Higher education policy in the European Union
Education cooperation is primarily the responsibility of EU member states. On the other hand, the European Union can assist, coordinate, and strengthen the operations of the member states.
- Supporting educators and student mobility
- Encouraging the recognition of diplomas and prior studies
- Exchanging information on topics about the member states’ education systems
- Promoting cooperation between educational institutions
- Supporting the distanced education development
EU member states hold educational cooperation. On the other hand, the European Union can help to coordinate, support, and improve the actions of the member states.
There are initiatives that the EU is undertaking to improve the Higher Education sector. Some of which are:
- European universities initiative
- Quality higher education
- Inclusive and connected higher education
- Innovation in education
- Working groups
But let’s take a closer look at them all.
Innovation in education
Higher education institutions must develop to reach their primary goal: preparing students for success in the current interconnected work scenario marked by rapid economic and technological changes.
Therefore, the European Union has adopted a series of initiatives and calls to promote innovation in higher education.
The working groups
The Working Groups share information about national education policy reforms and inspire positive change throughout the European Union as part of mutual learning. The Group’s outputs will be founded on inclusive, holistic, and lifelong learning perspectives and strengthened synergies between education, training, and other EU policies and fundings contributing to the European Education Area.
The main areas in which there are skill shortages in the EU are STEM and ICT, with a severe underrepresentation of women. STEM stays for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Moreover, new skills are more and more required as the European Union is getting greener and more digitalised. To continue the development of skills in green and digital disciplines, the European Union has to bring about a change in the educational field regarding the abovementioned topics.
Students or future students should be led towards learning subjects where skills are lacking. In those disciplines, the demand is high, and there are also more vacant jobs. Besides, there is also a more extensive request for transversal skills. In addition, hard skills are not enough anymore as soft skills such as problem-solving or critical thinking are now considered a must.
European universities alliance
European Universities is an alliance between different universities of the Member countries of the European Union. It’s made of transnational partnerships that aim to become tomorrow’s model universities. The latter support European values and identity by modernising the quality and competencies of higher education in Europe.
Thanks to the Erasmus+ calls for proposals, the initiative offers possibilities to promote a range of cooperation models for European universities.
Universities and colleges have to provide the right conditions for the success of all students of different backgrounds.
Of course, something bigger is needed than just financial support, although the latter is quite helpful for learners from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Higher education institutions should consider the disadvantaged learners’ access and completion rates and improve the overall situation.
Therefore, universities and colleges in the European Union should:
Examine the assessment, teaching and admission management.
Mentoring students by providing non-academic as well as academic support
Some of the methods to reach the abovementioned goals would assist disadvantaged and underrepresented students. Facilitating the access to and the completion of higher education. Also, a good idea is a less severe recognition of prior learning and blended and flexible, on-and offline and part- or full-time engagement options.
Micro-credentials are certificates validating the learning outcomes. They concentrate on short-term learning activities, for example, training or a course.
Moreover, micro-credentials provide an approach that is targeted and flexible to assist people in developing the skills and information required for their professional and personal development.
Micro-credentials can be obtained in different learning settings, and it does not matter if those settings are formal or informal. That is the reason why micro-credentials are so flexible.
Traditional forms of learning that require a series of certifications are still existing, but, in the meanwhile, shorter and shorter learning forms are developing. The education and training are designed to deliver faster but learner and topic-centred education to answer the learners’ needs.
ACS – ASOMI College of Sciences is a college located in Malta that follows almost all the abovementioned criteria by fitting perfectly into the delivery of higher education in the European Union. Check our key values out here.