Back Inaugural meeting focuses on strengthening academic freedom and democracy in higher education

Inaugural meeting focuses on strengthening academic freedom and democracy in higher education

The Group on Experts on the Democratic Mission of Higher Education, convened by the Council of Europe, held its first meeting in Paris on 28 March 2024, marking a pivotal moment in the quest to reinforce academic freedom and the democratisation of science across Europe.  The new project “Academic Freedom in Action” underscores the critical role of higher education in fostering democratic societies and highlights the Council commitment to addressing the contemporary challenges facing higher education institutions as autonomous democratic actors in our societies. 

During the meeting, experts debated the need for more comprehensive data and enhanced monitoring to deepen our understanding of academic freedom’s current state.  Discussions also centered on whether strengthening legal frameworks could provide better protection for academic freedom or if there should be a greater emphasis on raising awareness and educational efforts to promote its importance. 

As the Group embarks on a three-year journey to explore these significant topics in the framework of 2024-2027 Council of Europe higher education programme and Strategy “Learners First” its work will be instrumental in shaping policies and practices that safeguard the autonomy of higher education institutions, protect the rights of scholars and students, and promote the free exchange of ideas. 

This initiative represents a vital step towards ensuring that higher education institutions can continue to serve as beacons of freedom, innovation, and democratic engagement in an increasingly complex global landscape. 

Paris, France 28 March 2024
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