Old orthodoxies

July 14, 2016

Although Howard Hotson is correct that the earliest university to be established in what is now the European Union was Bologna (1088), he should cast his net more widely to identify the first “European university” (“Europe’s universities: an unbreakable alliance”, Features, 7 July).

Some scholars, for example Gelensecér Evá (2013), have pointed out that more than 3,000 students were educated at the Ohrid Literary School in what is now the Republic of Macedonia, referred to in the literature as the “first Slavonic University” or “the Ohrid University of St Climent”, founded in 886. Like later institutions established in Western Europe, it was focused on training clergy, in its case for the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Whether or not Professor Hotson would recognise OLS as a “university” in the modern sense, it raises the question of what we mean by “Europe” and whether UK universities are so preoccupied with the alleged problems resulting from Brexit that they fail to appreciate academic and research opportunities in the 22 members of the European Higher Education Area that are not EU member states, such as the Republic of Macedonia, which is proud of its OLS heritage. Working with bright young people, encouraging joint and dual degrees, mobility within Erasmus+, participation in Horizon 2020 and research with an impact factor are as much part of our university’s daily work as that of universities in the UK.

Dennis Farrington
President of the university board
South East European University
Republic of Macedonia


Send to

Letters should be sent to: THE.Letters@tesglobal.com
Letters for publication in Times Higher Education should arrive by 9am Monday.
View terms and conditions.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Post-doctoral Research Associate in Chemistry

University Of Western Australia

PACE Data Support Officer

Macquarie University - Sydney Australia

Associate Lecturer in Nursing

Central Queensland University
See all jobs

Most Commented

women leapfrog. Vintage

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman offer advice on climbing the career ladder

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

Mitch Blunt illustration (23 March 2017)

Without more conservative perspectives in the academy, lawmakers will increasingly ignore and potentially defund social science, says Musa al-Gharbi

Alexander Wedderburn

Former president of the British Psychological Society remembered

Michael Parkin illustration (9 March 2017)

Cramming study into the shortest possible time will impoverish the student experience and drive an even greater wedge between research-enabled permanent staff and the growing underclass of flexible teaching staff, says Tom Cutterham