Reinforcing European Higher Education

Higher Education was the topic for discussion on July 1, during the fourth of a series of five online discussions on the new Strategic Framework for Education and Training (ET2030), established by Council resolution on a strategic framework for European Cooperation in education and training towards the European Education Area and beyond (2021-2030) of February 2021.

The online session focused on the fourth strategic priority of ET2030 – Reinforcing European Higher Education and addressed the actions needed to encourage more work-based learning and enhanced cooperation between institutions and employers, while fully respecting the holistic approach of higher education and the autonomy of higher education institutions.

“Over the next decade, higher education institutions will be encouraged to find new forms of deeper cooperation, namely by creating transnational alliances, pooling their knowledge and resources and generating more opportunities for student and staff mobility and participation, as well as for boosting research and innovation, including through the full roll-out of the European Universities initiative.

Successful work has already been done towards creating a European Higher Education Area (EHEA), within the Bologna process. It will be important in future to continue working within the Bologna process. whilst creating further and stronger synergies with the European Research Area (ERA), avoiding parallel or double structures or instruments.”

Strategic Priority 4 – Council Resolution, ET2030

Panel Members:

  • Dr Roseanne Cuschieri – Chief Executive Officer, Malta Further and Higher Education Authority
  • Dr Mario Cardona – Deputy Principal, Technology and Applied Sciences (VPET),Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology
  • Prof. Tanya Sammut Bonnici – Pro Rector, Strategic Planning & Enterprise, University of Malta

Issues raised by participants during the discussion:

  • Education should not be job-centred but person-centred. What motivates one to study should not be the prospect of having a good job, or financial gain, but about quality of life, learning for the sake of learning, and life enrichment.
  • In the last decade, the notion of upskilling and reskilling has been addressed from an economic perspective (education for employability). Education is about individuals and jobs. So, the primary aim of lifelong learning should be that of making better persons, not better jobs.
  • As a nation we need to invest more in STEAM education from as early as Primary schooling. We need to move away from textbook-based teaching and present more experiential learning.  This will nurture a cohort of students who will address the needs of our country in the future.
  • As a country we need to encourage more students to apply for Masters and Doctoral degrees.   This will address Targets 5 and 6.  One way of encouraging more studies to further their studies is through a full sponsorship.
  • Need for more incentives for more people to attend courses and provide better quality teaching and learning.
  • Need for training in soft-skills for people who are already in their job such as Integrity, Dependability, Effective communication, Open-mindedness, and Teamwork?

Submissions of written feedback on the topic and registration for the fifth and last online session may be sent to info.sem@gov.mt.

The discussions on the ET2030 priorities are organised by Servizzi Ewropej f’Malta and the Ministry for Education to provide information on priorities in education and training at European Union level, consult about the implications for Malta and identify key priority areas for future involvement. The outcome of the sessions will feed into the national strategy and actions in the field of education and training.

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