UNIVERSITIES MODERNISATION AGENDA (9166/06)
Letter from the Chairman to Bill Rammell
MP, Minister for Life-long Learning, Further and Higher Education,
Department for Education and Skills
Your Explanatory Memorandum dated 26 May was
considered by Sub-Committee G on 22 June.
We have no particular objection to the broad
objectives outlined by the Communication so long as it is clearly
understood that this is a basis for voluntary collaborative activity
by Member States within their own national competence for higher
education. We note particularly in this context what you say about
the proposal that Member States should devote 2 per cent of their
GDP to higher education within a decade which clearly cannot be
mandatory. We are also inclined to agree about the targets for
mobility programmes, where quality and inclusion seem to be more
important than quantity.
We are content to release this document from
scrutiny. In doing so, however, we would point out that it is
not at all clear how this Communication is expected to be taken
forward. Your EM refers to the use of OMC and to the setting up
of "peer learning clusters", without giving details.
While we see some value in sharing information and good practice
between Member States, we believe that it should be coordinated
with a light touch so as to avoid unnecessary bureaucracy, duplication
and nugatory work. We would want you to be sure that the objectives
have been clearly-defined and agreed at the outset, with the aim
of adding significant practical value to the development of national
strategies, and that satisfactory arrangements had been made to
co-ordinate and analyse any information gathered and to disseminate
We also note the Commission's references to
the role of the European Institute of Technology, which appear
to assume that it is a foregone conclusion. You should bear in
mind our reservations about that proposal, as outlined in my separate
correspondence with you under reference 6844/06.
We are holding this document under scrutiny
pending your reply.
23 June 2006