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.