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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU Education Commissioner Vassiliou to EuroFora:Modernize EU Universities vis a vis Russia,China,US

EU Education Commissioner Vassiliou to EuroFora:Modernize EU Universities vis a vis Russia,China,US

Written by ACM
Thursday, 13 September 2012

*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/-[partly UPDATED with 18/9/2012 Addition : See Infra]. - EU is due to make important moves on Higher Education "soon", starting, probably, from "the next few Days", revealed to "EuroFora" the competent EU Commissioner for Culture and Education, MultiLinguism and Youth, Androula Vassioliou, former MEP and 1st Lady of Cyprus, (current EU Council's rotating Presidency during July-December 2012), topically speaking at EU Parliament in the aftermath of a landmark speech by experienced EU Commission's President Joao Barroso, precisely on the current need to launch "Ambitious" EU changes for a stronger, more integrated "Economic Union", firmly supported by a "Political Union" at the foreseable "Horizon" (See Infra).
EU Commissioner Vassiliou was responding to an "EuroFora" question on EU University Education's current challenges, also in relation with Russia, China, USA and other rapidly evolving parts of the World :

 - "I think that we (EU) are in a very close Relationship with both China and the USA, on this", i.e. University Education

- "Because of the Globalization (also) in Education", she basically explained.

=> - "And we (EU) are all Moving towards a Modernization of Higher Education",  the competent EU Commissioner pointed out.

- "It's one of our Priorities", (as f.ex. in EU Commission's "Agenda 2020", etc), added Androula Vassiliou, who is also a former 1st Lady (wife of ex-President of the Republic) of Cyprus, the current holder of EU Council's rotating Chairmanship, whose July - December 2012 Priorities include, inter alia, also  "Issues related to Education and Culture (which) will ...be Highlighted, such as the ... provision of more Qualitative Education and Training", including "in order to meet the needs of the Job Market", of obvious interest particularly in a period of extended unemployment in the curent way out of the Global Crisis.

 + But, are there any important moves to expect in this area from the EU in the foreseeable Future, "EuroFora" asked ?

- EU Commissioner Vassiliou reacted just with a big, spontaneous Smile, and positively replied : - "Yes, very Soon !"

-  In fact, already during "the Next Few Days", she warned...

- But, Vassiliou carefuly kept her "secret" : - We shall probably speak about that "on Next Tuesday".

I.e. on September 18, in Brussels, the day scheduled for EU Commission plenary's next session, just after this week's presence of all EU Commissioners in Strasbourg, together with President José Manuel Barroso, the key-note speaker of EU Parliament Plenary's 2012 "State of the Union" Debate with MEPs, where he gave even an official "Green Light" and Stimulated further  the recently launched Movement towards the necessary creation of a deeper European "Political Union", (Comp. earlier relevant "EuroFora"s NewStories).

Almost at the same moment, (on Wednesday, September 19), at another exceptional move related to Strategic decisions on Europe's Future, Cyprus' President Dimitris Christofias, current EU Council's rotating Chairman for the period July-December 2012, is due to meet in Brussels both EU Commission's President Barroso and European Council's President Van Rompuy, mainly on evolving Negotiations about the Strategic issue of EU's 2014-2020 Financial Perspectives, where a Decision is expected to be prepared before the forthcoming December 2012 EU Brussels' Summit.

According to the "Programme" of the 7-12/2012 Cyprus' EU Presidency (which includes finalisation of Strategic Decisions on Eu's MultiAnnua Financial Perspectives for the period of 2014-2020), "in the field of Higher Education, Focus will be given on the Modernisation of Universities", with "Emphasis...to Quality....and Internationalisation". But also "on Teaching and Learning Excellence", which "requires the Reformation...of Europe’s higher education", including by "support (to) Personalised Learning, (by) facilitat(ing) Access through Distance learning and Virtual Mobility" (i.e. via Internet+), in parallel to "streamlin(ing) Administration and creat(ing) New Opportunities for Research".


