Turkish private / public universities and information society in europe a. Ziya Aktaş



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TURKISH PRIVATE / PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES

and

INFORMATION SOCIETY in EUROPE

A. Ziya Aktaş
Rector, Çankaya University, 06530 Balgat , Ankara – Turkey

Abstract
Information / Knowledge Society has already been shaping all the societies on earth. It will then be timely to discuss the role of universities, in particular, public and private universities of Turkey, in such a development. In the paper, after a brief introduction on information/knowledge, information age and information society, the relationship between the human being and information will be elaborated. After reviewing the universities in the USA and EU, Turkish Universities will be discussed for their role in the development of information society. At the end, Cankaya University as an example of a Turkish foundation university, will be presented briefly.
Keywords: Bologna Process, information society, Lisbon Objectives, Socrates/Erasmus Program, Turkish

universities.


1. INTRODUCTION

European Commission began supporting a mobility programme named Erasmus Programme for European students and academicians in 1987. The Erasmus Programme has later been incorporated under the Socrates Programme umbrella starting in 1995. Socrates is Europe’s education programme and its main objective is to build up a Europe of knowledge and thus provide a response to the major challenges of this new century.

The Erasmus action and its different activities fit later into the mobility policy promoted by the Bologna Process that was initiated in 1999 and followed up by the Prague-2001, Berlin-2003 and finally by Bergen-2005 meetings of the Ministers of Education of the signatory countries of the Bologna Process. The next meeting will be held in London in 2007. The Bologna Process has basically aimed at the creation of a European Higher Education Area by 2010 and promotion of the European system of higher education worldwide.

Following the Information /Knowledge Society developments in the USA during the nineties and in parallel with the Japanese Millenium Project started at the end of 1999, the creation of a Europe of knowledge has been a new strategic goal for the European Union in order to strengthen employment, economy and social cohesion as part of a knowledge- based economy after the European Council Summit in Lisbon of March 2000. The Lisbon Objectives for EU were to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion by 2010. The European Council in Barcelona in 2002 recognised this need for excellence, in its call for European systems of education to become a “world reference” by 2010.

Universities are situated at the crossroads of education, research and innovation, and service to society. They hold, therefore, the key to the knowledge economy and society efforts of Turkey and other members of the EU.

The Millenium Development Goals of the United Nations are the most broadly supported, comprehensive, and specific poverty reduction targets. Out of 8 key goals, one is ‘A Global Partnership for Development for the sake of Youth Unemployment’. Two of the targets worth being noted are: Target 16: In cooperation with developing countries, develop and implement strategies for decent and productive work for youth; and Target 18: In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications technologies [1]. Thus, lifelong education and special care for youth are also the topics for universities to deal with.





  1. TURKISH HIGHER EDUCATION

The objectives of the European universities have been shared by the Turkish universities, and we have similar limitations and problems [2]. A short summary of the history and governance will help to follow and grasp the present status of Turkish universities which may be grouped into two as Private or Foundation Universities and State Universities [3].


2.1 History
Turkish higher education dates back to the Nizamiye Madrasa, founded by Seljuk Turks in Baghdad in the 11th century. A Turkish-Islamic institution, corresponding to the medieval university in many respects, the madrasa offered courses in religion, canon law and rhetoric as well as in philosophy, mathematics, astronomy and medicine. Geared to the learning and interpretation of knowledge rather than its creation and dissemination, the madrasa also served the needs of the Ottoman Empire during its formative centuries and years of power. Best known among Ottoman madrasas was that founded in Istanbul by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453. However, lacking the capacity to provide intellectual stimulation and induce change, the madrasa as an institution , unfortunately, became an obstacle to Ottoman attempts at modernization in later years, even for centuries.
After founding some military colleges, the decision to set up a European type of university was taken in 1846, soon after the proclamation of the Gülhane Imperial Edict (1839), an official declaration of will by the Ottoman Empire to modernize, and Darülfünun (House of Sciences ) was inaugurated in 1863. Due to social resistance, mainly from teachers - mollas, in the madrasas, which by that time had become bastions of reactionary activities, the Darülfünun was closed down and reopened twice before it was firmly established in 1900.
After the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1923, the government invited Professor Albert Malche of the University of Geneva to prepare a report on Turkish university reform in 1931. Following this report, the Grand National Assembly passed a law in 1933 replacing the Darülfünun with Istanbul University . Reinforced by scores of Jewish professors escaping from Nazi persecution, Istanbul University soon became one of the leading centers of education and research in Turkey. Eleven years later, in 1944, the Higher School of Engineers was also reorganized to become Istanbul Technical University.
In the meantime, several independent schools and faculties were established in the new capital, Ankara, such as the School of Law (1925), Gazi Institute of Education (1926), the Agricultural Institute (1930), the Faculty of Languages, History and Geography (1937), the Faculty of Science (1943) and the Faculty of Medicine (1945). In 1946 all these were amalgamated to form Ankara University . The first private or foundation university, Bilkent, was founded in 1984.
Unlike western universities, which evolved from medieval European universities, starting with Bologna in 1088, Turkish universities did not evolve from the madrasas. On the contrary, they were all established in the Republican period to replace the madrasas, which were all closed down immediately after the proclamation of the Republic. In the period from 1923 to 2005 [4] :


