Ministers’ Deputies
CM Documents

CM(2007)20 6 February 20071
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989 Meeting, 14 March 2007
7 Education and culture


7.3 Steering Committee for Higher Education and Research (CDESR)

a. Abridged report of the 5th plenary session (Strasbourg, 21-22 September 2006)
b. Draft Recommendation Rec(2007)… of the Committee of Ministers to member states on
the public responsibility for higher education and research and its Explanatory Memorandum

Item to be prepared by the Rapporteur Group on Education, Culture, Sport, Youth and Environment (GR-C) at its meeting on 28 February 2007
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The Steering Committee for Higher Education and Research (CDESR) met in Strasbourg on 21 and 22 September 2006 with Mr. Luc Weber (Switzerland) in the Chair.

The agenda for the meeting appears in Appendix 1 and the list of participants can be obtained from the Secretariat.

THE THIRD SUMMIT OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE (WARSAW, 16-17 MAY 2005): IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ACTION PLAN

The CDESR:

1. took note of the information provided on the implementation of the Action Plan adopted by the Third Summit;

2. reiterated its commitment to contributing to this implementation;

3. pointed to the importance of its contribution to the European Higher Education Area and its activities on the recognition of qualifications in this regard;

4. in particular, underlined the importance of its new project on “The University Between Humanism and Market: Redefining its Values and Functions for the 21st Century”, which will address a number of issues that are a fundamental part of the contribution of education to the implementation of the Action Plan.

INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE: THE CONTRIBUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION

5. The CDESR adopted the statement on the contribution of higher education which appears in Appendix 2 to this report.

UNIVERSITY NETWORK FOR INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE

6. The CDESR expressed its support for a university network on intercultural dialogue and mandated its Bureau to follow up the issue on the basis of the discussion in the plenary session.

PUBLIC RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIGHER EDUCATION AND RESEARCH

7. The CDESR approved the draft Recommendation on the Public Responsibility for Higher Education and Research, with its Explanatory Memorandum, and decided to submit it to the Committee of Ministers with a view to its adoption. The draft Recommendation appears as Appendix 3 to the present report and the draft Explanatory Memorandum appears in document CM(2007)20 add.

THE UNIVERSITY BETWEEN HUMANISM AND MARKET: REDEFINING ITS VALUES AND FUNCTIONS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

The CDESR:

8. approved the project proposal as described in document CDESR (2006) 9 which can be obtained from the Higher Education and Research Division (DG 4);

9. welcomed it as an important contribution to the future orientations of the European Higher Education Area;

10. mandated the Bureau to implement the project taking account of the debate in the plenary session;

11. encouraged delegations to seek additional support for the project from their respective authorities.

THE EUROPEAN HIGHER EDUCATION AREA: TO LONDON AND BEYOND

The CDESR:

12. took note of and welcomed the contributions of the Council of Europe to the European Higher Education Area, through intergovernmental, bi-lateral and regional activities including the recognition of qualifications, the public responsibility for higher education and research and higher education governance and through participation in the steering bodies of the Bologna Process;

13. underlined the importance of the new project on “The University Between Humanism and Market: Redefining its Values and Functions for the 21st Century” also with a view to deepening the Bologna Process;

14. expressed its support for the exercise of identifying unresolved issues in the creation of the European Higher Education Area and mandated the Bureau to continue its reflection on these issues on the basis of the discussion at the plenary session.

THE RESPONSIBILITY OF HIGHER EDUCATION FOR DEMOCRATIC CULTURE: OUTCOMES OF THE HIGHER EDUCATION FORUM

The CDESR:

15. took note of the outcomes of the Forum on the Responsibility of Higher Education for Democratic Culture, held in Strasbourg on 22 and 23 June 2006, and in particular of the Declaration adopted by the Forum;

16. welcomed its contribution to the implementation of the fundamental aims of the Action Plan;

17. underlined the importance of the close co-operation established with key actors in United states higher education on this topic and thanked the US partners for their contributions to the Forum;

18. asked the Bureau to follow up the Forum in co-operation with the US Steering Committee of the Consortium for Higher Education, Civic Responsibility and Democracy, in particular with a view to enhancing the participation of European higher education institutions;

19. asked all delegations to undertake the necessary efforts to ensure adherence to the Declaration by higher education institutions in their respective countries and for this purpose to widely disseminate the information on the global network for higher education and democratic culture and its online platform.

