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Destination Europe? – Insights from the conference speakers

The ACA 2006 Conference “Destination Europe? Players, goals and strategies in enhancing the attractiveness of European universities”, is getting closer. The ACA Newsletter – Education Europe has spoken to some of the conference speakers to gather their views on the conference theme, high up on the European higher education policy agenda.

“The transformation of political ideas and ideals into operation” - this is how Rolf Hoffmann, Director of the German-American Fulbright Commission and speaker at the upcoming ACA conference “, summarises the aim of the event. “We have to overcome the question marks and define where we stand, where we want to go, and how we get there.” Rolf Hoffmann will present his views on how European universities should position themselves on the global higher education market.

In this debate, one region is of particular importance: Asia, with its emerging knowledge economies. What is happening in these countries, and how will it affect Europe and its higher education? Neil Kemp, former Director of Education UK at the British Council, will give an overview of this issue in Bergen. “Asian countries will face major capacity problems while trying to increase participation rates”, he says. “In India, for example, the demand for places could result in participation rates in post-secondary education growing from 8 to 20 percent by 2020. The millions of additional student places required are unlikely to be provided by the government, which will in turn lead to a proliferation of private providers.” He also underlined the impact of the global trend to charge students cost-covering fees, and the growing demand for postgraduate education. “What role can European institutions play, what can we do? In-country delivery, for instance is an issue we should look into.”

Destination Europe?, jointly organised with ACA’s Norwegian member SIU, will take place in Bergen, Norway, from 18 to 20 June 2006. The conference will explore the question whether or not Europe is really “the most-favoured destination” of students and researchers from around the world, as European leaders demanded a few years ago it must become, and what our universities and colleges must still do, in terms of quality improvement and international marketing, to enhance their attractiveness vis-à-vis other continents. For more information on the theme, the programme and online registration, please visit ACA's website or contact the secretariat at . Tel. +32 2 513 22 41 - Fax +32 2 513 17 76

"Destination Europe?" Conference information