  • The number of universities increased from 1 to 77;

  • Student enrolment went from 2,914 to 2.1 million;

  • The annual number of graduates increased from 321 to 324,000;

  • The number of academic staff jumped from 307 to 80,000 .

As of 2005, there are 53 state universities in various cities and 24 private (foundation) universities mostly in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir in Turkey.

There are 5 universities in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. With special status there are Ahmet Yesevi Türk Kazak University in Kazakstan and Kırgız Türk Manas University in Kyrgyzstan.

2.2. Çankaya University

Çankaya University is quite a young University opened in 1997 in Ankara by S.Alp Education Foundation. As of Spring 2005, the University has 3200 Undergraduate and 200 Graduate students. Total 228 academic staff consists of 213 Turkish nationals and 15 foreign nationals.

It is the mission of Çankaya University to provide a world class education and to stand in the first rank in Ankara and in Turkey.

Çankaya University has four faculties with thirteen departments: School of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering and Architecture, School of Economics and Administrative Sciences, and School of Law. The medium of instruction is English in all schools except the School of Law.



Çankaya University is in collaboration with some universities in Europe through ERASMUS Project. Up to now we have had agreements with 15 universities in 11 countries.

2.3. Turkish University Governance and Good Governance in Higher Education
The Council of Higher Education is a 22-member corporate public body responsible for the planning, coordination and supervision of higher education within the provisions set forth in the Higher Education Law of Turkey. The Minister of National Education represents higher education in the Parliament and can chair the meetings of the Council but has no vote. Neither decisions of the Council nor those of the universities are subject to ratification by the Ministry.
Each university consists of faculties and four-year schools, offering bachelor’s level programs, the latter with a vocational emphasis, and two-year vocational schools offering pre-bachelor’s (associate’s) level programs of a strictly vocational nature. Graduate-level programs consist of master’s and doctoral programs, coordinated by institutes for graduate studies.
The numbers of students to be admitted to bachelor’s and pre-bachelor’s programs are determined annually by the Council of Higher Education, upon the proposals of universities. Students are admitted to such programs through a central competitive entrance examination, organized and administered by the Student Selection and Placement Center (ÖSYM ), affiliated with the Council. At the university level, the rector is both the chief academic and executive officer of the university, as are the deans, directors and department chairpersons in their respective units.
Procedures governing the election, nomination and appointment of rectors, deans, directors and chairpersons and the requirements thereof, as well as the composition of boards, and the responsibilities and authorities of each, are stipulated by law. Universities are completely free to enter into research contracts and service provision agreements with outside bodies, both Turkish and foreign. Academic staff have complete freedom in choosing research topics and methods.
Private or Foundation universities have only to conform to the basic academic requirements and structures set forth in the law. Apart from this, they are completely free to manage their own affairs according to rules and regulations adopted by their boards of trustees, in which lay members in most cases make up the majority.
In addition to the annual budget, provided by the state, each university has three more sources of income. First, income from the services provided by the university, and it is collected in a revolving fund. Second, student contributions towards highly subsidized services are collected in a separate fund. Third, each university has a research fund made up of a lump sum grant from the state-provided budget plus a portion of the income from the revolving fund and from earmarked projects given by the State Planning Organization.
Scientific and Technical Research Council (TÜBİTAK) of Turkey also supports research projects after evaluating proposals submitted by faculty members. However, such grants are given directly to faculty members, and are thus not included in university income.
Sustained development requires institutions of good governance that embody transparent and participatory processes and that encompass partnership and other arrangements among the government, the private sector, non-governmental organisations (ngo’s), and other elements of civil society including state and foundation (private ) universities.