THE LEGITIMACY OF QUALITY ASSURANCE IN HIGHER EDUCATION: OUTCOMES OF THE HIGHER EDUCATION FORUM

The CDESR:

20. took note of the conclusions and recommendations of the Forum on “The Legitimacy of Quality Assurance in Higher Education”, held in Strasbourg on 19 and 20 September 2006 and asked delegations to disseminate these in their respective countries;

21. thanked the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) and the European University Association (EUA) for their co-operation in organising the Forum;

22. mandated the Bureau to consider ways of following up the outcomes of the Forum, on the basis of the discussion in the plenary session.

POLICIES AND INSTRUMENTS FOR RECOGNITION OF QUALIFICATIONS

The CDESR:

23. took note of the Council’s work to facilitate the recognition of qualifications, in particular the implementation of the Council of Europe/UNESCO Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications in the European Region (ETS No. 165) and the outcomes of the 2006 ENIC/NARIC meeting (Tallinn, 4-6 June);

24. encouraged the ENIC Network to continue to provide guidance for the elaboration and implementation of national action plans for recognition in the framework of the Bologna Process;

25. encouraged the ENIC Network to further enhance its co-operation with the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA).

ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND UNIVERSITY AUTONOMY: PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY RECOMMENDATION 1762 (2006)

The CDESR:

26. took note of Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1762 (2006) on academic freedom and university autonomy;

27. thanked Senator Josef Jařab for his work on the recommendation as well as for his longstanding commitment to the work of the Council of Europe in the area of higher education;

28. underlined the importance of a political statement by an international parliamentary body on this issue;

29. mandated the Bureau to consider possible follow up to this Recommendation on the basis of the discussion in the plenary session.

EUROPEAN YEAR OF CITIZENSHIP THROUGH EDUCATION: OVERALL ASSESSMENT

The CDESR:

30. took note of the outcomes of the European Year of Citizenship through Education as well as its own contributions to the Year;

31. thanked Krzysztof Ostrowski (Chair of the CAHCIT) and Virgílio Meira Soares, who represented the CDESR on the CAHCIT;

32. underlined the importance of the Forum on the Responsibility of Higher Education for Democratic Culture and the follow up to the Declaration adopted at this Forum in the follow up to the Year.

UNESCO/OECD GUIDELINES FOR QUALITY PROVISION IN CROSS-BORDER HIGHER EDUCATION

33. The CDESR took note of the UNESCO/OECD Guidelines for Quality provision in Cross-Border Higher Education and encouraged delegations to promote the implementation of the Guidelines in their respective countries.

DATE AND PLACE OF THE 2007 PLENARY SESSION

34. The CDESR decided in principle to hold its next plenary session in Strasbourg on 20 and 21 September 2007.

ELECTION OF THE BUREAU

35. The CDESR elected its Bureau as follows:

Chair: Mr. Luc Weber (academic member, Switzerland, 2006 – 2007)
Vice Chair: Mr. Radu Damian (government member, Romania, 2006 – 2007)
Other members: Mr. Andrejs Rauhvargers (academic member, Latvia, 2006 – 2008)
Mr. Giuseppe Ronsisvalle (academic member, Italy, 2006 – 2008)
Mr. Keith Andrews (government member, United Kingdom, 2006 – 2008)
Ms. Gro Beate Vige (government member, Norway, 2006 – 2008)

and noted that the terms of Bureau members Mr. Germain Dondelinger (government member, Luxembourg) and Mr. Virgílio Meira Soares (academic member, Portugal) continue until the plenary session of 2007.

APPENDIX 1

AGENDA

1. OPENING OF THE MEETING

2. ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA

3. REPORTS BY THE CHAIR AND THE SECRETARIAT

4. THE THIRD SUMMIT OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT OF THE COUNCIL OF
EUROPE (WARSAW, 16-17 MAY 2005): IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ACTION PLAN

5. The EUROPEAN HIGHER EDUCATION AREA: THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE CONTRIBUTION

6. THE RESPONSIBILITY OF HIGHER EDUCATION FOR DEMOCRATIC CULTURE: OUTCOMES
OF THE HIGHER EDUCATION FORUM

7. THE LEGITIMACY OF QUALITY ASSURANCE IN HIGHER EDUCATION: OUTCOMES OF THE
HIGHER EDUCATION FORUM

8. POLICIES AND INSTRUMENTS FOR RECOGNITION OF QUALIFICATIONS

9. PUBLIC RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIGHER EDUCATION AND RESEARCH

10. ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND UNIVERSITY AUTONOMY: PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY
RECOMMENDATION 1762

