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European Commission unveils ‘testing’ plans for ‘University of the Future’

14 July, 2020

According to the latest report, the European Commission has revealed 24 additional alliances are joining the European Universities network, adding to the initial network of 17 announced in 2019.’ As part of promoting European education system, a total budget of upto 287 million euro has been made available to 41 universities. This is part of the proposed the European Universities initiative of 2017 in line with the overall vision for the creation of a European Education Area by 2025. According to the plan, “each alliance will receive €5m from the Erasmus+ program and up to €2m from the Horizon 2020 program for three years to start implementing their plans and pave the way for other higher education institutions across the EU to follow.” The commission believes that this will make European education more attractive and will also work as a test bed for the ‘Universities of the Future.’

At a time when many countries are trying to present an attractive picture for the international students, EU too has joined the race. The European Universities are a key to ‘European Education Area’, commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel said.“The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that deeper cooperation across borders, disciplines and cultures is the only way to recover from the crisis and to build resilience,” she noted. There are multiple studies which have suggested in the in the Post- Brexit scenario, the European universities will have to make them not only attractive for the home students, but also to the international students. Moreover, German universities are already taking a lead with other global universities.

The commission has focused on several important areas including the digital mobility capacity. Universities across the world have focused on this to survive the jolt they received after the Covid19 pandemic. What is more, the European leading universities are looking for a long term solution. Sophia Eriksson Waterschoot, director Youth, Education and Erasmus+, said ‘blended virtual and physical mobility had been embedded throughout the Erasmus program in response to the crisis’. “We have agreed to give organisational support for all mobility, whether they are virtual, blended or physical in the end,” she said. The EC in fact applauded the universities which worked towards a blended mode of teaching. While the sector is still going through a learning period, Waterschoot warned that one lesson learned is that universities, member states and students have “huge digital disparities”. However, the European University Association has raised concerns with the latest EC recovery plan, as reported by Pie News.

Additionally, the European Commission is planning an update to digital education plan, which will be released by September 2020, which is expected to push the ‘digital capacity of educational institutions’ for all levels of education. The Pandemic has acted as an accelerator towards the digitisation of education.  The coming days will see more and more of blended form of education taking the centre stage. But this true that the Europe’s universities can be a kind of test bed for universities of the future.


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