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In 2011, the European Commission came up with a Communication entitled Modernising Europe’s higher education systems. This document unfolded the Commission’s policy objectives mainly for intra-European cooperation in the tertiary sector. A similar document, relating to the Commission’s intentions in a global context, is expected to follow, most probably in June. The ACA Newsletter - Education Europe has been able to gain insight into some of the key issues of this document, which is likely to be named European higher education in the world.
One of the principle notions behind the document is that of comprehensive internationalisation strategies, which universities and member states are expected to develop and pursue. Such strategies would entail at least three elements: the mobility of students and staff (plus related issues such as recognition, visas, etc.); the internationalisation of curricula (known as ‘internationalisation at home’) and digitally-based learning; as well as strategic cooperation, partnerships and capacity building. At the level of detail, one can spot many of the pet subjects of recent years, but also new phenomena. One of those is the MOOCs, which the document will apparently highlight as a major development in higher education, even though it is not entirely clear which conclusions to draw from this assessment.
Concerning its own EU-level contribution, the Commission is likely to point to the increased opportunities for third-country cooperation under the new Erasmus for All Programme (which may carry another name in the final version) and the Marie Curie scheme, as well as to U-Multirank and its various other ‘transparency tools’. From all we know, the Communication will at long last pick up a long-time ACA proposal for complementing national information and marketing efforts by a European promotion dimension. It also appears that there are plans to widen the ‘evidence base’ supporting policies on global higher education, by commissioning studies, statistical analysis and expert consultation.