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European Commission creates directorate for higher education

On 1 June 2010, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture will create a Directorate entirely dedicated to higher education. So-called Directorate C, under the title “Lifelong Learning: Higher Education and International Affairs”, is mostly to be composed of a number of units currently spread over the old Directorates A and B. Directorate C will be led by Jordi Curell Gotor (currently in charge of Directorate A) and comprises the following units:

•    Unit C1 (formerly B3) is headed by Barbara Nolan and is in charge of higher education institutions and Erasmus
•    Unit C2 (formerly A2) is in charge of the European Institute of Technology (EIT) and headed by Lucia Recalde Langarica
•    Unit C3, which is new, looks after the People Programme / Maria Curie, with George Bingen at the helm
•    Unit C4 (formerly A5), responsible for international (‘third-party’) cooperation and programmes, is run by Jan Pakulski

Some observers believe the creation of the new Directorate is indicative of an enhanced importance attributed to higher education in the framework of overall education policies within the Commission. Others view it as a predominantly administrative move. The creation of the Directorate follows a change at the top of the Directorate General: on 1 May, Jan Truszczyński succeeded Odile Quintin as Director General.  The 59-year-old Pole joined the European Commission in 2007 as a Deputy Director-General for Enlargement.  Earlier on (1996 to 2001), Jan Truszczyński was the Ambassador of Poland to the EU, as well as Secretary of State in the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was also Poland's chief negotiator during its EU accession negotiations.

European Commission