Education Policy Analysis - 2003 Report of OECD devoted a chapter on the changing patterns of governance in higher education [5]. In the summary it is noted that higher education is under pressure worldwide to change. It is growing fast and its contribution to economic success is seen as vital. The universities and other institutions are expected to create knowledge; to improve equity; and to respond to student needs – and to do so more efficiently. State universities are increasingly competing for students, research funds and academic staff – both with the private sector and internationally. The key question is then, How can the governance of higher education institutions assure their independence and dynamism while promoting key economic and social objectives? Institutions are gaining greater freedom to run their own affairs. Public funds are allocated in “lump-sum” form, and funding from students and business is increasingly encouraged. In exchange for autonomy, governments seek to hold institutions to account, linking funding to performance and publicly assessing quality. Higher education institutions are having to work hard to meet funding and regulatory criteria and at the same time to strengthen their market position. There is an emphasis on institutional strategy, and a shift in power away from individual departments. External members sit on governing bodies formerly dominated by academic interests. Senior managers are selected for their leadership skills as well as for their academic prowess. Such changes can create tensions. Higher education institutions need to develop a creative balance between academic mission and executive capacity; and between financial viability and traditional values. Governments have to balance the encouragement of excellence with the promotion of equity. In the knowledge economy and society the stakes are high.
3. INFORMATION SOCIETY AND EUROPEAN UNIVERSITIES


    1. Information Society

Recently, we realise that many powerful forces have been shaping the development landscape of all countries. Such developments have paved the way toward a new age called “Information Age”. After agricultural and industrial societies, the new society is already named “Information Society” or “Knowledge Society”. As it is usually done, I hereby use the term ‘information’ as a generic term to imply data or information or knowledge which may vary depending on time and on person. Therefore, ‘information society’ may also mean ‘knowledge society’ or vice versa.

The knowledge economy and society stem from the combination of four interdependent elements: the production of new knowledge, mainly through scientific research; its transmission through education and training; its dissemination through the information and telecommunications technologies such as computers, computer networks and internet; its use in technological innovation for new industrial processes and services.

The information society is a society for everybody. Its democratic nature must be noted and supported. It is vital to provide universal access to information for everybody.
Transparency and openness in a government activities will definitely help to improve the efficiency of public administration. Electronic democracy, improvement in education and training, betterment of employment, support of market economy, various legal and social benefits and finally research and development improvement may be named as a few of the advantages of information society. A new paradigm is emerging creating knowledge-based economies and societies. Knowledge is becoming the main source of wealth and power, but also of difference as ‘digital divide’ between nations, regions, companies and people. Innovation based on a specific knowledge is the main competitive advantage. Competitiveness means to answer just in time to the personal needs or preference of the customer, which requires a very sophisticated knowledge management. Mass customization is succeeding to fordist standardised mass production. With e-commerce business trade directly with businesses and the company dimension can become more irrelevant when taking advantage of globalisation. Knowledge management becomes a key component corporate strategic management, activating the relationship between marketing a research and production. Corporate organization is reshaped to build a learning organization. New types of workers emerge, namely knowledge workers [6].
3.2 Information Society and Europe

In December 1999, the European Commission launched ‘eEurope – An Information Society for all’ initiative. The initiative has aimed at accelerating the uptake of digital technologies across Europe and ensuring that all Europeans have the necessary skills to use them. The key objectives of the eEurope initiative were :



  • Bringing every citizen, home and school, every business and administration, online and into the digital age;

  • Creating a digitally literate Europe, supported by an entrepreneurial culture ready to finance and develop new ideas;

  • Ensuring that the whole process is socially inclusive, builds consumer trust and strengthens social cohesion.

