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 6 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

Most Commented

United Nations peace keeper

Understanding the unwritten rules of graduate study is vital if you want to get the most from your PhD supervision, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration (5 January 2017)

Fixing problems in the academic job market by reducing the number of PhDs would homogenise the sector, argues Tom Cutterham

Houses of Parliament, Westminster, government

There really is no need for the Higher Education and Research Bill, says Anne Sheppard

poi, circus

Kate Riegle van West had to battle to bring her circus life and her academic life together

man with frozen beard, Lake Louise, Canada

Australia also makes gains in list of most attractive English-speaking nations as US slips