Course date

14 July - 25 July, 1997
15 February, 1997
Course Director(s): 

Voldemar Tomusk

Open Society Institute, Budapest, Hungary

After several years of large scale social and economic reforms in the Central and East Europe, higher education is apparently the least changed sector in many countries. To certain extent this accounts for traditional conservatism of institutions of higher learning. However, it may also be related to general economic conditions in the countries which have experienced significant downgrading and restructuring of national economies as a part of dismantling the centrally planned systems. These changes have not allowed to make necessary investments into higher education needed to renew or even maintain the existing infrastructure and to renew any significant proportion of the faculty. It is also difficult to hide the fact that for whatever reason higher education which was supposed to lead the former totalitarian countries in Central and East Europe to economic superiority over the "capitalist system" has failed to fulfill its mission and for inability to give applicable outputs is not trusted by the newly emerging private sector in business and industry. As the result of several unfavorable variables higher education within the region with exception of small number of privileged National Universities is suffering from brain drain and deterioration of the infrastructure what makes implementation of any positive program rather difficult. The third important problem is that for the large majority of institutions and many national higher education systems no positive development program in addition to securing day to day survival exists. This leads to a considerable gap between operational and strategic levels of management, or weakness of the strategic level which more often than never finds its expression in inefficient use of limited resources. While changing conservatism inherent to higher education has exceeded the capacity of any agency over the last eight hundred years and relaxing the financial conditions in Central and East European higher education that enrolls approximately five million students is not consistent with funds available to any international organization, our aim is to train individuals who could develop positive programs and implement them in their institutions or national educational systems. Course Description Our aim is to offer an opportunity to junior members of higher education faculty in the Central and East Europe and those of institutional management and expert groups to receive a two-week intensive, practically oriented training in a broad scale of issues related to higher education policy and management. We are paying especial attention to the relevance of the course for Central East European higher education and its recent changes. Learning from bitter experiences of many courses offered for Central East European audience which have had the tendency either to fall into technical details of a particular "Western" system of higher education or to limit the discussion with repeating trivialities we are planning to offer a course which is not too technical but is still connected to practical problems facing higher education in this region. The first half of the course is devoted to general policy issues in higher education - its national and international aspects like recognition of degrees and qualifications and respective international agreements, accreditation and other external quality assurance methods, relationship between higher education and national/international labor markets. Globalization of higher education and emerging contradictions between institutional, national and transnational interests is an issue which cannot be avoided dealing with current developments in central and East European higher education. The second week of the course is devoted to issues related to translation policy into institutional operations and respective decision making processes at the institutional level. Using lectures, group discussions and practical exercises we introduce the procedures of strategic planning, institutional self-study and financial management. Instructors of the course are higher education experts with significant experience in Central and East European higher education from major European higher education research centers supported as much as possible with representatives of the young generation of higher education researchers from the region. Special request In addition to lectures, seminars and group exercises participants of the course are expected to do significant amount of individual reading and writing. By May 1, 1997 accepted applicants have to submit 3.000 word analytical paper on a particular aspect of management or decision making in their home institution. Further elaboration of this text constitutes an obligatory element of the course and finished paper is a prerequisite for successful completion of the course.