Precisely, even a Young European Scientist, as, f.ex. Dr. Constantin Marcopoulos, "EuroFora"s Scientific Advisor, particulary after visiting not only EU key Cities as Paris, London, Luxembourg, Marseille, Mainz, Brixen/Bressanone, Bonn, etc. but also, (immediately after succesfully presenting his PHD Thesis at a Panel of University Professors from Strasbourg, Paris, Marseille and Geneva), Shanghai (China)'s Mega-city, famous not only since the 2010 International Fair's Heads of State/Government Summit (Comp. relevant "EuroFora"s NewsReport: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/shangai.html), but even by its Worldwide "Shanghai International University Ranking" system, he felt similar Concerns with several Young Researchers from France and other EU Countries, expressed at a Conference in EU Parliament in Strasbourg at the eve of the 2012 French  Elections, on the occasion of a European Survey's publication, about the big Challenges that European "University Education, specially at the borderline with Research", as he said, has to face in today's Global Competition, including vis a vis USA and other RST poles in the World. - "We have to compare and study the various differencies existing today among evolving University Education systems, both in Europe and elsewhere in the World, in order to feel the need and succeed to find better solutions for the EU", he suggested, pointing at a kind of work usually done in a PanEuropean area, (i.e. f.ex. Russia included, etc.) by the CoE, possibly in Cooperation with -or at the demand of- the EU, together with UNESCO, etc.


=> -  "We (EU) need to be much more Ambitious about Education, Research, Innovation and Science", stressed earlier this week to MEPs President Barroso, reminding also, in this regard, that, already, "Europe is a World Leader in Key sectors such as Aeronautics, AutoMotives, Pharmaceuticals, and Engineering, with Global Market Shares above a Third" (+ 1/3),  while, "despite the Economic Slowdown", nevertheless, "over the last Decade",  "Industrial Productivity increased by + 35 %", with "some 74 Million Jobs depend(ing) on Manufacturing", and " Start-up Firms in the EU" creating "4 Million Jobs every year", as he noted.

This is an integral part of the "Economic Union" that Europe "Needs" Today in order to become  "Competitive" enough  to create "Sustainable Growth", i.e. "the LifeBlood of our European Social Market model", that "creates Jobs and supports our Standard of Living", in basic harmony with elementary "Human Rights" and Democratic "Values", which "ultimately .. depends on" a "Political Union at the Horizon", (i.e. a European "Federation of Nation-States),  as EU Commission's President highlighted earlier this week in Strasbourg, where he launched a vibran call also "for the Development of a European Public Space", where main "Issues are discussed and Debated from a European perspective", as he highlighhted, (Comp. also other, relevant "EuroFora"s NewsReports" this week, including, f.ex., on European Political Parties, EU's Enlargement criteria, etc).

EU's move come while PanEuropean CoE's Assembly is also due to debate and vote, at the beginning of October in Strasbourg, on 2 new Reports about the "International openess and Consolidation", as well as the "Governance" of the "European Higher Education Area".



(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already sent earlier to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate and Full, Final Version may be published asap).

                                                                                                                                                   +  18 September 2012 brief but topical UPDATE :
=> EU Commissioner Vassiliou keeps her promises ?!

 Precisely at the Date she initially revealed to "EuroFora" (see above), EU launched a pioneer Group for "Higher Education Modernization", chaired by former Irish President Mary McAleese, and composed by 8 High Level Experts, etc., anounced on Tuesday, September 18, 2012, in a subsequent Press Conference in Brussels, the EU Commissioner in charge of Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androula Vassiliou.
With a 3 Years Mandate, the EU High Level Group will focus at first on Excellence and Quality in Teaching and Learning, before dealing also with the Digital Technologies' new factor. The Group will listen also to various Stake-Holders in Higher Education, the competent EU Commissioner Vassiliou officialy anounced.

+ "Not all Reforms require more Money, sometimes it's mainly a question of better Organization", she rightfully replied to 2 or 3 Questions which had focused almost exclusively on Funding issues only, (while it's well known that often, it's also by reducing Bureaucracy, ameliorating efficient Relations, and by finding ways to stimulate the Consciousness, Motivation, and Knowledge of both Teachers and Students towards developing the Best ways to boost People's capacities in Higher Education Learning which can be a crucial key for success, where "Quality and Excellence" matters too, including "in Growth and Jobs", as she said.).
- EU "Cares for Education" and "for its Young People", also because it's the "Lever of EU's Future" , stressed from the outset, the EU Group's President, former President of Ireland (1997-2011), Mary McAleese, (whose Country will chair EU Council in the next period of January-June 2013, immediately after Vassiliou's Cyprus, of which she was 1st Lady, will conclude it EU's rotating chair on December 31, 2012).

+ "We'll also make an open Forum for all stake-holders", f.ex. "Teachers, Students Public, Governments, etc., and we'll give them a Chance to speak", before studying the issues and formulating, later-on, our recommendations, added the new EU Higher Education Group's President, McAleese.

Watch the full Press Conference at EBS, in : http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/player/streaming.cfm?type=ebsvod&sid=210851 (Ref-88130)





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