In Europe, there are about 4,000 higher education institutions with over 17 million students and 1.5 million staff. According to the European Commission, however, the curricula are not always up-to-date and not enough young population is able to attend universities. Therefore, governments of member European states are looking for ways to improve conditions and allow students to attend universities.
A modernization agenda for universities was published by the European Commission as part of the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs, where the main fields of the reform are:
- Curricular reform: The three cycle system (bachelor-master-doctorate), competence based learning, flexible learning paths, recognition, mobility.
- Governance reform: University autonomy, strategic partnerships, including with enterprises, quality assurance.
- Funding reform: Diversified sources of university income better linked to performance, promoting equity, access and efficiency, including the possible role of tuition fees, grants and loans.
Through the Bologna process, curricular reforms are also being promoted, where by 2010 a European Higher Education Area is aimed to be established by 46 countries in the wider Europe.
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