Higher Education and Research

Publications of the Higher Education and Research Division

The Council of Europe Higher Education Series, launched in 2004, aims to explore higher education issues of concern to policy makers in Ministries, higher education institutions and non-governmental organizations, and student representatives. Beyond that, the books will be of interest to all those interested in the development and future of higher education in Europe.

The topics covered by the Higher Education Series will reflect the commitment of the Council of Europe to the basic values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law and its belief that education and higher education play a key role in developing the democratic culture without which democratic societies cannot thrive as well as in developing the skills, knowledge and values that modern, complex societies require.

The volumes in the Council of Europe Higher Education Series will reflect the lively debate on higher education policy currently underway in Europe as well as the Council of Europe’s contributions to that debate. Authors will be invited to put forward their own views on the topics selected, and the Series will seek to provide a forum for debate rather than outline a set of official positions. Through the topics covered and the views presented, higher education policy makers at all levels will hopefully find inspiration and ideas for their own work.

List of publications

Reimagining democratic societies: a new era of personal and social responsibility (Council of Europe higher education series No. 18) (2013)
Author(s) :
Sjur Bergan, Ira Harkavy and Hilligje van't Land (eds)

Reimagining democratic societies, although a demanding task, is one in which higher education must engage. As societies change, our understanding of democracy must also evolve. We need democratic institutions, but also democratic culture and democratic innovation. Citizen participation, as a cornerstone of democracy, must go beyond citizen mobilisation on just a few issues. An educated, committed citizenry deeply involved in creating and sustaining diverse democratic societies is essential for human progress and advancing the quality of life for all.
The authors – academics, policy makers and practitioners from Europe and the United States – argue this point, making the case for why democratic reimagination and innovation cannot succeed without higher education and why higher education cannot fulfil its educational, academic and societal missions without working for the common good. Case studies provide examples of how higher education can contribute to reimagining and reinvigorating democracy.

Not by bread alone (Council of Europe higher education series No.17) (2011)
Author(s) :
Sjur Bergan


Not by bread alone gathers essays on higher education, including some written especially for this book. They cover three key areas: the missions of higher education, public responsibility and qualifications. Together, these essays spell out a view of higher education as a key factor in developing modern societies built on the fundamental Council of Europe values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. They also underline the key role of higher education in developing the ability of our societies to conduct intercultural dialogue.

To fulfil its role, higher education needs to prepare for citizenship as well as for employment, for personal development as well as for the development of a broad knowledge base. Our vision of higher education and its multiple purposes must be reflected in the way we view qualifications. We also need to take a close look at how the public responsibility for higher education and research can best be exercised in a society with many actors, all of which have their own legitimate agendas. In this situation, public authorities have an overall responsibility for coherent education policies.


Speaking across borders: the role of higher education in furthering intercultural dialogue (Council of Europe higher education series No.16) (2010)

Author(s) : Sjur Bergan and Hilligje van't Land (Eds)
ISBN 978-92-871-6941-9

Our ability to relate to and interact with those whose cultural backgrounds differ from our own will be among the determining factors for the future of our societies. For most people, regardless of whether they aim for international careers or life in their local communities, intercultural dialogue will become a fact of life rather than an option. Education will need to play a key role in developing the ability to conduct intercultural dialogue, which is an integral part of developing democratic culture.

This book, edited jointly by the Council of Europe and the International Association of Universities (IAU), explores the role of higher education in developing intercultural dialogue in society at large. It complements Intercultural dialogue on Campus (Higher Education series No. 11) and the issue of the IAU journal Higher Education Policy on the same topic, and includes contributions by prominent authors from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and North America. The book sets out the political context for intercultural dialogue and explores how universities can move from dialogue on campus to dialogue in society, and hence to become actors of intercultural dialogue. It also offers examples of good practice from various parts of the world.

