ISSN 1857-4122
Publicaţie ştiinţifică de profil Categoria B
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ISSN 1857-4122
Publicaţie ştiinţifică de profil Categoria B
Trimite un articol

The main tendencies of reforming of higher education in the EU

L.I. MYSKIV,1 Candidate of Law Science, Ukraine

European tendencies of the higher education development suggest new approaches to the reforming of the educational spheres in each country, that is aimed at joining the Union. So, the lack of experience approximation in teaching to reality in the practical knowledge application, which is very poorly represented by the European systems of education remains the key concern. Reports of European Commission and performance of the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, that provide the authors opportunity to characterize the status and prospects of the higher education reform in the EU, to define problem areas of modernization of the higher education in the European Union strategy were analyzed in the article.

Key words: higher education of the EU, reforming, modernization of the higher education, European educational systems.


В исследовании проанализировано отчеты Европейской Комиссии, также выступления Еврокомисара образования, культуры и молодежи, которые предоставили возможность автору охарактеризовать тенденции реформирования высшего образования в Европейском Союзе, очертить проблемные вопросы реализации стратегии модернизации высшего образования в Европейском Союзе.

Ключевые слова: высшее образование Европейского Союза, реформирование, модернизация высшего образования, образовательные европейские системы.

The global financial crisis has drawn international attention to the educational processes and their influence on the formation of economic stability in each state. In the period of 2008 -2012 was conducted a number of researches that reveal the causes and possible variations of stabilizing of this situation. The youth unemployment rate in the European Union [5] is 23%, while at the same time, the available vacancies, there are over 2 million. European Union has put considerable effort to find the best ways to reform higher education in the region. European Commission reports and speeches of European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth [1], [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] provide an opportunity to describe the main trends in the reform of higher education in the EU. In 2012, the European Commission presented a strategy for the reform of higher education aimed at helping the EU economy. The strategy has identified the priority sectors in which EU Member States have to implement a number of changes to modernize education and elaborated on how the European Union will support their implementation.

The European Union has approximately 4,000 universities and other higher education institutions and more than 19 million students [3]. Over the past five years, the number and diversity of higher education institutions has increased significantly. This trend is associated with the pursuit of EU member states to overcome the low level of education, which has been recognized as one of the factors of the economic crisis. According to the European Commission [5] 73 million Europeans, about 25% of adults have low levels of education. About 20% of 15-year-olds do not have adequate literacy skills, and in five countries, more than 25% of low achievers in reading (Bulgaria 41%, Romania 40%, Malta 36%, Austria 27.5% and Luxembourg 26%). Precocious school leaving is still unacceptably high in countries such as Spain where it was 26.5%, Portugal 23.2%. (EU target of less than 10%). Less than 9% of adult learning throughout life (EU target is 15%).

Important issues the EU higher education may estimate inadequate educational management at the regional level. Each member state has its own education system, its inherent characteristics, but the European model is still not determined. First of all it concerns the economic components: public and private, national and regional (European) investment.

The main documents in the sphere of education in the EU do not contain specific recommendations to member countries, the strategy of financial security and the development of educational systems. The basis of the financial support to higher education in Europe is EU grants. Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom (Wales) have a system of universal grants for students of full-time tuition, provided that they meet the basic requirements of their studies. In these countries do not set other criteria. For all other states, the main issue is the grants based on financial need or academic performance or a combination of these two basic criteria. The largest numbers of states have incorporated these two criteria, providing some grants based on financial need and the other on the basis of academic achievement. Estonia combines criteria based on the courses or professional knowledge. Greece provides its grants primarily for student performance criteria and grants for outstanding performance in exams, regardless on their financial situation, but the award of grants is also considered the financial position for students. A small group of states: Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Finland, the UK and Liechtenstein make grants based on financial need, although in some cases the grant amount or the duration of its provision will depend on the performance.

At the same time, the global investment trends [7] in higher education continuously growing. Example, the costs of the People’s Republic on education reached a level of 4% of GDP, the total budget spent on educational sphere in the past five years amounted to 7.79 trillion. In addition to public funding of the PRC, grow charitable contributions to Chinese higher education. In 2012, it amounted to some 787 million dollars. In the context of intensive higher education funding PRC increased spending on research and experimental-design work, which in 2012 amounted to 162.24 billion dollars.

Despite on the fact that some EU Member States determine priority modernization of higher education systems in general, the potential of European higher education institutions is not use. That is why the “education” has become the center of Europe 2020 strategy, which aims to ensure 40% of young higher education qualification. The reform strategy of the European Commission was formed analyzes, research and consultation with higher education institutions, teachers, researchers, students, businesses, trade unions, governments and international organizations. The result of this collaboration was presented in 2011, social document [1] “Modernization of Higher Education in Europe: Funding and social aspects.” Which characterizes the general aspects of the need for flexibility in higher education, its development and direction of the participation in higher education, the levels of public funding and the priorities of its distribution, the funding formula and the social dimension, the impact of the economic crisis? In the third section of the paper addresses the issues of student fees and support, criteria for grants and loans, tax exemptions and other privileges, the system of financing students. Analysis of the provisions of these documents became the basis for determining the basic steps that involves reforming the higher education of the European Union, in particular:

— Improving the quality and relevance of higher education;

— Increasing the number of graduates and the reduction of persons who do not complete higher education institutions;

— Review and development of training programs that will meet the needs of both the individuals who receive higher education and the labor market;

— Promote the use of international best practices in teaching and research;

— Providing more opportunities for students to obtain additional skills through study and internships abroad;

— Promoting cross-border cooperation in enhancing the performance of higher education;

— Increase in the training of research personnel for the development of the industry;

— Strengthening the links between education, research and business; – ensuring efficient investment in higher education.