A new strategic goal and an overall strategy was defined by Lisbon European Council in March 2000, named Lisbon Strategy. Quoting its own conclusions [6] :

“ The Union has today set itself a new strategic goal for the next decade: to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion. Achieving this goal requires an overall strategy aimed at:



  • preparing the transition to a knowledge-based economy and society by better policies for the information society and R&D as well as by stepping up the process of structural reform for competitiveness and innovation and by completing the internal market;

  • modernizing the European social model, investing in people and combating social exclusion;

  • sustaining the healthy economic outlook and favourable growth prospects by applying an appropriate macro-economic policy mix ”.

The objectives of eEurope Project are usually referred to as ‘Lisbon Objectives’. Thus, the Presidency of the European Union organized a special interaction between the scientific and the political agenda by means of a cross fertilization leading to a new European strategy which aims to build a knowledge-based economy with more competitiveness and social cohesion. eEurope Project for EU countries is later redefined as eEurope+ Project to include also candidate countries for EU. In June 2001, Turkey also joined eEurope+ Project.


Europe is at the cross roads in a changing landscape. A completely new environment is being created by globalisation, technological change and ageing population with its impact on the welfare state. This involves managing a greater amount of knowledge with the intensive use of information and telecommunications technologies.

Knowledge has always been an ingredient of human societies, but what is radically new is the speed of its accumulation and diffusion, due to information and telecommunications technologies. Working conditions and living conditions are being redefined. Internet is becoming the main infrastructure of this new paradigm. Europe is somehow lagging behind in this transition and can learn a lot from the U.S. but the point is not to imitate the US, but rather to define the European way to the knowledge economy. Renewing the European social model should create the conditions to help people move from jobs with no future to jobs with a future [6].


3.2 European Universities

There are some 3 300 higher education establishments in the European Union, approximately 4 000 in the whole Europe. They take in an increasing number of students, over 12.5 million in 2000. The structural reforms inspired by the Bologna Process constitute an effort to organise that diversity within a more coherent and compatible European framework, which is a condition for the competitiveness, of European universities both within Europe itself and in the whole world. Given that they are situated at the crossroads of research, education and innovation, universities in many respects hold the key to the knowledge economy and society. In short, the universities are at the heart of the Europe of knowledge [6].

.

Lisbon objectives of EU call for efforts from a wide range of players. These include the European universities, which have a particularly important role to play. This is because of their twofold traditional vocation of teaching and research, their increasing role in the complex process of innovation, along with their other contributions to economic competitiveness and social cohesion, e.g. their role in the life of the community and in regional development. Given their central role, the creation of a Europe of knowledge is for the universities a source of opportunity, but also of major challenges. After enlargement and considering the human and financial resources needed, the critical question for European universities will be if they are in a position to compete with the best universities in the world and provide a sustainable level of excellence.



In order to implement the Lisbon Objectives, the European Union has embarked upon a series of actions and initiatives in the areas of research and education, such as Bologna Process and Socrates/Erasmus Program etc.

All over the world, but particularly in Europe, universities face an imperative need to adapt and adjust to a whole series of profound changes. These changes fall into five major categories [7]:



  • Increased demand for higher education;

  • The internationalization of education and research;

  • The proliferation of places where knowledge is produced;

  • The reorganization of knowledge;

  • The emergence of new expectations.

Alongside its fundamental mission of initial training, universities must cater for new needs in education and training stemming from the knowledge-based economy and society. These include an increasing need for scientific and technical education, horizontal skills, and opportunities for lifelong learning.

Excellence today is no longer produced or measured at the national level, even in the biggest European countries, but at the level of the European or world community of teachers and researchers. The question arises in this context as to the compatibility and the transparency of the systems whereby qualifications are recognised (which lies at the core of the Bologna Process of convergence), and that of the obstacles to the mobility of teachers and researchers in Europe. Student mobility, for instance, is still marginal in Europe. The mobility of researchers is higher than that of the average of the population concerned, it is still lower than it is in the USA. The divergence between the organisation of universities at Member State level and the emergence of challenges which go beyond national frontiers has grown over the past few years.


