A ceremonial act at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Europe Day, 9 May 2022, officially closed the conference on the future of Europe, in which a wide range of Europe-wide citizen participation formats had taken place over the past year. The University for Continuing Education Krems, in cooperation with the Representation of the European Commission in Austria, also contributed to the EU discourse by holding the online Citizens' Dialogue on the Future of European Higher Education on 31 March. The report is now available on the outcome of this dialogue and has also been incorporated into the opinion-forming process via the digital conference platform.
Following the motto "Let's talk Europe", light was shed on perspectives for the future development of higher education in the European Education Area as experts gave keynote speeches and participated in rounds of discussion at the dialogue event on 31 March 2022. Participants exchanged views on three topics, which are also described in the event and results report of the University for Continuing Education Krems. This report outlines the topics discussed and sketches the course of the discussions held in the dialogue rounds as well as the most important ideas, aspirations and recommendations put forward by the participants regarding these topics:
A. a common vision/identity of European universities;
B. the societal connection (third mission) of European universities;
C. the future of studies in Europe and new (continuing) education formats.
Selected contributions to the discussion
Here are some of the participants' recommendations for future higher education policy in Europe: A common desire exists in maintaining diversity across the European higher education landscape, but at the same time creating a framework for common degrees. In addition, they called for openness towards non-academic knowledge and the creation of multi-layered, European spaces where different forms of knowledge can meet. Furthermore, it was pointed out that educational formats should be linked to educational content when implementing the new European approach for micro credentials.
In accordance with the guidelines of the Future Conference, the report also contains information on the choice of topics, the methodology used, the participants, the general atmosphere, and the expected follow-up steps.
The report was jointly prepared by the inter-faculty event team of the University for Continuing Education Krems - at the Department for Legal Studies and International Relations and the European Documentation Center (EDZ) located there, at the Department for Higher Education Research, and at the Department for European Policy and Study of Democracy - and subjected to a feedback process with the participants. It was then submitted via the digital participation platform of the Conference on the Future of Europe, with the central ideas put forward in the event being published separately on the conference platform and thus made specifically publicly accessible and recordable for analysis. These can still be accessed on the platform after the official end of the conference.