Higher education for modern societies: competences and values (Council of Europe higher education series No.15) (2010)

Author(s) : Sjur Bergan and Radu Damian (eds)
ISBN 978-92-871-6777-4

Developing learners' competence is an important part of the mission of higher education. The kind of competences that higher education should develop depend on what we see as the purposes of higher education. The term "converging competences" points to the need not only to train individuals for specific tasks, but to educate the whole person. Education is about acquiring skills, but also about acquiring values and attitudes. As education policies move from an emphasis on process to a stronger emphasis on the results of the education processes, learning outcomes have come to be seen as an essential feature of policies both in Europe and North America.

This book explores the roles and purposes of higher education in modern, complex societies and the importance of competences in this respect. Although public debate in Europe could give the impression that the sole purpose of higher education is to prepare for the labour market, this important role is complemented by at least three others: preparation for democratic citizenship, personal development and the development of a broad and advanced knowledge base. This work draws on the experiences in both Europe and North America to underline that the discussion is not in fact about which of these different purposes is the "real" one; they are all important, and they coexist.

Advancing democratic practice: A self-assessment guide for higher education (Council of Europe higher education series No.14) (2010)

Author(s) : Douglas Barrera and Virgilio Meira Soares
ISBN 978-92-871-6663-0
What is democratic governance and how can it benefit universities and higher education institutions in preparing students to become participating, democratic adult citizens? How can universities and other higher education institutions evaluate how they contribute to their students' education for democratic citizenship?
The two authors, coming from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, one a student, the other a professor, examine how deans, rectors and university staff can operate on a day-to-day basis, describe how the journey down the road towards democratic practice tends to take shape and help readers to estimate how far their establishment has come along this road. This guide offers practical advice on starting, continuing and evaluating the journey.

The guide is a result of co-operation between the Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights and the Higher Education and Research programmes.

Developing attitudes to recognition: substantial differences in an age of globalisation (Council of Europe higher education series No.13) (2010)

Author(s) : E.Stephen Hunt and Sjur Bergan (eds)
ISBN 978-92-871-6697-5
The concept of "substantial differences" - far from being a dry, technical topic for a book on higher education policy - goes to the heart of how we view qualifications and education and is the key concept of the Council of Europe/UNESCO Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region, better known as the Lisbon Recognition Convention. What do learners know and understand and what are they able to do on the basis of their qualifications? How can this be expressed and described, and how can learners carry their qualifications across borders without leaving part of their real value behind?

In discussions on substantial differences, the technical meets the philosophical, the administrative meets the political. Decisions on recognition, made in considering whether a difference is substantial, have a direct influence on applicants' future study and employment opportunities, but also reveal how those who make the decisions view themselves, their education system and their societies.

Improving recognition in the European Higher Education Area: an analysis of national action plans (Council of Europe higher education series No.12) (2010)
978-92-871-6648-7 Andrejs Rauhvargers and Agnese Rusakova
In 2007, ministers responsible for the implementation of the Bologna Process submitted national action plans for improving the recognition of qualifications, which is one of the priorities of this process. While the international legal framework for recognition is largely in place, there is still much to be done to improve the framework's implementation.

The authors analyse the national action plans, demonstrating that there is great variety in practice among European countries. While some national action plans, provide a clear agenda for further improvement, others merely describe the current state of affairs, offering little indication for further action. This book will be of interest to policy makers and practitioners, and it is hoped that the analysis it provides will encourage further discussion and, above all, improved practice.

Intercultural dialogue on Campus (Council of Europe higher education series No. 11) (2009)

Sjur Bergan and Jean-Philippe Restoueix (eds)

Modern societies are inconceivable as isolated and mono-cultural entities. The interaction of various cultures is not only a fact of life for most Europeans, it also enriches our societies. However, we also witness tensions between cultures. Intercultural dialogue is therefore one of the political priorities of the Council of Europe, as shown most prominently by the adoption of the White Paper "Living Together as Equals in Dignity" in May 2008.

Higher education, by its history and contemporary practice, is a natural partner in and promoter of intercultural dialogue and understanding. Higher education institutions and campuses are themselves multicultural societies, and as such are the focus of the present volume. A second volume will examine the role of higher education in furthering intercultural dialogue and understanding in broader society.