The European university landscape is primarily organised at national and regional levels and is characterised by a high degree of heterogeneity which is reflected in organisation, governance and operating conditions, including the status and conditions of employment and recruitment of teaching staff and researchers. This heterogeneity can be seen between countries, because of cultural and legislative differences, but also within each country, as not all universities have the same vocation and do not react in the same way and at the same pace to the changes which affect them. The structural reforms inspired by the Bologna Process constitute an effort to organise that diversity within a more coherent and compatible European framework, which is a condition for the readability, and hence the competitiveness, of European universities both within Europe itself and in the whole world.
The European Union needs a healthy and flourishing university world. It needs excellence in its universities, to optimise the processes which underpin the knowledge society.

Universities are unique, in that they take part in the processes of production, transmission, dissemination and use of knowledge. In particular they play a key role in the three fields of research and exploitation of its results, thanks to industrial researchers; cooperation and spin-off; education and training, in particular training of and regional and local development, to which they can contribute significantly [6].



    1. Information Society and European Universities

Education, especially higher education, has been important in European countries for centuries. It may be interesting to have a quick look at the activities in the last fifty years relevant to culture and higher education in Europe. Most of the relevant documents can be reached at the web site of EUA (European University Association ) [8] and [9] .

3.4.1 Council of Europe Convention - 1954
In the declaration of the Council of Europe “European Cultural Convention”, in Paris on 19.12.1954 , it was noted that it is desirable not only to conclude bilateral cultural conventions between members of the Council but also to pursue a policy of common action designed to safeguard and encourage the development of European culture.
3.4.2 Magna Charta Universitatum -1988
In celebration of the 900th year of the Bologna University on September 18, 1988, in Bologna-Italy as Magna Charta Universitatum, it was stated that ,
“… Looking forward to far-reaching co-operation between all European nations and believing that peoples and States should become more than ever aware of the part that universities will be called upon to play in a changing and increasingly international society. Consider:


  1. that at the approaching end of this millennium the future of mankind depends, largely on cultural, scientific and technical development; and that this is built up in centers of culture, knowledge and research as represented by true universities;

  2. that the universities’ task of spreading knowledge among the younger generations implies that, in today’s world, they must also serve society as a whole; and that the cultural, social and economic future of society requires, in particular, a considerable investment in continuing education;

  3. that universities must give future generations education and training that will teach them, and through them others, to respect the great harmonies of their natural environment and of life itself.”

European Area of Higher Education is based on the fundamental principles laid down in the Bologna Magna Charta Universitatum. This is of the highest importance, given that Universities’ independence and autonomy ensure that higher education and research systems continuously adapt to changing needs, society’s demands and advances in scientific knowledge.


3.4.3 Lisbon Recognition Convention - 1997
In Lisbon recognition convention of 11.04.1997, the following sections are particularly relevant to high education and culture :
“Conscious of the fact that the right to education is a human right, and that higher education, which is instrumental in the pursuit and advancement of knowledge, constitutes an exceptionally rich cultural and scientific asset for both individuals and society” and “Considering that the great diversity of education systems in the European region reflects its cultural, social, political, philosophical, religious and economic diversity, an exceptional asset which should be fully respected.”
3.4.4 Sorbonne Joint Declaration - 1998
In the joint declaration on May 25, 1998, in Paris-Sorbonne on harmonisation of the architecture of the European higher education system by the four Ministers in charge for France, Germany, Italy and United Kingdom, stated that :

“The European Process has very recently moved some extremely important steps ahead. Relevant as they are, they should not make one forget that Europe is not only that of the Euro, of the banks and the economy: it must be a Europe of knowledge as well. We must strengthen and build upon the intellectual, cultural, social and technical dimensions of our continent. These have to a large extent been shaped by its universities, which continue to play a pivotal role for their development.”


