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Portuguese Presidency Priorities for Higher Education

Reform and Modernisation of European Universities Higher education plays a central role in the social and economic development of knowledge-based societies as providers of tertiary education and training, contributors to culture, and through the production of new knowledge and scientific research.

The Presidency wishes to contribute to the process of the modernization of higher education in Europe. Following the footsteps of the fifth Ministerial Bologna meeting (May 2007), it is important that Member States acknowledge the reforms in each country so as to share experiences and to design ways fostering the internationalisation of higher education in Europe.

The Commission has delivered several communications The role of the universities in the Europe of knowledge (2003), Mobilising the brainpower of Europe: enabling universities to make their full contribution to the Lisbon Strategy (2005), and Delivering on the modernisation agenda for universities: education, research and innovation (2006) that have characterised the landscape and highlighted the need for change, while also presenting recommendations.

Establishing new and ambitious targets for Universities at the European level should be part of a new public service contract with European higher education institutions, while respecting the diversity of institutions, the demand for quality and increased international competition for qualified human resources, and the promotion and generalisation of effective lifelong learning methods. [extract]

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