but not only) courses involving a period of work-based learning (sandwich model) or integrated study abroad (e.g. in modern languages). Nearly all degrees can be classified as “honours” or “ordinary” degrees; the difference is neither in duration nor usually in a significantly different profile of the curriculum; honours degrees include a thesis and can only be achieved with certain grades (as opposed to a simple pass/fail system). In some fields such as engineering, there are 4-year curricula leading to a first (undergraduate) degree called a master (M.Eng). In Scotland, the first degree normally takes 4 years to complete and is usually called a bachelor degree (but in some cases, a master degree).

    In Denmark and Finland where they were introduced in 1988 and 1994 respectively, bachelor courses last 3 years but do not exist in all fields. In other countries with bachelor degrees, their duration also varies between 3 and 4 years, e.g. in Ireland, Malta, Iceland, as well as in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

    Where bachelor studies are based on a credit system, students may influence the duration of their studies and finish in slightly less time than the normal duration of the curriculum, or extend their

    studies part-time over a much longer period. The actual length of the programme is then best expressed not in years or semesters, but in the number of credits that need to be acquired. With the development of part-time studies and lifelong learning, this is bound to become more prominent in the debate about the structure of qualifications at national and European level.

    As can be seen from the tables prepared by Jette Kirstein there are numerous study programmes, both at universities and at other institutions of higher education, leading to a first degree after 4 years. This is also the case in many countries not included in the tables, e.g. in Romania and Bulgaria and for most Licences in Switzerland.

    A very obvious phenomenon is that the duration of first degree studies (whether leading to a bachelor or not) varies significantly in many countries depending on the discipline (not mentioning medical studies which take longer everywhere), e.g. in Sweden, the Netherlands or Germany. Engineering, law or teacher training studies tend to be different from other disciplines. Even in systems where bachelor degrees have been introduced in other topics, certain curricula in engineering and technology lead straight to a master degree (e.g. in Denmark, Finland, UK).

    Moreover, it should be remembered that in most countries (e.g. Austria, Denmark, Germany, Italy, France, Greece and several others) there are huge differences between the official and the real duration of studies, with many students taking up to 7 years to complete a 4 or 5-year curriculum; comparisons based on the official duration of degrees and a possible alignment of systems on this basis would be meaningless if they were not combined with measures aimed at reducing the real duration to the theoretical duration of studies.

A final but very important observation about the first step in the 3-5-8 “model” is that it fails to

    pay attention to the large number of higher education students enrolled in short, sub-degrees studies of 1 or 2 years at various types of institutions, e.g. IUTs at French universities, Tecnico Superior in Spain or HND courses at British Colleges of Further Education. The relationship between these studies and bachelor courses should be seen as an integral part of the overall structure of higher education, especially in the perspective of the growing role for higher education in lifelong learning.

There is a high degree of convergence towards master degrees after about 5 years

    Even bearing in mind the above observations on the limited value of the duration of studies as a basis for comparison, there is a high level of convergence in Europe towards a total duration of about 5 years for master level degrees; most countries and most disciplines would find it relatively easy to compare their degrees at this level, even though it may correspond either to long curricula with no intermediate point of exit, or to a sequence organised in different ways: 4 years + 1, or 3 + 2, or sometimes 2 + 3 (at French Grandes Ecoles).

    With national systems converging towards master degrees after (approximately) 5 years of study, the adoption of a common frame of reference for qualifications should be relatively easier, including at the levels below and above that of the master.

    It is also interesting to point out that in countries where long one-tier curricula are traditional (e.g. Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and until recently also Sweden and Finland), governments seem to be determined to reduce the real duration of studies close to their official duration of usually about 5 years; if successful, this would of course contribute to even greater convergence between national systems after about 5 years in higher education.

    There are of course exceptions to the average 5-year duration of studies until the master level, some of them very specific (e.g. graduates of Oxford or Cambridge are awarded a master degree after a set period of time, without any additional study or examination) and others of a more general nature: the French Maîtrise can be completed in 4 years (the view is often held that on the labour market the first “real” qualification in France is the Maîtrise, not the Licence) and,

    depending on their choices, British students can possibly add a one-year master programme to a 3-year bachelor course.