3.4.5 Bologna Declaration – 1999
Joint declaration, known as the Bologna Declaration, of the European Ministers of Education on 19 June 1999 has the following:
A Europe of Knowledge is now widely recognised as an irreplaceable factor for social and human growth and as an indispensable component to consolidate and enrich the European citizenship, capable of giving its citizens the necessary competences to face the challenges of the new millennium, together with an awareness of shared values and belonging to a common social and cultural space.
We must in particular look at the objective of increasing the international competitiveness of the European system of higher education. The vitality and efficiency of any civilisiation can be measured by the appeal that its culture has for other countries.
The Bologna Declaration involves six actions relating to:


  1. a system of academic grades which are easy to read and compare, including the introduction of the diploma supplement (designed to improve international “transparency” and facilitate academic and professional recognition of qualifications);

  2. a system essentially based on two cycles: a first cycle geared to the employment market and lasting at least three years and a second cycle (Master) conditional upon the completion of the first cycle;

  3. a system of accumulation and transfer of credits (of the ECTS type already used successfully under Socrates/Erasmus);

  4. mobility of students, teachers, and researchers;

  5. cooperation with regard to quality assurance;

  6. the European dimension of higher education.

The aim of the process is thus to make the higher education systems in Europe converge towards a more transparent system whereby the different national systems would use a common framework based on three cycles – Degree/Bachelor, Master and Doctorate. As far as the Europe Union is concerned, the Bologna Process fits into the broader framework of the Lisbon Objectives of the year 2000.


3.4.6 Lisbon Objectives - 2000

Lisbon Objectives that were defined by the European Council in the special meeting on 23-24 March 2000 in Lisbon were already given in Section 3.2 earlier. Some of the significant points were noted as follows [6]:

“Given the significant role played by research and development in generating economic growth, employment and social cohesion, the Union must work towards the objectives set out in the Commission’s communication ‘towards a European Research Area’. Research activities at the national and Union level must be better integrated and coordinated to make them as efficient and innovative as possible, and to ensure that Europe offers attractive prospects to its best brains. This objective is going to be realised by establishing a European Area of Research and Innovation”.
“People are Europe’s main asset and should be the focal point of the Union’s policies. Investing in people and developing an active and dynamic welfare state will be crucial both to Europe’s place in the knowledge economy and for ensuring that the emergence of this new economy does not compound the existing social problems of unemployment, social exclusion and poverty”.
“Europe’s education and training systems need to adapt both to the demands of the knowledge society and to the need for an improved level and quality of employment. They will have to offer learning and training opportunities tailored to target groups at different stages of their lives: young people, unemployed adults and those in employment who are at risk of seeing their skills overtaken by rapid change. This new approach should have three main components: the development of local learning centers, the promotion of new basic skills, in particular in the information technologies, and increased transparency of qualifications.”


      1. EUA Salamanca Convention – 2001

Over 300 European higher education institutions and their main representative organizations, gathered in Salamanca on 29-30 March 2001 to prepare their input to the Prague meeting of the ministers in charge of higher education in the countries involved in the Bologna Process, have agreed on the following goals, principles and priorities.


European higher education institutions reaffirmed their support to the principles of the Bologna Declaration and their commitment to the creation of the European Higher Education Area by the end of the decade. They saw the establishment of the European University Association (EUA) in Salamanca as of symbolic and practical value to convey their voice more effectively to governments and society and thus to support them in shaping their own future in the European Higher Education Area. The convention declaration included the followings :


  1. Principles

  • Autonomy with accountability

  • Education as a public responsibility

  • Research-based higher education

  • Organising diversity




  1. Key Issues

  • Quality as a fundamental building stone

  • Trust building

  • Relevance to European labour market

  • Mobility

  • Compatibility qualifications at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

  • Attractiveness




      1. Prague Declaration - May 2001

At the Prague ministerial conference in May 2001 the ministers of education of the signatory countries of the Bologna Process set the European area of higher education the objective of responding to the needs of lifelong learning. They stressed the participation of higher education establishments and students (mainly through their representative associations) in the process and laid emphasis on the need to make the European area of higher education attractive to the rest of the world. The Prague Declaration also called for the implementation of policies to evaluate quality in each country in order to secure the mutual trust which is indispensable to the validation of studies carried out in another country [6] .


