EU group wants teacher training for lecturers

University lecturers should be required to take teacher training classes, according to an EU commission on higher education led by the former president of Ireland Mary McAleese

June 23, 2013

The call for mandatory teaching certificates is one of 16 recommendations made by an EU high-level group set up last year to examine the modernisation of higher education.

Other recommendations in the group’s “report to the European Commission on improving the quality of teaching and learning in Europe’s higher education institutions”, published on 18 June, include putting more focus on helping students to develop entrepreneurial and innovative skills and the creation of a European Academy of Teaching and Learning.

The report’s publication follows almost a year of consultation with universities across Europe, while evidence panels were held in Brussels and Rome.

“Higher education teaching staff have to be given the training and support they need to do an excellent job,” said Professor McAleese, a former pro vice-chancellor at Queen’s University Belfast.

“Our report shows how this can be done,” she added.

The report also recommends that higher education institutions and national policy makers, in partnership with students, should establish counselling, guidance, mentoring and tracking systems to support students into higher education and and beyond.

Lesley Wilson, secretary general of the European University Association, which represents higher education institutions in 47 countries, welcomed the report’s findings.

“It draws attention to issues that are crucial for Europe’s universities, their staff and students, and echoes many of the issues related to teaching and learning that have or are currently being addressed by EUA through its different activities,” she said.

The EU group will now begin work on a new report assessing the impact of new methods of delivering quality higher education, such as massive open online courses (Moocs), which is due to published in June 2014.

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Reader's comments (1)

I strongly disagree with this. The definition and purpose of universities is being slowly changed by recent generations of well-meaning, but misguided socialists who feel that every willing student should reach the pinnacle of academic achievement - and all we need are better teachers. Well, it's a warm, fuzzy belief, but it simply doesn't work that way. Different people have different capabilities and different levels of drive. University is the last step in our educational institution with the ability to distinguish where finite learning resources should be focused. It's not meant to be for everybody. And it is not meant to be a place where people are "taught", it is meant to be a place where people, who are capable, go to "learn" from researchers. This requires a different mindset than the average person possesses. If we require "teacher" training, we will continue to lower the academic standard of our universities to the lowest common denominator, and universities will merely become a continuation of secondary grade schools. I sympathize will those who feel that everybody deserves the best education possible, but we must hold fast to the university structure and require those desiring advanced education to be able to learn (for themselves) from a variety of researchers that use a wide variety of methods of communication; it is only in this way that those students will develop the same varied and adaptive skill sets to become life-long learners.

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