Highlighting the effectiveness of such sphere as the provision of study and training abroad, it is worth tonote about the effectiveness of the program «Erasmus». This is a non-profit program of the EU exchange of students and teachers between universities in member states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Norway, Turkey and Croatia. The program provides an opportunity to study, an internship or spread to another country that participates in the program. Terms of learning and training can be from 3 months to 1 year each in the amount of up to 2 years. Erasmus is an EU program “Continuing Education 2007-2013» (Lifelong Learning Program 2007-2013).

A document presented by the European Commission in November 2012 – “Rethinking Education» (Rethinking Education) was result of rethinking the state of the EU higher education [6]. So, the main issue is the lack of concern approximation of experience in education to the reality of practice in the application of knowledge, which is rather poorly, represented European systems of education. The main purpose of «Rethinking Education» is to encourage member states to take immediate measures to ensure that young people’s ability to develop the skills and competence of ownership required in the labor market and professional growth. Consequently, the European educational system must connect a national characteristics, together with the main task – to ensure the modernization of methods to assess the student’s training, where the main customer and the appraiser is the labor market, both national and regional (EU). The means that will ensure the realization of this strategy include the following:

— The use of ICT (information and communication systems);

— Use of OER (Open Educational Resources), which should be applied in all educational contexts;

— Consistency in raising educational qualifications of the teaching staff;

— Strengthening the links between education and employers;

— The application of learning in the workplace;

— The introduction of new standards for the management of enterprise development in education;

— Analysis of the impact of the EU on the use of ICT and OER in education.

Application of information and communication technology (ICT) provides for acquisition by a person of business and civic skills that are fundamental to the preparation of young people for work in today’s market. It should be noted that in the European educational systems, the use of ICT for formal as compared to the basic skills of literacy, mathematics and science. Part of the problem lies in the complexity of evaluation. Part of the problem lies in the complexity of evaluation. Only 11 European countries (Bulgaria, Estonia, Ireland, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Finland) have standardized procedures for assessing civic skills that are focused on the development of critical thinking and active participation in society. Assessing the development of entrepreneurial skills and ICT does not exist at all in some countries (Croatia, Iceland, Norway and Turkey, etc.).

Reports of the European Commission for the 2010-1012 year give reason to believe that it is the skills are the basis for performance, Europe must respond to the worldwide increase in the quality of education and skills acquisition. European Commission forecasts for more than a third of jobs in the EU will require high qualifications in 2020 and that only 18% of the jobs are expected to be low-skilled.

The main tasks of the higher education reforms of the European Union should include the following:

— The development of transversal and fundamental skills at all levels of education (emphasis on information and communication skills);

— The introduction of new standards in the study of a foreign language: 2020 50% of 15 year olds should know first foreign language (compared to 42% in 2012) and at least 75% should learn a second foreign language (61% – 2012);

— Expansion of investment opportunities for the development of higher education (public and private funding is necessary to stimulate innovation and increase mutual exchange between science and business);

— The improvement of the recognition of qualifications and skills, including those that have been built outside the formal system of education and training;

— Increase access to education through open educational resources;

— Redefining the training, motivation of teaching staff, the application of the category “entrepreneurial teaching staff”;

— The maximum return on investment and dialogue at national and European level in the field of financing of vocational training and higher education.

As a result, it is worth noting that the reform of higher education in Europe continues, further education is recognized priority for upgrades and special attention at the regional level. The main strategic target of higher education reform is the development of skills through the use of information and communication technologies and open organizational resources. The problems that have appeared in front of the EU Member States, towards the realization of the strategy of “Rethinking Education» (Rethinking Education) should include the following:

— Ensuring receipt of transversal and fundamental skills, which requires the development of national education systems of their own implementation mechanisms of formation of entrepreneurial skills, combine them with the base, which gives rise to the need to review a number of legal acts, changes in management approaches in the implementation of the education systems of each country;

— Improving the quality of skills requires the development of world class systems (VET), which can greatly help reduce skills shortages through the highest level of cooperation at the European level;

— Encouraging the full recognition of qualifications by improving academic recognition systems;

— The use of the potential of information and communication technologies and open education resources for learning;

— Training and support for teaching staff in Europe. The teaching staff is faced with rapidly varying needs, which require a new competence for teachers, teachers, senior staff in higher education.

— To ensure the most effective investment at all levels of education to total expenditure on vocational training and higher education. Investment in education and training will be the key to increased productivity and economic growth of the EU.









1 Myskiv L.I., Candidate of Law Science Associate Professor of the Department of International Law and Comparative Jurisprudence Kyiv International University.

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