EU to Expand 60 Universities With Over 500 HE Institutions By Mid-2024

Europe Higher Education News by Erudera News Jan 19, 2022

European Union Flag

The European Commission has adopted two initiatives to support European higher education, a strategy for universities as well as a Commission proposal for a Council Recommendation on building bridges for successful education cooperation in Europe.

In a press release, the European Commission said that among the flagships initiatives that will boost higher education and research by mid-2024 is expanding 60 universities in Europe with more than 500 higher education institutions. The budget that will be allocated for the matter is €1.1 billion for 2021-2027, Erudera.com reports.

“The aim is to develop and share a common long-term structural, sustainable and systemic cooperation on education, research and innovation, creating European inter-university campuses where students, staff and researchers from all parts of Europe can enjoy seamless mobility and create new knowledge together, across countries and disciplines” EU Commission notes in its media release.

According to the statement, the European strategy for universities aims to support all universities in Europe while they adapt to changing conditions as well as to contribute to Europe’s recovery and resilience.

In order to support universities in Europe, the strategy has proposed the following actions:

  • Reinforce the European dimension of higher education and research
  • Consolidate higher education institutions as lighthouses of the European way of life by supporting actions focusing on the academic careers and relevance for future-proof skills, diversity and inclusion, democratic practices, fundamental rights and academic value
  • Strengthen universities as crucial in changing the twin green and the digital transition
  • Support universities as drivers of EU’s global role and leadership

Meanwhile, the Commission’s proposal for a Council Recommendation intends to contribute to closer cooperation of European universities and colleges, to facilitate the implementation of transnational programs in education, pooling capacity and resources, or to award joint degrees.

“It is an invitation to Member States to take action and create appropriate conditions at national level for enabling such closer and sustainable transnational cooperation, more effective implementation of joint educational and research activities and the European Higher Education Area (Bologna) tools,” the statement reads.

The Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, said that the initiatives would benefit the higher education sector and all students who need modern transnational campuses with easy access to study abroad experiences.

“The European Universities alliances are paving the way; by mid-2024 the European budget will support up to 60 European Universities Alliances with more than 500 universities across Europe,” Gabriel added.

Meanwhile, the Vice-President for Promoting the European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said that with the submitted proposals, the EU aims to advance transnational cooperation in higher education, taking it to a new level.

“Shared values, more mobility, broader scope and synergies to build a genuinely European dimension in our Higher Education,” Schinas said.

Other flagships initiatives that EC mentions include:

  1. Working for a legal statute for alliances of higher education institutions
  2. Working toward joint European degrees
  3. Scale-up the European Student Card initiative

There are around 5,000 higher education institutions in Europe and 17.5 million tertiary education students, 1.35 million people teaching in tertiary education and 1.17 million researchers. 

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