The USTREAM project has successfully completed a series of three national policy dialogue events, organised jointly with local partners in May-June 2018. Each event was tailored to the specific needs of and the current developments in the higher education sector in three host countries – Latvia, Austria and Lithuania. The events brought together major stakeholders involved in the debate on the key higher education policy issues. Presentations from the three events can be consulted on the USTREAM webpage.
The national policy dialogue event in Latvia was organised jointly with the University of Latvia and the Latvian Rectors’ Council and was opened by the Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia, Kārlis Šadurskis. It focused specifically on the issues of university governance and its role in supporting efficiency and effectiveness of higher education institutions. The discussions fed into a broader national debate on the governance reform and complemented other related activities, including the World Bank project on higher education funding and governance in Latvia.
The national policy dialogue event in Austria revolved around the topic of efficiency and effectiveness in various university contexts, with a special emphasis on teaching and learning. The discussion was forged by the current debate on the planned funding reform. The participants explored possible areas of interest and focal points for the future efficiency agenda in view of the next generation of performance contracts concluded by universities and the government. The event was hosted by the University of Graz, and brought together both national and regional stakeholders, including representatives of the Austrian Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Research and the Science and Technology Development Council, as well as several rectors of universities and universities of applied sciences.
The last national policy dialogue event in Lithuania focused on possible ways to achieve sustainable efficiency gains and increase effectiveness through university mergers and broader institutional collaborations. The participants discussed pros and cons of various models presented by experts from Ireland and Austria.
Discussions on these topics will continue during the 4th EUA Funding Forum on 18-19 October in Barcelona. The Funding Forum is a unique, inclusive platform open to all higher education funding stakeholders. This year’s programme will feature several sessions that will concentrate specifically on the topic of efficiency, including a plenary session “Efficient university management and efficient frameworks”, an expert room on efficiency-generating sector collaboration and a master class on institutional efficiency strategies. The early bird registration is open until 10 September 2018.