    Where master programmes are separated from undergraduate studies, their length varies from one to two years. In the UK many taught master programmes last about 12 months, while more research-based ones tend to be longer; yet, there is no direct link between the nature of the programme (taught, research, or often a combination of both) and its duration. Many other countries have longer, 2-year programmes, both for “professional” and “research” master degrees.

There is no 8-year standard duration for doctoral studies

    The comparison and recognition of doctoral studies and titles are not a problem area, at least not from the academic point of view. But there is no evidence that a Doctorate or Ph.D. normally takes 8 years: this is an area of high volatility, with actual duration varying more according to discipline than to national degree systems. A small number of countries have intermediate doctoral titles (with potentially misleading names such as Lisenciaatti in Finland or M.Phil in the

    UK) or have especially in Central and Eastern Europe - a “higher doctorate” (or a

    habilitation”) as the highest degree for an academic career.

    There is, therefore, not much ground to conclude that European higher education systems are converging towards 3 main levels of qualifications earned after 3, 5 and 8 years of study. However, are there any external reasons for a move in this direction ?

* Is there an “Anglo-Saxon” or US model ?

    Among the fears heard in the debate about the value of a 3-5-8 model was the possibility that Europe might just import a foreign, “Anglo-Saxon” (and mainly American) model.

    What the British and the US system, as well as those of the numerous countries which took inspiration from them (in the Commonwealth, Latin America and Asia and more recently in former communist countries) all share in common is a basic structure differentiating undergraduate and (post)graduate studies. Their definition, organisation, content, respective role and size may be very different according to country and subject; the line of divide between them may be blurred and their articulation may be shifting. But the broad distinction between an undergraduate and a (post)graduate level is so widespread around the world that not also having it would make continental Europe an ever more isolated island of relative incompatibility. The Sorbonne Declaration was more than justified to promote a move in this direction.

    Yet, a single “model” for the length and structure of courses and degrees does not exist and there is no established or generalised international standard. The growing diversity of British bachelor degrees and master courses has already been mentioned. What may be less well known is that the US system, which is highly structured by institutions and accreditation bodies, at the same time features a great variety of curricula, length of studies and types of degrees.

    A first important comment is that while years and semesters are used to set the academic calendar and schedules, the basic academic units are credits. All courses are credit-rated, and students can

accelerate their studies in several ways (“advanced placement” while they are still in secondary

    education, extra courses per semester, summer studies). Contrary to Europe, tuition fees are based on the number of credits taken and are not calculated on a semester or annual basis.

Over one third of all US students do not study at universities but at “community colleges” which

    offer a variety of short vocational courses and 2-year programmes leading to an “associate

    degree” in Arts, Science or Applied Science. Holders of an “associate degree” may apply for admission to further studies at universities, usually on the basis of a convention between their college and a local university in the same state. Community colleges are an essential part of the US higher education system, and omitting them in transatlantic comparisons can lead to gross misrepresentations.

    There is a great variety of bachelor degrees in the US. Most are much less “professionalised” than their European counterparts and some of the most prestigious ones are those completed at independent liberal arts (or undergraduate) colleges which offer a 4-year general education curriculum in humanities and sciences. Degree holders can nonetheless enter the labour market (given different recruitment habits and currently better employment opportunities than in many European countries). Some prestigious universities may restrict admission to their postgraduate schools from their own bachelors and recruit mainly from independent colleges and other universities. Professional studies in e.g. Law or Medicine start only after the bachelor level and lead to specific degrees such as M.D. or J.D. (which are not research doctorates despite their names). Master programmes usually take 2 years to complete, and in some areas (e.g. management) the most prestigious ones are only accessible after an extended period of successful professional experience.

    In addition to allowing for diversity, the US system is also changing. The problems inherent in the very flexible, “boneless” or “cafeteria” model have been recognised and most universities

    now offer more structured degrees based on a series of core courses and a more restricted choice of electives; comprehensive essays or examinations have been re-introduced in many curricula. The value of broadly-based, long curricula is being acknowledged in areas such as engineering, where leading universities have designed “co-terminal” programmes; these are for outstanding

    students and lead after 5 years to the simultaneous award of a master and bachelor degree. Another major difference to (continental) Europe is that professional titles, such as architect or engineer, are completely separate from academic studies; they are usually conferred on graduates in relevant areas by professional bodies, and only after a period of 3 to 5 years in professional life and the completion of additional requirements.

