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EUA Newsletter 9   8 May 2015

Trends 2015: the changing context of European higher education

EUA has launched the Trends 2015 report, which presents the universities’ perceptions of the changes that have taken place in European higher education over the past five years, particularly in relation to learning and teaching. Based on survey responses of 451 higher education institutions from 46 countries (48 higher education systems), the report outlines the changing context in which higher education institutions operate.


In most EHEA countries, universities are coping with the consequences of the economic crisis, which in some places is paired with negative demographic trends and migration. The report identifies a number of steps taken by universities to respond to this context as well as to other European and international trends. 


Universities have adopted a stronger strategic focus on increasing and widening participation, and on enhancing the employability of graduates. The quality of learning and teaching is receiving increased attention and support by the academic staff and the institutional leadership. As examples, 60% have a centralised unit for pedagogical staff development, and 63% have institution-wide quality assurance policies and processes. The implementation of learning outcomes has continued to progress since 2010, with 64% of institutions responding that these have been introduced for all courses. Institutions are generally positive about the benefits of learning outcomes. It is clear, however, that in many institutions their implementation appears to have taken place without changing in radical ways how curricula, including examinations, are developed. Therefore this area is still a work in progress.


Trends 2015 results confirm the pre-eminence of both quality assurance and internationalisation, which had been identified as a key development by the Trends 2010 report. Thus, 92% of institutions state that internationalisation has contributed to improving the quality of learning and teaching, notably through mobility of students and staff and international collaboration. The use of information and communication technology has clearly become important and has joined quality assurance and internationalisation as the third top priority of institutions. Institutions are investing in ICT tools, offer blended learning and plan to expand their e-learning offer to increase access and deliver greater flexibility of learning. These results broadly confirm those of the 2014 EUA survey on e-learning. 


The report also identifies several areas that require further developments as well as aspects that could be topics of specific research projects. Further key findings of the report will be presented by the author Andrée Sursock in an upcoming Brussels-based event. An invitation for participation will be disseminated to EUA members shortly. 

To download the report click here.
Policy and Projects News

EUA and European Energy Research Alliance agree on enhanced cooperation

On Wednesday, 29 April 2015, the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with EUA and its European Platform of Universities in Energy Research & Education (EUA-EPUE). The MoU was signed by EERA Chairman Hervé Bernard and EUA President Professor Maria Helena Nazaré and took place during the EERA General Assembly, ahead of the 5th EERA Annual Congress on 30 April 2015. 

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Universities across Europe express solidarity with Garissa victims

Universities from all corners of Europe observed a one minute’s silence on 27 April in remembrance of the victims of the Garissa attack and all those affected by attacks on universities and university values across the world. The attack on Garissa University College on 2 April 2015 killed 147 students and left at least 79 people wounded. While that particular attack stands out in its barbarity, EUA drew attention to the appalling reality that attacks continue to happen every day. 

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Fifth Asia-Europe Education Ministers’ Meeting

Under the title “ASEM Education Collaboration for Results” the 5th ASEM Education Ministers’ Meeting (ASEMME5) took place in Riga, Latvia, on 27-28 April 2015. EUA was among the 11 stakeholder organisations from Asia and Europe that joined representatives from 46 ASEM member countries. EU Education Commissioner Tibor Navracsics called for more exchange and stronger ties between Asia and Europe, pointing also to major European challenges such as high levels of unemployment and a work force which will continue to shrink over the next four decades.

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Events News

AECHE Thematic Conference on 'The networked University' in EL Gouna, Egypt

As part of the Arab-Euro Higher Education Conferences (AECHE) process, a joint initiative of EUA and the Association of Arab Universities (AArU) and supported by the University of Barcelona (UB), an ‘AECHE Thematic Conference will be held in El Gouna Egypt on 10-11 October, hosted by the Technical University of Berlin.

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Call for applications to host 2016 EUA Council for Doctoral Education Annual Meeting 

The EUA Council for Doctoral Education (EUA-CDE) has published a call for interest to host its Annual Meeting in June 2016 and would like to encourage its members to submit a declaration of interest before the deadline of 5 June 2015. 

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ATHENA: Fostering Autonomous Higher Education

On the eve of the Bologna Ministerial Conference held in Yerevan next week, EUA is organising a special event which explores how EUA supports reforms to the European Higher Education Area. The event will take place at Yerevan State University on Wednesday, 13 May. It will open discussions held in the framework of the EUA-led ATHENA project, notably to delegates of the Bologna Ministerial Conference and other interested local stakeholders. 

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Next newsletter: 22 May 2015

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