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A document of lasting importance for European higher education was adopted in Bologna in September 1988: the Magna Charta Universitatum (MCU). Signed initially by 388 university rectors, the number of signatories has since risen to 889. The MCU aims at committing universities to play a central role in society and it advocates the principles of institutional autonomy and academic freedom. Since 1988, Europe, the world and their universities have changed. This convinced the leadership of the Magna Charta Observatory (the MCU’s secretariat, so to speak) that the time had come to update the historical document and turn it into the “MCU 2020”. It set up a group of experienced higher education professionals, which drafted the “Magna Charta Universitatum 2020” (MCU 2020).
The Magna Charta Observatory stresses that the overhaul in question is not to remove any of the fundamental values which form the pillar of the 1988 document. The drive to create the MCU 2020 is rather motivated by the attempt to reflect the expanding global outreach of the Observatory and important new framework conditions. Key amongst them are, according to the Observatory, the much enhanced international orientation of universities, challenges in the form of more diverse learner groups and research requirements, advances in IT and their impact on delivery, and increased expectations related to equitableness and sustainability.
The Observatory has published the draft of the MCU 2020 and launched a consultation on the document. The consultation remains open until 15 September 2019. Based on the responses, the Observatory intends to produce the final draft, which is to be adopted at an MCU 2020 conference in Bologna scheduled for 17 September 2020. On the way to the Bologna conference, regional workshops will be held across the globe. ACA encourages higher education institutions, stakeholder institutions, and students and staff to participate in the consultation.
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