Archive for May, 2008

Modernising higher education in the EU’s neighbouring countries.

May 10, 2008

Modernising higher education in the EU’s neighbouring countries. 

The European Commission has launched the fourth phase of the Tempus programme, which supports the modernisation of higher education in the 28 partner countries of Western Balkans, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.

A conference held in Cairo, Egypt, on 7-8 May 2008 will concentrate on the issue of quality and the experience of the Tempus programme in this field since its beginnings in 1990. The conference will also serve as a platform for dialogue between academics, experts and students from the 27 EU Member States and 28 Tempus partner countries.

On the eve of the conference, Jan Figel, the European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, expressed: “Tempus will continue to promote the modernisation of higher education in the partner countries, enhance the quality and relevance of higher education, and build up the capacity of higher education institutions in the partner countries to assist them in opening up to society and the world.”

The results of a study commissioned by the European Commission indicate that Tempus has had a considerable impact, particularly by setting in motion the long and difficult shift towards output-oriented rather than input-oriented education.

The majority of the 2000 universities participating in Tempus projects have developed internal guidelines for quality assurance, including methods for self-assessment and peer reviews. In some countries, mainly in the Western Balkans, Tempus has helped to establish genuinely independent national quality assurance and accreditation agencies.

However, if quality is to be recognised as a strategic issue at university level, its place within the universities should be more visible, and appropriate levels of human and financial resources should be allocated to it. In many countries of the EU’s Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood there is still an urgent need to develop effective materials and courses for staff development in quality assurance mechanisms.

For further information on above, and on the Tempus study on quality enhancement in higher education, please check:

Povl Tiedemann

May 2008









OECD Assessment of Higher Education Outcomes.

May 1, 2008

At an informal meeting of OECD Education Ministers in Tokyo in January 2008 there was considerable interest in the possibility of assessing Higher Education Outcomes internationally. Ministers are aware of the complexity of the task, and a proposal to conduct a feasibility study was welcomed.


While most people accept that rankings are here to stay and that better account needs to be taken of learning outcomes, some are concerned about the percieved risk that a simplistic approach could be misused to create another spurious ranking. The proposed feasibility will seek to address these fears.


The feasibility study will be conducted in 2008 and 2009 and OECD is in the process of appointing a project manager whose first task will be to ensure funding for an institutional commitment to the feasibility study. It is now expected that at least six countries will be involved.


The Chair’s summary from above Ministerial meeting is available on the IMHE website under “activities” on




Source: imhe



Povl Tiedemann

May 2008