New challenges in recognition (Council of Europe higher education series No. 10) (2008)

Andrejs Rauhvargers and Sjur Bergan (eds)

Recognition of qualification is one of the key elements of the Bologna Process aiming to establish a European Higher Education Area by 2010. The fair recognition of qualifications is an individual right; it is also important to improving academic mobility that is an essential goal of the Bologna Process. Put simply, a European Higher Education Area aiming at making it possible for learners and academic staff to move freely ithin the whole Pan-European area to be estblished by 2010 is unthinkable without adequate provision for the fair recognition of qualifications.

This publication focuses on two topics in particular. First, how qualifications that have not been earned through traditional study programme at classical higher education institutions can be recognised, and second, recognition in a global context. In addition, this book gives and overview of the national action plans for recognition submitted by all the members of the Bologna Process prior to the London ministerial conference in May 2007.

The Legitimacy of quality assurance in higher education (Council of Europe higher education series No. 9) (2008)

978- 92-871-6237-3
Luc Weber and Katia Dolgova-Dreyer (eds)

Quality assurance is one of the key topics in the current higher education debate in Europe. In 2005, the ministers involved in the Bologna Process adopted a set of European guidelines for quality assurance. The matter is high on national and European agendas.

In this publication, quality assurance is seen as part of the public responsibility for higher education. The contributions by policy makers and practitioners consider the role of quality assurance as an element of higher education governance and explore its function in the recognition of qualifications. Case studies illustrate its various aspects in two quite different national settings.

Higher Education and Democratic Culture: Citizenship, Human Rights and Civic Responsibility (Council of Europe higher education series No. 8) (2008)

This book on the responsibility of higher education for a democratic culture is the 8th volume in the Council of Europe's Higher Education series. It is the direct result of a Higher Education Forum held in June 2006 on the responsibility of higher education for citizenship, human rights and sustainability. This forum was a part of the Council of Europe's long-standing commitment to work in the area of education for democratic citizenship and human rights. It complements earlier work on the public responsibility for higher education and research which led to a recommendation of the Committee of Minister to the member states of the Council of Europe in 2007. If our aim is to work for sustainable democratic societies, the responsibility of public authorities for a high-quality higher education system must go hand in hand with the responsibility of higher education institutions towards the advancement of society.

The heritage of European universities, 2nd edition (Council of Europe higher education series No. 7) (2007)

Nuria Sanz, Sjur Bergan (eds)

Universities are European institutions par excellence. While people are generally aware that universities have a long history, they often remain unaware of the value of university heritage: the accumulated experience of universities as well as their material culture which have been transmitted from one generation to the next, and the role this heritage plays today.
The authors set out to explore the material and intellectual heritage of universities in all its variety, and how it has been transmitted in the countries of Europe. The aim of this publication is to raise awareness of the key role universities play in the cultural heritage of Europe and to encourage them to co-operate at European level.
The authors, representing some 15 institutions, work in the areas of management and preservation of university heritage.

Qualifications: introduction to a concept by Sjur Bergan (Council of Europe higher education series No. 6) (2007)

Sjur Bergan

Qualifications are a key element of higher education policies in general and of the Bologna Process in particular. Much work has been accomplished in this area over the past few years, and a proper understanding of qualifications is essential to making the European Higher Education Area a reality.
This book provides a systematic overview of the concept of qualifications, discusses its main elements, such as level, workload, qualty, profile and learning outcomes and examines generic and subject-specific competences. The author also considers the development of qualifications frameworks and explores the impact of our understanding of the concept of qualifications on recognition.

Higher education governance between democratic culture, academic aspirations and market forces (Council of Europe higher education series No. 5) (2006)

Jürgen Kohler, Josef Huber and Sjur Bergan (eds)

This fifth volume of the Council of Europe higher education series is the direct result of a conference on higher education governance. It is also the outcome of a project launched by the Council of Europe's Steering Committee for Higher Education and research in response to the need to bring to light an issue which underpins much of the current debate on higher education reform but has not been fully discussed at an international level.

This work sets out to describe governance matters in higher education, highlight current challenges in this field and link them to basic issues debated in society at large and to the Bologna Process in particular. In doing so, it seeks to contribute well-founded arguments to a necessary, ongoing discussion rather than to present firm conclusions. Furthermore, this discussion is bound to gain in importance and relevance as the transformation process of the European Higher Education Area intensifies and issues of sustainable governance of change move up the agenda.

