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On 27 October the European Commission published its annual work programme for 2011. Although focused specifically on the agenda of one calendar year, the Commission Work Programme (CWP) typically provides a multiannual perspective designed to help stakeholders and other EU institutions plan their work with the Commission. This year’s programme provides an indication of priorities for the period 2011-2014. The document is comprised of five main topical areas, with education addressed in the section entitled “Restoring job growth by accelerating the Europe 2020 reform agenda”. Specifically, the CWP notes that “The Commission will also set out ways in which the EU level can help to modernise higher education and set out its vision for future action to foster knowledge and innovation”.
The general thrust of the Commission’s interest in education is made more concrete by the specific work agenda for 2011 adopted by the Directorate General for Education and Culture. Here, several main considerations will guide activities in the coming year, including further elaboration and implementation of the Youth on the Move initiative; advancement of the modernisation agenda for higher education; and follow-up on the action lines of the Bologna process. A specific objective involves the preparation of a new Commission communication on the modernisation of higher education in Europe, with direct consideration of the challenges linked to internationalisation processes, among other things. Preparations will also be undertaken for the next Bologna ministerial meeting and policy forum to be held in Bucharest in 2012, while the results of U-Multirank, a feasibility study of a multi-dimensional university ranking, will be presented in mid-2011.
The coming year promises to be a busy one, indeed.