Ministers reaffirmed that efforts to promote mobility must be continued to enable students, teachers, researchers and administrative staff to benefit from the richness of the European Higher Education Area including its democratic values, diversity of cultures and languages and the diversity of the higher education systems. They supported the idea that higher education should be considered a public good and is and will remain a public responsibility/regulations etc) and that students are full members of the higher education community [6].
In addition to the six basic objectives of the Bologna Process, the Ministers emphasized the following points:


  • Lifelong learning;

  • Involvement of higher education institutions and students in the establishment and shaping of a European Higher Education Area;

  • Promoting the attractiveness of the European Higher Education Area.

      1. Barcelona EC Meeting – 2002

An important step for the improvement of the research in European universities is the objective set by the March 2002 Barcelona European Council meeting to increase the average research investment level from 1.9% of GDP today to 3% of GDP by 2010, of which 2/3 should be funded by the private sector.
If they are to play their full role in the creation of a Europe of knowledge, European universities must, with the help of the Member States and in a European context, rise to a number of challenges. They can only release their potential by undergoing the radical changes needed to make the European system a genuine world reference. There are three objectives to be pursued simultaneously :

  • ensuring that European universities have sufficient and sustainable resources and use them efficiently;

  • consolidating their excellence in research and in teaching, particularly through networking;

  • opening up universities to a greater extent to the outside and increasing their international attractiveness.

3.4.10 EUA Graz Declaration - 2003
The Graz declaration is the major EUA policy document to be transmitted to the meeting of European Education Ministers in Berlin on 18-19 September 2003. The Declaration thus seeks to provide a long term vision for European universities and to express the priorities for the next phase of the Bologna Process [8 ].

What universities need to do to ensure that they remain central to the development of European society by:



  • maintaining research as an integral part of higher education;

  • improving academic quality by building strong institutions;

  • furthering mobility and the social dimension;

  • supporting the development of a policy framework for Europe in quality assurance, and of course;

  • pushing forward the Bologna Process.




      1. Berlin Declaration - 2003

In Berlin, on September 19, 2003, it was decided to speed up the Bologna Process by setting short term targets. Thus, by 2005, all signatory countries should:



  • have adopted a two-cycle system;

  • issue the diploma supplement in a major language to all their graduates free of change and automatically; and

  • have made a start on introducing a quality assurance system.

In addition, the doctorate cycle will henceforth be covered by the Bologna reforms thus promoting closer links between the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and the European Research Area (ERA).


In the meeting Ministers reaffirmed the importance of the social dimension of the Bologna Process. The need to increase competitiveness must be balanced with the objective of improving the social characteristics of the European Higher Education Area, aiming at strengthening social cohesion and reducing social and gender inequalities both at national and at European level. In that context, Ministers reaffirmed their position that higher education is a public good and a public responsibility. They emphasized that in international academic cooperation and exchanges, academic values should prevail.
On the Berlin ministerial summit Ministers initiated a mid-term stocktaking exercise focussing on three priorities: the degree system, quality assurance, and the recognition of degrees and periods of studies. Finally, the Ministers reaffirmed that students, as competent, active and constructive partners, must be seen as one of the driving forces for changes in the field of higher education. Student participation in the Bologna process at all levels (European, national, regional and local) is one of the key conditions for the success of the Process: it is only by involving them at all levels that the implementation of the process will be made more efficient and satisfactory to all. ESIB – the National Unions of Students in Europe, being the representative of students on the

European level, commits itself to constructively participate in the discussions on the future and in the follow-up of the Bologna Process.


3.4.12 Salzburg Meeting - 2005
Doctoral Programmes for the European Knowledge Society was discussed in Salzburg on 3-5 February 2005. At the end a consensus emerged on a set of ten basic principles as follows:


  1. The core component of doctoral training is the advancement of knowledge through original research;

  2. Embedding in institutional strategies and policies;

  3. The importance of diversity;

  4. Doctoral candidates as early stage researchers;

  5. The crucial role of supervision and assessment;

  6. Achieving critical mass;

  7. Duration;

  8. The promtion of innovative structures;

  9. Increasing mobility;

  10. Ensuring appropriate funding.

3.4.13 EUA Glasgow Declaration - 2005


EUA Glasgow Convention was held on 2 April 2005 and the following themes were discussed:
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