New Cultural Environment in the European Higher Education Area: Degree equivalence as a driving forc...
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New Cultural Environment in the European Higher Education Area: Degree equivalence as a driving force for the international labour market. Friedrich Roithmayr Vice Rector for Communication and Foreigen Affairs Johannes Kepler University Linz (Austria) Altenbergerstrasse 69 A-4040 Linz (Austria).

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Friedrich roithmayr jku at

New Cultural Environment in the European Higher Education Area: Degree equivalence as a driving force for the international labour market

Friedrich Roithmayr Vice Rector for Communication and Foreigen Affairs Johannes Kepler University Linz (Austria)

Altenbergerstrasse 69

A-4040 Linz (Austria)

[email protected]

1


Introduction

Introduction

In the Salamanca Conference in 2001 European higher education institutions reaffirm 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.

the establishing of the European University Association (EUA) in Salamanca had a symbolic and practical value in conveying their voice more effectively to governments and society

In this presentation we discuss challenges in the recognition of qualifications and the actual level of implementation of this framework from the JKU`s point of view.


Key elements of according are

Key elements of according are

  • …to establish a European Higher Education Area by 2010

  • …easily readable and comparable degrees organized in

    • the development of qualifications frameworks,

    • improved quality assurance,

    • promotion of mobility, and promotion of the European dimension in higher education and of the attractiveness of European higher education


Fields of problems of according

Fields of problems of according

  • It will be difficult to achieve these aims without fair and effective recognition.

  • In the Bologna process are included a wide range of stakeholders with different interests and expectations.

  • The implementation of the reform takes place

    • by institutions mostly on faculty level,

    • with different interests, impacts, and expectations.

  • The Bologna process has also implications outside of Europe. The global dimension has become a central element of it


Theses

Theses

We follow the thesis that the recognition of qualifications has become an important issue in a global dialogue and it has been identified as one of the core policy areas for the Strategy for the European Higher Education Area in a Global Setting


Main principles of recognition

Main principles of recognition

  • all applicants have the right to a fair assessment of their qualifications within a reasonable time limit, according to transparent, coherent and reliable procedures and criteria, and without discrimination.

  • The concept of “substantial difference” is crucial for fair recognition.

  • The applicant shall also be able to make an appeal within a reasonable time limit.

  • Institutions are asked to give relevant information within reasonable time limits for the purpose of the recognition of the qualifications earned at the institution.


State of the art vertical mobility

State of the art (vertical mobility)

  • One objective of Bologna was to increase the vertical mobility (studies and graduation in different universities. For instance Bachelor in Linz, Master in Amsterdam).

  • We have no statistics about the vertical mobility, the observation period is very short, but I think this more the exception than the rule.

  • From our point of view Bologna has not increased the vertical mobility of our students. Rather the contrary can be seen.


State of the art horizontal mobility

State of the art (horizontal mobility)

  • A 2nd objective of Bologna was to increase the horizontal mobility (exchange within a study).

  • Fact is that it doesn`t increase. Rather the opposite occurred. Also seems to decrease the duration of stay abroad.

  • Possible reasons

    • it is not easy to plan a semester abroad in the study plan.

    • The observation period is quietly very short.

    • Transparency and comparability of graduation have not been achieved

    • The study architecture of the Bachelor- and Master Programs are not uniformly

    • The number of hours required per credit ECTS in each country is different

    • we also have a terminological problem


Distinguish between the degree equivalence

…distinguish between the degree equivalence

  • on academic level (between universities), and

  • on professional level. What counts in the private sector (enterprises) are the skills, not only the title. In the public sector counts the salary schema. A special case is that for some professions, the recognition by the professional organization necessary (for instance lawyer).

  • on the academic level (e.g., admission to doctoral studies in law with a foreign Master-/Diploma study) does not authorize the practice of the profession as a lawyer.


A paradox situation

a paradox situation

  • If a student has finished 98% of his studies at the University W and he changes to the University L so each single course is compared and deviations in the curriculum must be balanced.

  • If he has finished a study at the University W he can unproblematic continue the next study.


Challenges and issues

Challenges and Issues

  • The use of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) and other transparency instruments, like the Diploma Supplement, is widespread and their use is more important than before.

  • Too often a qualification is not recognized or is recognized only partly, for insufficient reasons


Lack of information

Lack of information

  • There may be uncertainty about the relevance or reliability of available information concerning an education system, individual institutions, programmes or qualifications.

  • In some cases changes and reforms which have taken place – and which may have led to increased diversity within an education system

  • The documentation concerning the qualification may not be clear, familiar or informative enough.


A framework of substantial differences

a framework of substantial differences

  • Not all differences are considered substantial. There are situations, in which some institutions consider that substantial differences exist, whereas other institutions consider the same differences merely as differences.

  • Different conclusions may be drawn, for instance, when a first cycle degree is one year shorter in time of study than the one awarded in the receiving system,

  • There is no European, national or institutional body which would be in the position to give a final recognition decision


Methods supporting a fair recognition

Methods supporting a fair recognition

  • National Information centers (they give advice and reliable, easily accessible information both to individuals and to institutions on matters of recognition and of assessment of qualifications).

  • recognized networks;

  • Diploma supplement;

  • Quality assurance

  • Exploring the potential of qualification framework


Looking forward

Looking Forward

  • to develop new methods for improving recognition.

  • to use and implement existing tools them to their full potential.

  • to focus on key common problems and to develop appropriate ways to solve them.

  • to co-operate and to agree on recommendations for good practice.

  • Legal texts and codes of practice leave plenty of room for interpretation and actual implementation.

  • We have a need for improved communication and explaining.

  • We must develop a global cooperation in recognition.

  • On all levels of academic and non academic we need an EUROPEAN THINKING


Thank you very much for your attention

Thank you very much for your attention

Degree equivalence as a driving force for the international labour market –

a question of the European Culture.


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