11. EUROPEAN YEAR OF CITIZENSHIP THROUGH EDUCATION: OVERALL ASSESSMENT

12. INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE: THE CONTRIBUTION OF HIGHER EDCUATION

13. UNIVERSITY NETWORK FOR INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE

14. UNESCO/OECD GUIDELINES FOR QUALITY PROVISION IN CROSS-BORDER HIGHER
EDUCATION

15. THE UNIVERSITY BETWEEN HUMANISM AND MARKET: REDIFINING ITS VALUES AND
FUNCTIONS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

16. ELECTION OF THE BUREAU

17. DATE AND PLACE OF THE 2007 PLENARY SESSION

18. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

19. ADOPTION OF DECISIONS

APPENDIX 2

STATEMENT ON THE CONTRIBUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION TO INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE

Context and purpose

The Council of Europe’s Steering Committee for Higher Education and Research (CDESR) reaffirms the strong role of education, not least higher education, in developing and fostering intercultural dialogue.

This is particularly pertinent in view of the emphasis on intercultural dialogue given by the Action Plan adopted by the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of Council of Europe member states (Warsaw, 16-17 May 2005) and the Faro Declaration, adopted by European Ministers of Culture at the closing of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the European Cultural Convention (Faro, 27 – 28 October 2005). The CDESR also recalls that the European Year of Citizenship through Education, to which it contributed, as well as the pilot project on the University as a Site of Citizenship are highly relevant in this context.

The purpose of the present Statement is to outline the contribution of higher education to intercultural dialogue within the Council of Europe’s programme.

A tradition of intercultural dialogue

The world of higher education is a natural partner in intercultural dialogue because higher education has been international in its culture and essence since the founding of the first universities in the 11th and 12th centuries, and also because progress in research and teaching require open minds, a spirit of enquiry, readiness to cooperate across borders and a willingness to learn by exploring the unknown. No areas of human endeavour can be foreign to universities and other higher education institutions or to those involved in higher education in various capacities as researchers, teachers, students, administrative and technical staff members and policy makers.

The multiplier effect of higher education

The key role of higher education is further underlined by the multiplier effects of higher education institutions. In training future teachers and other professionals in a whole range of academic disciplines as well as in the role of higher education institutions and their students and staff in forming public opinion, the attitudes and values conveyed through higher education will be transmitted in very varied contexts and in all walks of life. The role of higher education in promoting intercultural dialogue therefore extends well beyond the number of staff and students engaged in higher education at any one time.

A dialogue built on values

Intercultural dialogue must be founded on a firm and well reflected set of values as well as on a willingness to consider the values of others and to reassess one’s own convictions in the light of new and convincing evidence. Dialogue presupposes openness of mind in all partners, including the capacity to look at their own values and frame of reference with critical distance. These are also essential values and characteristics of higher education.

European higher education is based on the conviction that each human being has intrinsic value as an individual, and also that each human being is inherently responsible for the development and well being of other human beings, of human society as a whole and of the environment on which we depend for our survival.

The CDESR is committed to the Council of Europe’s key values human rights, democracy and the rule of law. In this context, the CDESR sees the main contribution of higher education – as well as the main contribution of other areas of education – as helping develop, maintain and transmit to new generations the democratic culture which is indispensable to making democratic institutions and democratic laws work and to make democratic societies sustainable.

Higher education is further committed to the pursuit of knowledge unhindered by established dogma or schools of thought and to judging ideas on the basis of their merit as well as to ethical reflection and behaviour. The implementation of these essential values requires freedom of teaching and of research, freedom of organization and freedom of movement for members of the academic community. These are also essential prerequisites for intercultural dialogue.

Higher education is committed to dialogue with those whose convictions differ from our own, as a means of increased understanding and of resolving conflicts by peaceful means. These fundamental values underlie the international co-operation, throughout Europe as well as with other parts of the world, that is part and parcel of the heritage of higher education. They underlie the setting up of the European Higher Education Area by 2010 as well as the relationship and co-operation between the European Higher Education Area and other regions.

