In accordance with the ‘Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, and the Committee of the Regions on a Renewed EU Agenda for Higher Education’ in 2017, we proceed on a contemplative journey to examine developments in the landscape of higher education. This article takes measures on the profound transformations and priorities outlined within this visionary agenda, which holds the promise of framing the future of higher education within Europe and beyond.
In the domain of higher education, it is key that we dive on a transformative journey, aligning our collective efforts with the renewed EU agenda. This new direction aims to address the pressing challenges of our time by focusing on four pivotal priorities, each supported by dedicated EU-level initiatives:
- Tackling Future Skills Mismatches: As we navigate the complexities of the modern world, we must ensure that our education systems foster skills that are not just relevant today but are adaptable for the future. This priority underscores the importance of promoting excellence in skills development to bridge the gap between education and the evolving demands of the job market.
- Building Inclusive and Connected Higher Education Systems: Higher education should be a beacon of inclusivity, welcoming talent from all backgrounds. It should be a dynamic, civic-minded community, deeply connected to the world around it. Academics and students have a vital role in championing empirical facts, evidence-based research, and effective communication of findings.
- Ensuring Higher Education Institutions Foster Innovation: The path to progress is paved with innovation. Our higher education institutions should be hubs of innovation, promoting the brightest minds and ideas. They should be at the frontline of research and development, driving societal advancement.
- Supporting Effective and Efficient Higher Education Systems: Efficiency and effectiveness are predominant in ensuring that our higher education systems remain accessible and impactful. This priority encourages collaboration between educational institutions, schools, and vocational training providers to prepare and guide students based on their unique talents, irrespective of their backgrounds.
Creating a truly inclusive higher education landscape means that the student population should reflect the diversity of our society. This involves coordinated efforts from governments, schools, and higher education institutions. The groups underrepresented in higher education should be provided with the necessary skills, mentoring, and career guidance to overcome obstacles.
Inclusive higher education goes beyond financial support. It demands a holistic approach, where teaching and assessment methods are carefully designed to mentor and support students. Campuses should be safe, free from discrimination, and conducive to learning. Flexibility in study options and recognition of prior learning are essential steps toward greater accessibility.
The European Commission is committed to facilitating this dialogue and engaging with Member States, the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions, the Economic and Social Committee, and the European Investment Bank Group to ensure alignment with EU funding programs.
This renewed agenda not only underscores the Commission’s commitment to supporting young people but also emphasizes the role of higher education in building prosperous, inclusive, and democratic societies. It is a call to action, a roadmap to a brighter future, and a shared vision that we must pursue.
Together, we can shape a more inclusive, innovative, and impactful higher education landscape for Europe, contributing to a brighter and comprehensive future for all.
The DIFFABILITY project is developing (1) a Service Pack based on the state-of-art and needs analysis of the target groups; (2) a remote and accessible Learning Curriculum for HEIs, adapted to Differently Abled Students with visual/ hearing impairment; and (3) a Transition Pack adapted for the successful shift to WBL of Differently Abled Students.
The DIFFABILITY project is implemented by 6 partners: VYTAUTO DIDZIOJO UNIVERSITETAS (Lithuania); UNIVERZA V LJUBLJANI (Slovenia); OTB Europe (Portugal); Italienische Handelskammer München-Stuttgart Camera di Commercio Italo – Tedesca (Germany); CHAMBRE DE COMMERCE BELGO-ITALIENNEASBL (Belgium); Egitimde Gorme Engelliler Dernegi (Turkey); TURKIYE GENCLIK BIRLIGI DERNEGI (Turkey).