What is it?
The way higher education systems are organised and governed and the way they are funded have an important impact on their overall effectiveness. The EU's Europe 2020 strategy stresses that:
Why is it needed?
While spending levels on higher education vary substantially between Member States, total investment in higher education in Europe is too low: 1.3% of GDP on average, compared with 2.7% in the US and 1.5% in Japan. The current pressure for fiscal consolidation has also placed additional pressure on public investments. So maximising the return on resources invested is crucial.
As noted, these challenges require greater flexibility, and autonomous institutions can specialise more easily, promoting better educational and research performance, while fostering excellence within higher education systems. But legal, financial, and administrative restrictions often limit institutional freedom to define strategies and structures and to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
What has been done so far?
Through its support for research and policy cooperation, the European Commission assists Member States to develop effective models of governance and funding in higher education.
Country workshops, organised as part of the Open Method of Coordination in education and training, focus on such issues as institutional governance in higher education and performance-related funding.