THE HIGHER EDUCATION CONTRIBUTION TO INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE

Within its pan-European framework

Europe is a unique balance of what we as Europeans have in common and the various cultural traditions that make up an important part of Europe’s richness. The CDESR, as a unique platform of representatives of higher education institutions as well as public authorities of 49 countries and with the active participation of students and other partners, provides a singular opportunity for intercultural dialogue in a pan-European context. This is an important feature of the CDESR plenary sessions as well as of the activities of the Steering Committee. Arriving at a common platform on topics such as the public responsibility for higher education and research, higher education governance, the recognition of qualifications, access to higher education and the heritage of European universities would be impossible without engaging in intercultural dialogue.

The Council of Europe has played a fundamental role in opening the most important process of higher education reform – the Bologna Process – to all countries of the European Cultural Convention that commit to implementing the goals of the Process. The Council of Europe continues to play a leading role in integrating the newest members of the Process – the countries of South East Europe and the Newly Independent states that joined in 2003 and 2005 – fully into the European Higher Education Area.

Beyond Europe

Beyond its pan-European framework, the Council of Europe’s higher education programme contributes to intercultural dialogue through:

    · participation in the working group addressing the relationship between the European Higher Education Area and other parts of the world (the working group on the “external dimensions” of the Bologna Process);
    · participation in the UNESCO Global Forum on International Quality Assurance, Accreditation and Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education;
    · advice on the setting up, in the framework of the UNESCO Regional Convention for the Mediterranean2, of a network of national information centres on recognition and mobility in the Mediterranean region, modelled on the European Network of National Information Centres (ENIC Network);
    · advice on the review of the UNESCO regional conventions on the recognition of qualifications, based on the experience of the Council of Europe/UNESCO Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region;
    · ad hoc presentations and discussions of European higher education policies in appropriate fora in other parts of the world;

    · publications on various aspects of European higher education policies, through the Council of Europe Higher Education Series;
    · inviting representatives from other parts of the world to participate in CDESR activities;

Future possibilities

The Council of Europe’s key contribution to the European Higher Education Area and as co-secretariat, with UNESCO, of the European Network of National Information Centres on academic recognition and mobility (ENIC Network) will alone ensure that the CDESR will play an important role in intercultural dialogue within as well as beyond Europe in the years to come.

However, depending on the extent to which the necessary resources can be identified, the CDESR would like to increase its engagement in intercultural co-operation, in particular through:

    · inviting partners from outside Europe to contribute to and participate in the new project on The University Between Humanism and Market: Redefining Its Values and Functions for the 21st Century, which will be launched in 2007. This project will consider the role and mission of higher education in the context of our changing political, social, cultural and technological environment. Intercultural dialogue is an integral part of this context, including the fostering of the required skills, competences and attitudes through higher education and research. The project will be relevant for other parts of the world and will also benefit from such participation;
    · the setting up of a university network focusing on intercultural dialogue, as proposed by the Russian Chairmanship of the Council of Europe;
    · the organization, in co-operation with ALECSO3 and other appropriate partners, of conferences and activities on higher education policies and reform, including at least one conference at political level;
    · co-operation with the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures, where the Memorandum of understanding between the Council of Europe and the Foundation makes reference to higher education policies, in particular relating to mobility of students and staff and to the interaction between the European Higher Education Area and the southern Mediterranean states;
    · continued commitment to developing co-operation and understanding between European higher education and appropriate partners from other regions;
    · in particular, seek to develop dialogue on higher education policies and reform with partners from Central Asia and Latin America.

In fulfilling its mission in promoting intercultural dialogue within and beyond the international community of higher education leaders, staff and students as well as representatives of public authorities, the CDESR will seek to further the values to which European higher education is committed and on which the Council of Europe is founded. The CDESR will seek to do so in co-operation with appropriate partners, in particular UNESCO, European and international organizations of higher education institutions and students, appropriate regional and international organisations, institutions and the public authorities of member states.

Appendix 3

Draft Recommendation Rec(2007)…
of the Committee of Ministers to member states
on the public responsibility for higher education and research

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on … … 2007
at the …th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Article 15.b of the Statute of the Council of Europe,

Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve greater unity among its members and that this aim can be pursued notably by common action in educational and cultural matters;

Having regard to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
(ETS No. 5) and to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948);

Having regard to the European Cultural Convention of 1954 (ETS No. 18);

Having regard to the Council of Europe/UNESCO Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region (ETS No. 165; Lisbon Recognition Convention);

Having regard to the subsidiary texts to the Council of Europe/UNESCO Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region adopted by the Committee of the Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region:

– the recommendation on international access qualifications (1999);
– the recommendation on the criteria and procedures for the assessment of foreign qualifications (2001);
– the Code of good practice in the provision of transnational education (2001);
– the recommendation on the recognition of joint degrees (2004).

