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Posts Tagged ‘Ulrich Beck

EU higher education system; (Mar. 15, 2010)

There are currently hot discussions on what kind of university system students in the European Union want.

For example, Vienna is welcoming 46 education ministers of Europe on March 11 and 12, 2010 to celebrate the anniversary of 10 years of the Bologna (in Italy) accord.

In 1999, 29 European States adopted a common declaration for the creation of a “European higher education space” to be applicable in 2010, so that any university student can transfer to other universities within Europe.

For this objective, there was the need to agree on:

1.  Compatible diplomas and curriculum.  The first diploma or cycle (bachelor degree) was to be of 3 years and obtained within the Nation-State of the student; the second cycle or masters was to be of 2 years and the PhD degree could be obtained at any university selected by the student across borders.

2. This accord was to encourage mobility and promote professional formation.  Universities agreeing to compatible standards were evaluated twice a year.  Although this accord was not initiated by the EU it benefited from the active support in investment by the European Investment Bank for modernizing university programs and infrastructure toward research/development and innovation/competitiveness.

While the ministers of education are celebrating, a counter movement is actively demonstrating in Vienna.  The movement is denouncing the non-democratic accord (non participation in reforms by the people) and worrying that universities are being transformed into centers for market oriented products (students) instead of graduating well-rounded conversant graduating students in world challenges and problems that require global resolutions.

Ulrich Beck, a German sociology emeritus professor who regularly teaches at Harvard, is worried that the first cycle of 3 years is inevitably dropping general knowledge courses and pressuring students to attend 60 hours of courses per week.  He claims that universities are still educating within the Nation-State concept.

For example, the notion of Nation is transformed into Nation-State, society in general into national society, and history into the national history in order to strengthen national unity and cohesion.  These programs inevitably translated into imperialism tendencies in mentality and practices.

Thus, modern general knowledge in Europe should no longer be exclusively focused on national education (this should be the job in secondary schools), but emphasis should be on modern international understanding of challenges and problems.

Global resolution is the job of the educated masses as well as the elite classes.

General knowledge should be intended into forming international citizens ready to participate in solidarity with developing states

I suggest that the accord of Bologna restructures the academic first cycle program as follows:

First, the first cycle needs to be split into two qualifications or degrees and extended to 3 and a half-year.

Second, Qualification (A) of 18 months should be related to world challenges such as environment, poverty, health, deforestation, decimation of species, solidarity associations, NGO, the European Union organization, policy making procedures, and so forth.

This general knowledge on world challenges and global resolution program can be selected by the student among the universities across borders that have excellent current general knowledge programs; anyway, most subtends would love to spend time away from their nation-state for a change as they graduate from high school.

Third, Qualification (B) of 2 years will focus on the fields of interest for market demands or job carrier.  This cycle will be done within the nation-state universities.

Otherwise, many universities will experience harsh competition from heavy weight more famous and solidly grounded universities in the more developed States in Europe and be forced to close down.

This suggestion combines the need for global general education and encourages universities to upgrade their programs related to global challenges and resolutions.

This reformatting of the first cycle is a pragmatic solution that transforms universities into centers of equality among classes differing in financial means and privileges.

It is imperative to bridge the chasm between inter-connected cosmopolitan elite and the medium and lower classes in matters relevant to decisions on global resolution.

Otherwise, middle classes people will be forced to think and work locally; thus, unable to compete globally and reduced to frequent upheavals in a fast internationally changing environment.




May 2023

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