Lords announce inquiry into European higher education

A cross-party committee of peers in the House of Lords is to investigate how the European Union can help higher education across the continent to boost jobs, growth and innovation.

October 25, 2011

The Social Policies and Consumer Protection EU Sub-Committee will look at proposals for the future funding support of universities at the European level as well as how the movement of students could be boosted and made more diverse.

It comes in the wake of measures put forward by the European Commission last month as possible ways the EU could help the university sector – including the launch of a new ranking tool for profiling institutions and proposals for financial support for students studying abroad at master’s level.

In a statement published today, the Lords committee says it wishes “to establish whether the initiatives outlined by the Commission are the most appropriate to fulfil its supportive role in higher education or whether there are other ways in which the EU might add value in this area”.

Baroness Young of Hornsey, committee chairman, said it was a “financially challenging” time for universities but it was “important to acknowledge the wider benefits that accrue to society and business from their activities”.

“Higher education has a key role to play in boosting jobs, growth and innovation.

“Although individual countries are responsible for their own education policy, the EU has a role in encouraging all member states to boost mobility, provide funding and exchange best practice,” she said.

The inquiry has invited submissions for the inquiry and intends to hold public evidence sessions in November and December before publishing a final report by Easter 2012.

simon.baker@tsleducation.com

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