Having regard to the Sorbonne Declaration adopted in Paris on 25 May 1998 by the Ministers of Education of France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom, to the Joint Declaration of the European Ministers for Education signed in Bologna on 19 June 1999 and to the communiqués adopted at their meetings in Prague on 19 May 2001, in Berlin on 19 September 2003 and Bergen on 20 May 2005 aiming to establish a European Higher Education Area;

Having regard to the UNESCO World Declaration on Higher Education for the Twenty-First Century: Vision and Action (1998);

Having regard to Recommendation Rec(2002)6 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on higher education policies in lifelong learning;

Having regard to Recommendation Rec(2000)24 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the development of European studies for democratic citizenship;

Having regard to Recommendation No. R (2000) 12 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the social sciences and the challenge of transition;

Having regard to Recommendation Rec(2005)13 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on governance and management of the university heritage;

Having regard to Recommendation No. R (2000) 8 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the research mission of universities;

Having regard to Recommendation No. R (98) 3 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on access to higher education;

Mindful of the outcomes and recommendations of the European Year of Citizenship through Education (2005);

Considering that higher education is essential to European society, and that it fulfils the multiple concomitant purposes of preparation for the labour market, preparation for life as active citizens in democratic societies, personal development and the development and maintenance, through teaching and research, of an advanced and diverse knowledge base;

Considering that higher education plays a key role in developing and maintaining democratic culture, without which democratic societies cannot function;

Considering that effective equal opportunities to higher education contribute to social cohesion and thus to the sustainable development of European societies;

Considering, therefore, that higher education and research is a public responsibility;

Further considering that public authorities must exercise their responsibility with a view to adapting it to the requirements of modern, complex societies,

1. Recommends that the governments of member states:

a. take steps to implement in their policy, law and practice the principles set out in the appendix to this recommendation;

b. promote the implementation of the principles and measures contained in the appendix where this is not the direct responsibility of governments;

c. promote the implementation of these measures by higher education institutions;

d. ensure that this recommendation is distributed as widely as possible among all persons and bodies concerned;

2. Instructs the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to transmit this recommendation to the governments of those states parties to the European Cultural Convention which are not members of the Council of Europe.

Appendix to Recommendation Rec(2007)…

Scope

1. The present recommendation addresses the public responsibility for higher education and research, which is an integral part of the academic heritage of Europe and a cornerstone of the efforts to establish a European Higher Education Area by 2010. It also addresses the close link between the European Higher Education Area and the European Research Area. It recognises that for this public responsibility to remain a living reality, it must be adapted to the requirements of modern, complex societies.

2. The public responsibility for higher education and research is complemented by the public responsibility of higher education and research, exercised by its institutions, bodies, students and staff. While recognising the dual implication of public responsibility, as well as the importance of the policies and activities within higher education and research institutions, the present recommendation focuses on the responsibilities of public authorities.

3. Public responsibility should be exercised with due regard for the need of higher education and research institutions and systems, as well as their staff and students, to act freely and efficiently in the pursuit of their mission. Public authorities therefore have a responsibility to promote autonomy for higher education and research institutions as well as academic freedom for individual members of the academic community.

4. “Public responsibility” is to be understood as the responsibility of public authorities. Public responsibility for higher education and research can be exercised in different ways and at different levels (national, regional, local or combinations of these) in different countries. A “public authority” is understood to be any body, organ, entity or other organisation, at any level, empowered to supervise, oversee or make decisions, representing or acting on behalf of the population of the territory concerned, irrespective of its legal status under public or private law. Public authorities may be competent at local, regional or national level, in accordance with the constitutional arrangements of the country concerned.

Responsibility for the multiple purposes of higher education and research

5. In keeping with the values of democratic and equitable societies, public authorities should ensure that higher education institutions, while exercising their autonomy, can meet society’s multiple expectations and fulfil their various and equally important objectives, which include:

– preparation for sustainable employment;
– preparation for life as active citizens in democratic societies;
– personal development;
– the development and maintenance, through teaching and research, of a broad, advanced knowledge base.

6. Public authorities should also ensure appropriate conditions for higher education and research institutions to fulfil their function as a service to society.

