There is one important point I have to stress before I move closer to the core points of my paper, which I have struggled with over the past several years. It is that I cannot deal with the Central-East European region as a single entity. I thought that this time had already passed; that already, some of the former Communist countries are members of NATO, others belong to the OECD, and several will join the European Union shortly, while other countries are in different positions. However, in this paper, I am supposed to look at the entire region, which is a little problematic.
"Lessons learned and recommendations for the future"
Voldemar Tomusk, Higher Education Support Program, Open Society Institute, Budapest
This report offers an attempt to identify the main directions of higher education reforms in the formerly state-socialist countries in Eastern Europe since 1989. Based on various countries’ reform efforts the report identifies the main causes of slowing down and eventually reversing the initial reform initiatives. It goes on to draw a number of recommendations for possible cooperation between higher education systems that once stood on different sides of the iron curtain between East and West.
The evidence on which this report is based from various internationally published scholarly papers on higher education reform and related topics as well as unpublished reports and internationally inaccessible locally published materials. The report also relies on the personal experience of its author who has been involved in East European higher education since 1988 - starting as a senior lecturer, later as a researcher and government official, and since 1995 at the international level as a program manager of the Open Society Institute, Budapest.