Headline July 06, 2015/ ''' QUESTIONING THE VALUE OF YOUR DEGREE? '''



IN ENGLAND, ministers and university bosses complain that the Bologna rules draw too deeply on continental ideas of student achievement-

Measured in terms of hours spent in seminars and lecture theatres.

Forget hours of work, English dons insist; the world holds both quick learners and plodders. What matters is what a student has learned.

They would say that, other Europeans retort; they decry Britain's one-year taught masters' degrees as lightweight.

The truth is that they are highly competitive  [and attract lucrative students from overseas].

Britain fears they may be threatened by the Bologna guidelines.

The Bologna force has no legal force behind it, but it is still forcing big changes. A voluntary agreement among governments, it extends far beyond the European Union with 45 signatory nation, from Norway to Azerbaijan.

Self-interest explains much of its impact.

Bologna has prompted a mass tidying up of the tangle of different degrees awarded in different European countries. The main effect will be to ditch the continental style of first degree, which typically takes five or six years.

Expensive [for the taxpayer]  and wastefully languid  {for the student} .

Given that most governments in  ''old Europe''   are terrified of introducing fees, shorter degrees offer the next best way of saving money.

Adopting the familiar international system of an education in three chunks  -a standard three-  or four year bachelor's degree,  a master's for the ambitious, and a PhD  for real brainboxes   -should make Europe's universities less baffling [and more attractive to foreigners].

Change is still hard. Greece's government just some years ago abandoned plans to legalise private universities, after three months of protests.

In France, selective entrance exams for public universities remain a taboo  [unlike the fabulously exclusive  grandes ecoles].

In Finland, Karl Erik Michelsen  of  Lappeenranta University complains of a  ''big social-democratic project to create a massive numbers of people with master's degrees.''

The result he says is that  ''quantity overrides quality.''       

But do not underestimate the power of transparency.

Once students can compare their courses more easily with, those offered abroad, they may start to question their  degree's  value. 

Even if for many the price is zero, students are still paying with their own time, deferring earnings and incurring living costs.

The more hidebound European Universities must be wondering what on earth they have started.

Self-interest has prodded them to think about  students  as  customers;  both wealthy foreign ones,  and bright locals tempted to finish their studies overseas.

Governments have realised they could save money if their universities made students study a bit more briskly,  gaining degrees and entering the workforce earlier.

Universities are beginning to compete for the brightest and best European exchange students too. But that's the problem with trying to become competitive. 

Before you know it, you may find yourself having to compete.

Therefore, Europe's universities are the reluctant and unlikely pioneers of public-sector competition.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' Blinking Away In A Bright Light '''

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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