22-23 September 2005. Council of Europe, Strasbourg

Higher education governance is an issue that is strongly connected to the Council of Europe’s key missions: protection of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. It is also very much present in the discussions in the framework of the Bologna process. Although it has not yet been treated as a separate issue (apart from one Bologna seminar on “Student participation in governance in higher education” organized by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research) it is an underlying theme for all aspects of the implementation of the Bologna Declaration.

The CDESR (Steering Committee for Higher Education and Research) launched a project on “Higher education governance” in autumn 2003. The project is expected to last three years, 2004 – 2006. The main objectives of the project are to contribute to the Council of Europe’s 2005 Year of Citizenship through Education as well as to the work programme of the Bologna process in 2005-2007. It aims to strengthen the participation of students, staff and other stakeholders in higher education governance.

One of the main focuses of the current activities of the Higher Education and Research Division of the Council of Europe is “Higher Education Governance”. The conference in September will present the results of 2 years of work and offer a platform for discussion and debate. It is also intended as a contribution to both, the European Year of Citizenship through Education, a Council of Europe initiative for 2005, and to the Bologna Process, the creation of a European Higher Education Area by 2010.

The conference will address in particular key issues such as

  • Governance and Good Governance – what does it mean? (terminology)
  • The changing societal context and forces that influence the options and choices for governance in general and in higher education in particular
  • The Governance of Higher Education Systems and Institutions (structures, procedures, processes)
  • The actors of Higher Education Governance (people)
  • Higher Education Governance – What is at stake?
  • Creating commitment and shared ownership

Representatives of national governments (ministries of education), higher education institutions, nominated through their respective structures (Steering Committee for Higher Education and Research, Bologna Follow-Up Group), and student and other international organisations active in the field of higher education, or education in general, will participate in the conference.

It is expected that the debates shall result in increased awareness and clarity of the notion and terminology of governance and governance related issues, guidelines for the elaboration of (good) governance policy (questions to address, processes to adopt, etc) and recommendations on key elements of what constitutes good governance.

Main documents


Considerations and recommendations

Final report, Martina Vukasović

Introduction to the conference, Jürgen Kohler, Chair of the Working Party

Synopses of presentations

PowerPoint presentations

Publication: Higher education governance between democratic culture, academic aspirations and market forces. Number 5 of the Council of Europe Higher Education Series edited by Jürgen Kohler and Josef Huber.