Leading European universities must 'safeguard true knowledge'
Four new policy reports are to be unveiled at an international conference Future of European Universities, New Times: New Responsibilities, in Paris at the weekend as part of an international investigation into how European universities can operate at the forefront of the Knowledge Revolution. The keynote speech is to be given by M Jack Lang.
This inquiry is being carried out by the Europaeum, an association of leading European universities including Oxford, Bologna, Bonn, Leiden, Geneva and Prague, and Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne.
The overall inquiry takes the form of three international expert conferences, continuing over the next two years in Berlin (December 2001), Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne (September 2002) and Bonn (June 2003). The study is being supported by the German company, DaimlerChrysler Services AG.
The four reports by leading scholars will set out to answer the following questions:
- How can we maintain language diversity in the new age of technology increasingly dominated by English? The report will argue that plurilingualism should be encouraged, with more languages taught alongside a greater number of degree courses and multi-national courses.
- What are the lessons for leading European universities from the many experiments in international Borderless Teaching? The leading universities, the report argues, have a special duty to provide secure, trusted information, and should be wary of on-line course offers which often seem to run into difficulties.
- How should leading European universities from the West best continue supporting their counterparts in the former East/Central Europe to ensure their full return to Europe? Without significant improvisations in ECE universities after 1989, according to the report, western bodies need to rethink their whole strategy, ensuring more targeted work with individual centres of excellence.
- How can we improve the access to and sharing of data and research findings across Europe? Laws and information need to be dramatically improved to ensure better comparative and actual findings from existing data collections, the report argues.
Keynote speakers include M Jack Lang, the former Secretary of State for Education in France; Lord Weidenfeld, Chairman of Weidenfeld and Nicolson Publishers and founder of the Europaeum; Professor Douwe Breimer, Rector of Leiden University; Professor Michel Kaplan, Rector of Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne and Ben Okri, Prize-winning novelist.
A survey on the use of ICT in universities will reveal that two out of three academics believe that the likelihood of plagiarism has greatly increased with the advent of computers, while 2 out of 3 students believe universities are not geared up sufficiently to meet their computing needs. Lord (George) Weidenfeld, also founder of the Europaeum, said: 'We know universities have a key role to play in the integration process that has dominated Europe for the past 50 years. We want our universities to focus energies specifically on bridging Europe - looking at issues of language, mobility, technology all towards a truly European dimension.'
Dr Paul Flather, Secretary-General of the Europaeum, said: 'Our universities must operate today in a fast moving, complex, commercial and global world. We may take the best of the US model, but we must retain what remains good from our own models and move forward confidently.'
- The Europaeum was founded in 1992 as an association of European universities, with a mission to: promote excellence in academic links in research and teaching collaboration between the Europaeum partners; act as an open academic network linking the Europaeum partners and other bodies in the pursuit of study; serve as a resource for the general support and promotion of European studies; function independently in the search for new ideas; provide opportunities for the joint pursuit of new pan-European initiatives; serve as a high level 'think-tank' exploring new ideas and new roles for universities in the new Learning Age; provide a 'pool of talent' to carry out research and inquiry into problems and questions confronting Europe today and tomorrow; help train and educate future leaders for a new Europe.
- The Europaeum currently consists of seven leading European university institutions: University of Oxford; Universiteit Leiden; Università degli studi di Bologna; Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn; Institut Universitaire de Hautes Etudes Internationales, Geneva; Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne; and Univerzita Karlova V Praze.
- Its programmes include a virtual seminar network, research projects, annual conferences and student summer schools, lectures, joint teaching programmes, staff mobility schemes, and linked scholarship schemes. The Europaeum is also preparing new initiative in joint teaching, which will involve its students taking MA-level programmes at more than one university - so-called new style Euro-Masters - to provide a genuinely European perspective to studies of European political cultures and institutions, European business and culture, the Economics of European Integration and even approaches to European philosophy.
- The aims of the Europaeum European Universities Research Inquiry are as follows: How best to embrace the opportunities of 'borderless education'; How to interpret and meet the new public responsibilities of European universities in the age of learning; How and with whom to build new partnerships to meet the challenges of globalisation.
For more information please contact the Europaeum Secretariat at +44 1865 284482, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.