    The main conclusion of these observations is that the US system has its own structure, logic, history and also its own weaknesses and difficulties. It exercises an influence on other systems in the world, including Europe, and is also influenced by features in the European system. Attempts to replicate parts of the US (or any other) system in Europe in isolation from its underlying educational and broader social infrastructure would be doomed. Europe needs to develop its own system(s) to suit its own needs - but of course not in isolation from world developments as was

    pointed out above.

II. MAIN TRENDS AFFECTING THE ARCHITECTURE OF QUALIFICATIONS

* Governmental push towards shorter studies

    A major trend that can be noticed in many countries is a governmental push towards the reduction of the real duration of studies. Denmark and Austria seem to disagree about who has the “slowest” students on earth, graduating after some 7-8 years from courses that last officially only

    4 or 5 years. A similar problem has long been reported from Germany, Italy (only one third of those registering for the Laurea complete it, of which only 11 % graduate in time), the

    Netherlands and France (only about one third of students completing a Maîtrise do so in just the

    planned 4 years).

Possible explanations suggested for this drift include:

    - encyclopedic programmes;

    - graduate unemployment;

    - free education often combined with low motivation resulting from default choices for studies without any selection process at the entry;

    - part time work (an argument not very convincing in itself, in the light of comparisons with the UK, the US or Ireland where most students finish on time).

Amongst the negative consequences of this phenomenon are :

    - high drop-out rates, especially in the first years, as shown in surveys carried out by the OECD; - late entry on the labour market (at the age of 28 or even 30 years), which is increasingly seen as a competitive disadvantage in the labour market, when graduates from other systems start their career at the age of 22 or 23, when obsolescence of knowledge is quicker than ever and when employers see time management as an indicator of future performance;

    - lack of attractiveness for foreign students;

    - unnecessarily high costs for students/families and public resources;

    - undemocratic aspect of systems where the sheer length of studies may discourage in particular students from less favoured social backgrounds and constitutes a formidable obstacle for lifelong learners;

    - additional difficulties to attract students to such areas as science and technology, where enrolments fell in many countries, resulting in foreseeable skill shortages in key economic sectors.

    Governments in many countries have tackled this issue for more than a decade, but with increased determination in recent years. Their first efforts seem to have gone into bringing actual duration more in line with official duration, mainly through financial measures such as the limitation of the duration of grants (e.g. Germany, Netherlands, Denmark), their transformation into loans if the normal duration is exceeded by more than one year (Netherlands, Denmark), the exclusion of “late” students from the count on which state grants to institutions are based (Finland) or

    differential tuition fees for undergraduate and postgraduate studies (Ireland, or UK in a different way).

    The attention paid by many governments in Europe to the development of a strong, competitive but shorter non-university sector, as well as the increasing shift of student enrolments towards this type of higher education, also point in the direction of shorter studies.

    More recently, governments have articulated plans to reduce the theoretical duration of studies, and the attractiveness of models featuring shorter first qualifications followed by postgraduate studies for a smaller number of students has grown. The move towards bachelor and master degrees in countries where they are not traditional can also be explained in these terms.

* A growing wave of new bachelor/master courses

    Even though the phenomenon is far from generalised, there is currently an accelerating move in favour of the introduction of bachelor degrees in systems that hitherto had mainly, or only, long curricula with no exit point before the master level.

    In addition to the UK and Ireland where they are traditional, two countries introduced bachelor degrees in most subject areas a few years ago: Denmark in 1988, and Finland in stages after 1994. Both countries report that the reform was not really successful, with the vast majority of students continuing for the master degree and employers showing little interest in holders of a bachelor degree. In Denmark it was however observed that the reform led to a redistribution of students after the bachelor, according to the areas of specialisation offered by universities other than their own.

    In Germany an amendment to the federal law on higher education in 1998 allowed universities and Fachhochschulen to set up new bachelor and master degrees. Bachelor courses may last from 6 to 8 semesters, and master courses from 2 to 4 semesters; when offered as consecutive steps in a long curriculum their aggregate duration cannot exceed a total of 10 semesters. New courses may replace traditional ones or run in parallel, but no additional public money is provided. Institutions are expected to arrange for students to finish on time. The law also provides for the introduction of a credit accumulation and transfer system. The system will be evaluated after 5 years.

