(Santiago Iniguez' recent book thelearningcurvebook.com)
European universities should look to the US for a route back to excellence, argues Santiago Iñiguez de Onzoño
Greece was home to the Academy founded by Plato in the 4th century BC, the first Western higher education institution. Bologna in Italy was the cradle of the first university in the 11th century. One millennium later, these two countries, along with the Republic of Ireland, Portugal and Spain, have seen their governments swept away by the current economic crisis. This also implies changes in the future political agendas for higher education, particularly given the significant cuts expected to public budgets. It is very likely that similar reforms and budgetary adjustments will occur in countries such as France and Belgium in the medium term. Inevitably, the economic interdependence within Europe will spread budgetary adjustments to most countries in the continent, including those that stand resilient today.
One of the most severely affected areas of austerity policies will certainly be public education. But, as well as posing threats, times of crisis bring many opportunities that could in fact help to rejuvenate Europe's universities...