Main categories of public responsibility for higher education and research

7. The responsibility of public authorities for higher education and research should be nuanced and defined relative to specific areas. It is broadly recommended that public authorities have:

– exclusive responsibility for the framework within which higher education and research is conducted;
–leading responsibility for ensuring effective equal opportunities to higher education for all citizens, as well as ensuring that basic research remains a public good;
– substantial responsibility for financing higher education and research, the provision of higher education and research, as well as for stimulating and facilitating financing and provision by other sources within the framework developed by public authorities.

8. In exercising their responsibility, public authorities should take due account of internationally accepted standards and developments, in particular those that follow from the Council of Europe/UNESCO Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region and other international treaties, as well as of standards and developments in the context of the European Higher Education Area.

Responsibility for the framework of higher education and research

9. Public authorities should assume exclusive responsibility for the framework within which higher education and research are conducted. This should include responsibility for:

– the legal framework;
– the degree structure or qualifications framework of the higher education system;
– the framework for quality assurance;
– the framework for the recognition of foreign qualifications;
– the framework for information on higher education provision.

10. In elaborating or amending the legal framework, in accordance with the constitution and the legislative practice of each country, public authorities should consult with higher education institutions and their organisations, research institutes and bodies, organisations of students and staff and other relevant stakeholders.

11. Public authorities should determine the degree structure or qualifications framework of the higher education system for which they are responsible in accordance with international standards, and in particular those of the European Higher Education Area. Public recognition and funding of higher education institutions and programmes could be made conditional on their compliance with national qualifications frameworks.

12. The importance of quality assurance, which is a joint responsibility of public authorities and higher education institutions, grows with increasing degrees of institutional autonomy. Public authorities should establish, as an essential regulatory mechanism in diversified higher education systems, cost-effective quality assessment mechanisms that are built on trust, give due regard to internal quality development processes, allow for independent decision making, and abide by agreed-upon principles.

13. While avoiding burdensome administrative arrangements and seeking greater transparency, public authorities should set the requirements for the provision of accurate, objective and up-to-date information on higher education options, including on transnational education providers. Such information should correspond to the needs of learners and other stakeholders, including those seeking a certain degree of mobility, enabling and empowering each to make informed choices at all stages, from entering into higher education, to first employment.

Responsibility for ensuring equal opportunities in higher education

14. Public authorities should assume leading responsibility for ensuring that all qualified candidates enjoy effective equal opportunities to undertake and complete higher education, irrespective of their social and economic background. In particular, public authorities should endeavour to establish effective opportunities for members of underprivileged and underrepresented groups to access and complete higher education to the full extent of their aspirations and abilities. Equal opportunities should extend to all aspects of higher education, including internationalisation, for example through student and staff exchange.

Responsibility for research

15. Public authorities should endeavour to ensure that basic research remains a public good, inter alia through providing adequate funding of basic research, by elaborating and overseeing the implementation of codes of ethical behaviour in research and by seeking to prevent the misuse of research results. Public authorities should further endeavour to ensure wide public access to research results to which no copyright restrictions apply, as well as to ensure that copyrights are granted and exercised with reason.

Public responsibility for financing and provision of higher education and research

16. Public authorities should recognise higher education and research as strategic investments, and public funding should be a major source of support for higher education and research. They should therefore provide substantial funding for higher education and research.

17. Public authorities should further establish a legal and policy framework to encourage institutions and staff to seek supplementary funding from other sources, including from the private sector. Public authorities should state their commitment to considering such funding as supplementary to, rather than as a substitution for, funding provided by public authorities exercising their responsibility for higher education and research.

18. Public authorities should, according to practice in each country, play a substantial role in the provision of higher education and research through public institutions and bodies. Their responsibility in this area should not prevent organisations, bodies or individuals from establishing higher education and research institutions and bodies within the legal and policy framework established by public authorities.

Instruments for exercising public responsibility

19. Public authorities exercise their responsibility for higher education and research through the various instruments at their disposal, including legislation, funding, public policies, programmes and projects, and general encouragement of the initiatives of institutions, students and staff. In their choice of instruments, public authorities should, as far as possible, seek to avoid overly elaborate, costly and time-consuming administrative procedures.

20. In the choice of instruments for exercising their responsibilities, public authorities should respect the principle of institutional autonomy and acknowledge that funding, motivating and stimulating the development of higher education and research is as important a part of public responsibility as the exercise of regulation and control.

Note 1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue. Unless the Committee of Ministers decides otherwise, it will be declassified according to the rules set up in Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.
Note 2 International Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees in Higher Education in the Arab and Europe states bordering on the Mediterranean (1976).
Note 3 Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation.


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