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Higher Education Policy in Central and Eastern Europe – To Converge or Not To Converge

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Abstract:

Both in western and eastern Europe, the structures and organizational patterns in higher education are subject to enormous pressures for change, in particular within the framework of the Bologna Process. The article assesses whether the higher education policies of selected transformation countries have converged or diverged both before and after the Bologna Process and attempts to determine the external and internal factors of influence on policy making. The analysis focuses on issues of university governance, which comprises coordination mechanisms, distribution of financial resources, strategic orientation, appointment of staff, and setting research and teaching profiles, etc.
As a conceptual framework for addressing the direction of policy drift, I fall back on three ideal types of higher education governance developed in the literature (see Clark 1983; Olsen 2005): the “Humboldt” model of academic self-regulation, the market-oriented model, and the French-influenced state model. To explain prospects for convergence towards a model, two different aspects are analyzed. Firstly, the study looks at institutional adaptations driven by institutional interlinkages, transnational learning processes, and the impact of international policy promotion. In particular the Bologna Process may trigger an approximation of national policies without formally binding rules. Secondly, historical (e.g. pre-communist and communist) patterns of higher education coordination will be taken into account as a potential explanation for institutional inertia.
The analysis is based on two competing theoretical strands. Firstly, higher education policy networks before and after the Bologna Process are examined as a platform for institutional isomorphism by means of learning and mutual best practice. Secondly, a historical institutionalist approach is drawn on to explain the steadfastness and continuity of national higher education traditions, both pre-communist and communist, and their relevance as a template for modern-day higher education governance. Against this background, convergence and change of HE governance in four central and eastern European countries (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Poland, and Romania) will be examined.
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Association:
Name: Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies
URL:
http://www.ces.columbia.edu


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p400540_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Dobbins, Michael. "Higher Education Policy in Central and Eastern Europe – To Converge or Not To Converge" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies, Grand Plaza, Montreal, Canada, <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p400540_index.html>

APA Citation:

Dobbins, M. "Higher Education Policy in Central and Eastern Europe – To Converge or Not To Converge" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies, Grand Plaza, Montreal, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p400540_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Both in western and eastern Europe, the structures and organizational patterns in higher education are subject to enormous pressures for change, in particular within the framework of the Bologna Process. The article assesses whether the higher education policies of selected transformation countries have converged or diverged both before and after the Bologna Process and attempts to determine the external and internal factors of influence on policy making. The analysis focuses on issues of university governance, which comprises coordination mechanisms, distribution of financial resources, strategic orientation, appointment of staff, and setting research and teaching profiles, etc.
As a conceptual framework for addressing the direction of policy drift, I fall back on three ideal types of higher education governance developed in the literature (see Clark 1983; Olsen 2005): the “Humboldt” model of academic self-regulation, the market-oriented model, and the French-influenced state model. To explain prospects for convergence towards a model, two different aspects are analyzed. Firstly, the study looks at institutional adaptations driven by institutional interlinkages, transnational learning processes, and the impact of international policy promotion. In particular the Bologna Process may trigger an approximation of national policies without formally binding rules. Secondly, historical (e.g. pre-communist and communist) patterns of higher education coordination will be taken into account as a potential explanation for institutional inertia.
The analysis is based on two competing theoretical strands. Firstly, higher education policy networks before and after the Bologna Process are examined as a platform for institutional isomorphism by means of learning and mutual best practice. Secondly, a historical institutionalist approach is drawn on to explain the steadfastness and continuity of national higher education traditions, both pre-communist and communist, and their relevance as a template for modern-day higher education governance. Against this background, convergence and change of HE governance in four central and eastern European countries (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Poland, and Romania) will be examined.


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