Edition 91 - November 2008

Universities rankings on the EU agenda?

As anticipated, the creation of a European universities ranking remained at the top of the French higher education agenda, precisely in the context of France holding the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. As announced in the previous months (for further details see the August edition of the ACA Newsletter – Education Europe), Valerie Pécresse, the French minister for higher education and research, brought the topic into the spotlight again. First, at an international conference organised in Paris under the auspices of the French presidency - International comparisons of education systems: a European model? - and second, at this month’s meeting of the EU Education, Youth and Culture Council (EYC) in Brussels.

At the conference, which drew relevant stakeholders in higher education rankings, the French minister asked for a joint effort to put together a more accurate ranking of European universities and their counterparts world-wide. She defined this as a necessity in order to confer “a new impetus to Erasmus, and more generally to student mobility in Europe”. Although a French endeavour, the French official called for the European Commission to undertake the task of creating a more relevant methodology for a European universities ranking system.

It is foreseen that the European Commission will follow suit, especially since the Commissioner for Education, J?n Figel’, has formerly expressed his support for the CHE Excellence Rankings (for background details consult the ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, December 2007). Therefore the main issues still under a veil of a doubt are how the Commission will proceed to reach this objective and how long it might take before there will actually be a European higher education ranking to rival the famous Shanghai annual classification.  

Valerie Pécresse - speech

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