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British Council: Building on Diversity: Transforming the Future of Higher Education in Europe

As part of its EU Presidency the UK’s Department for Education and Skills hosted a conference on Higher Education, entitled Building on Diversity: Transforming the Future of Higher Education in Europe.  This conference took place from 9-11 October and was held in Manchester, a city that was at the forefront of the emerging industrial society at the end of the 18th century and which has recently seen the merger of two of its universities to form a new University of Manchester.

The conference focussed on the goals set out in the Lisbon strategy, their implications for higher education and the objectives of the Bologna process.  Three main themes were addressed:

  • Universities and the economy
  • Funding, Leadership and Autonomy
  • Quality Assurance

To complement the discussion on these issues delegates each took part in one of twelve themed visits that had been organised to local Higher Education Institutions.  This offered an opportunity to see the work of the universities at first hand and to ask detailed questions.

Speakers at the conference included the Minister for Higher Education, the President of EUA, the Director General for Higher Education at the Department for Education and Skills, the Chief Executive of the UK Quality Assurance Agency (currently ENQA President) and the Vice Chancellor of the newly reconstituted University of Manchester.

The conference was immediately followed by a meeting of European Directors General of Higher Education and then by a meeting of the Bologna Follow-up Group.