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Printed: 21.09.2019.


PrintEuropean universities’ alliance for education quality

Eugene Eteris, European Studies Faculty, RSU, BC International Editor, Copenhagen, 27.06.2019.
European Commission announced first EU higher education institutions’ selection to create “European Universities” alliance to enhance the quality and attractiveness of European higher education and boost cooperation between institutions, their students and staff.

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The European Commission’s initiative to increase education quality and support cooperation was endorsed by the European Council in December 2017; it aimed at uniting at least 20 European universities to push forward the establishing of a European Education Area by 2025*). The concept of the “European Universities” attracted applications from 54 alliances involving more than 300 higher education institutions from 28 EU states and other Erasmus+ Programme Countries. They replied to an Erasmus+ call on “European Universities” launched in October 2018.


The first pull of 17 so-called “European Universities” (out of 54 applications) will act as a role model for other high schools across the EU. They will enable the next generations of students to experience Europe by studying in different countries and change higher education in Europe while boosting excellence, competitiveness and inclusion.

 

*) More on European Education Area in the BC’s publications: http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/modern_eu/?doc=141684&ins_print; and http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/modern_eu/?doc=138222&ins_print

 


Arranging consortiums

The selection of European universities has been made out of a broad range of higher education institutions across the EU-28: i.e. from comprehensive and research-intensive universities, to schools of applied sciences, technical universities and universities of fine arts. 

The consortiums will become inter-university campuses around which students, doctoral candidates, staff and researchers can move seamlessly. They will pool their expertise, platforms and resources to deliver joint curricula or modules covering various disciplines. 

Curricula for example will be very flexible and will allow students to personalise their education, choosing what, where and when to study and get a European degree. 

So-called “European Universities” will also contribute to the sustainable economic development of the regions where they are located, as their students will work closely with companies, municipal authorities, academics and researchers to find solutions to the challenges their regions are facing.

The first call – together with a second one to be launched this autumn – will test different models to implement the new concept of “European Universities” and its potential to boost higher education. For the next long-term EU budget running from 2021-2027, the Commission proposed to fully roll out European Universities under Erasmus+, with a significantly increased budget. 

While some alliances are comprehensive and cover all disciplines, others are for example focusing on urban coastal sustainability, social sciences or global health. Each alliance is composed on an average of seven higher education institutions from all parts of Europe, leading to new partnerships; this reflects the distribution of applications received from the EU states.  


Baltic States’ “European Universities”

There are several universities in the three Baltic States that acquired the title of being “European”. Thus, in the ECIUn group, among 12 other universities is Kauno Technologijos Universitetas, LT; in EU4Art group (Alliance for common fine arts curriculum), among 4 - Latvijas Makslas Afademija, LV; in the group FORTHEM (Fostering Outreach within European Regions, Transnational Higher Education and Mobility), among 7 others - Latvijas Universitate, LV; in ARQUS group (European University Alliance), among 7 others - Vilniaus Universitetas, LT; and in the CONEXUS group (European University for Smart Urban Coastal Sustainability) – among 5 others - Klaipedos Universitetas, LT.  


Financial support

In total, a budget of up to €85 million is available for the first 17 “European Universities”. Each alliance will receive up to €5 million in the coming three years to start implementing their plans and pave the way for other higher education institutions across the EU to follow. Their progress will be closely monitored by the Commission.


The €60 million originally set aside for the new Erasmus+ initiative has been increased to €85 million allowing for the funding of 17 alliances rather than the 12 initially foreseen.


More information in the following web sites:

-Factsheet in https://ec.europa.eu/education/sites/education/files/document-library-docs/education_european_universities_factsheet_2019_final.pdf;

 -European Universities Initiative;

- Information on the Call for Proposals


General reference: Commission press release “First 17 European Universities selected: a major step towards building a European Education Area”, Brussels, 26 June 2019, in:

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-3389_en.htm?locale=en



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