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Recognition in the Bologna Process: policy development and the road to good practice (Council of Europe higher education series No. 4) (2006)

Sjur Bergan and Andrejs Rauhvargers (eds)

The Bologna Process aims to create a European Higher Education Area by 2010. Making it easier for students and graduates to obtain fair recognition of their qualifications is one of the most important measures that will help make the European Higher Education area a reality.

In addition to a comprehensive overview of recent developments in the recognition field, the book includes articles on topics like the impact of emerging qualifications frameworks on recognition, recognition and quality assurance, learning outcomes, credit transfer, recognition and the labour market, borderless education and recognition issues outside of the European Higher Education Area.

Standards for recognition: the Lisbon Recognition Convention and its subsidiary texts (Council of Europe higher education series No. 3) (2005)

Sjur Bergan and Andrejs Rauhvargers (eds)

In this third volume of the Council of Europe’s Higher Education Publication Series, all of the legal standards for the recognition of qualifications, as developed jointly by the Council of Europe and UNESCO in the Lisbon Recognition Convention, are brought together in a single tome. The purpose of this book is to make the current European legal standards readily available for credential evaluators and others who make recognition decisions and for those interested in recognition issues, including policy makers.

The public responsibility for higher education and research (Council of Europe higher education series No. 2) (2005)

Luc Weber and Sjur Bergan (eds)

The public responsibility for higher education and research is a cornerstone of the European university heritage. Yet, our societies are changing rapidly, and clinging to old solutions will not further the very values that these solutions were originally designed to protect. The claim on public attention and public funds is growing, but public funds are not, or at least not at the same rate. While public funding of higher education and research is still important, the concept of public responsibility must be understood much more widely. It must also be nuanced by looking more closely at different degrees and levels of public responsibility as well as at the instruments available for exercising such responsibility. The book, which builds on a Council of Europe conference, aims to explore what public responsibility means in the complex societies that have just crossed the threshold to the 21st century by examining both overall higher education policies and specific aspects of it such as higher education for a democratic culture, access to research results, financing, equal opportunities, the approach to regulation and new trends in higher education.

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The university as res publica - higher education governance, student participation and the university as a site of citizenship (Council of Europe higher education series No. 1) (2004)

Sjur Bergan, Annika Persson, Frank Plantan, Sergiu Musteaţă, Angela Garabagiu

Higher education governance is key component of higher education policies in Europe today, where traditional forms of academic governance are being challenged. The present book brings together various aspects of the role of the university as a site of democratic citizenship, ranging from student participation in higher education governance to the higher education institution as an actor in democratic society. The articles outline how teaching and practice within the university have an impact on the development and maintenance of democratic culture in the larger society. The book underlines the importance and contribution of education and contribution of education and contribution of education and higher education to the overall political objectives of the Council of Europe : democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Governance and participation are central to the values and priorities of the Council of Europe featured prominently in 2005 as the European Year of Citizenship through Education.

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Recognition issues in the Bologna Process (2003)

Sjur Bergan

The Bologna Process, aiming to establish a European higher education Area by 2010, is the most important higher education reform process in Europe since the immediate aftermath of 1968. Making it easier for students and holders of higher education qualifications to move around Europe is one of the key goals of this process, and facilitating the recognition of qualifications is one of the preconditions for this goal to be realised.
This book sets out to take stock of the recognition of qualifications in Europe, and to highlight policies that will help make the European higher education Area a reality. The authors are recognition specialists and higher education policy makers from several countries in Europe and worldwide.

Les politiques linguistiques dans l'enseignement supérieur - Invitation au débat (2003)

Sjur Bergan

Ce livre est le fuit d'une table ronde du Comité directeur pour l'enseignement supérieur et la recherche du Conseil de l'Europe.

Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning higher education in the European Region (No.165) (1998)


Recognition of higher education qualifications: challenges for the next decade (1998)


The European conventions on higher education (1998)

S. Bergen

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