    A survey of the approximately 80 bachelor and master courses that were started in the autumn of 1998 shows that :

    - most courses are in science and technology (while none in law and hardly any in humanities or social science, except management);

    - most use English only or in various combinations with German;

    - few explicitly refer to ECTS credits;

    - whether offered as separate programmes or as consecutive steps of a long programme, most bachelors are in 6, and most masters in 4 semesters, with various possibilities to earn a German Diplom on top of the bachelor or master degree, often after an additional period of study; - there is one rather non typical programme leading in 8 semesters to a Fachhochschule degree

    and simultaneously an American MBA.

    The profiling of these new courses, the relationship they establish between traditional German Diplom or Magister and bachelor and master degrees, the response from students enrolled in new and traditional programmes, and the attitude of employers should soon provide very interesting information on the future of two-tier courses in Germany.

    Austria just adopted an amendment to the law on higher education along similar lines as in Germany: introduction of bachelor courses on a voluntary basis in replacement of existing curricula, credit system, bachelors in 3-4 years, but masters in 1 year except at universities of Arts, no extra funding.

    In Italy, the major reform currently in progress explicitly wants to bring the whole architecture of the Italian system in line with the emerging European higher education space. It plans a resolute move away from the traditional single degree and includes the following measures: - across-the-board introduction of a “short” laurea after 3 years and a new “specialised laurea”

    after 2 more years;

    - identification of 5 broad disciplinary areas, each with core curricular requirements and defined degree “classes” set by the State;

    - substantial curricular autonomy for universities (for 34 % of the credits) within the confines of the common rules for each disciplinary area and degree class;

    - grouping of degrees into “classes”, with minimal requirements for each class (in terms of e.g. transversal skills, non-specialist knowledge and choice allowed to students) and equal legal value for all degrees in a given “class”, irrespective of their curriculum differences and specific denomination at particular universities;

    - introduction of a generalised system of credits based on ECTS;

    - encouragement of self-appraisal activities and broadening of the role of external evaluation at all levels.

    In France, the first-degree and master levels should be “underlined” in the existing multilayer system of national diplômes, but without an obligatory quality review or revamp of the

    underlying curricula; certain universities have nonetheless undertaken to re-design courses, and a new “professional licence” aimed at providing a more effective access to the labour market after theoretically only 3 years is being introduced on a voluntary basis. A new degree, the Mastaire, is

    about to be introduced for students who complete 2 years after the Licence or graduate from a

    Grande Ecole.

    Several countries in Central/Eastern Europe have also introduced bachelor and master degrees as part of the reform of their higher education systems. Bulgaria just passed a new law implementing the principles of the Sorbonne declaration.

    In many other countries, the possibility for institutions to create bachelors and/or masters exists and has been used to various extents. In Norway, international curricula taught in English exist as a separate educational line. In Sweden, national degrees are translated into English and presented as appropriate as a bachelor or a master degree. In the Netherlands universities have not made use of their legal possibility to offer bachelor courses.

    After the introduction of the various reforms described above, only a few countries in the EU/EEA area seem not to have, or not to be experimenting with two-tier curricula in at least part of their higher education system (Greece, Netherlands and to a certain extent also Spain).

* Blurring of boundaries between the university and non-university sectors

    In several countries with a binary system of higher education, the boundaries between the university and non-university sub-systems are more and more blurred as a result of a whole series of changes in the higher education landscape:

    - in several countries (e.g. Belgium (Fl), the Netherlands and Denmark) students enrolled at universities are now in the minority, and in many others growth in the non-university sector is stronger;

    - new laws covering the whole of higher education were passed to submit all institutions to the same rules (as in Sweden, or the new Polish law), or to create common bodies for such purposes as evaluation (e.g. Portugal) or comprehensive qualification frameworks (Scotland);

- In their international publications and dealings, German Fachhochschulen have been officially

    authorised to call themselves University of Applied Science, and Dutch Hogescholen to call

    themselves University of Professional Studies;

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