Latest Articles


24.10.2014
Agri Ismail

The pioneers of global gentrification

Does anyone feel genuinely at home in the age of global gentrification? Probably not, writes Agri Ismail, certainly not if the experience of the Kurdish diaspora is anything to go by. But so long as a Swedish song plays in an Irish pub in a chain hotel in Kurdistan, a sense of security remains. [ more ]

23.10.2014
Martha Nussbaum

Liberalism needs love

23.10.2014
Alain Finkielkraut

Damn security!

22.10.2014
Fréderic Neyrat

Critique of geo-constructivism

New Issues


24.10.2014

Wespennest | 167 (2014)

Norden
23.10.2014

Glänta | 2/2014

Migration #2
23.10.2014

Mittelweg 36 | 5/2014

Politische Tiere [Political animals]

Eurozine Review


15.10.2014
Eurozine Review

This revolutionary moment

"Index" looks into the future of journalism; "Transit" keeps alive the memory of the Maidan; in "Syn og Segn", climate optimist Kristin Halvorsen calls for a global price tag on pollution; "Kulturos barai" talks to urban ecologist Warren Karlenzig; "Rigas Laiks" congratulates Reykjavik's first anarchist mayor; "Merkur" discusses photography and the definition of artistic value; "La Revue nouvelle" braces itself for more European political deadlock; "Kritiikki" profiles Russian émigré author Sergei Dovlatov; and "Nova Istra" remembers the Croatian émigré poet Viktor Vida.

17.09.2014
Eurozine Review

Independence in an age of interdependence

03.09.2014
Eurozine Review

Was Crimea a preliminary exercise?

06.08.2014
Eurozine Review

What are you doing here?

23.07.2014
Eurozine Review

The world's echo system



http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2011-05-02-newsitem-en.html
http://mitpress.mit.edu/0262025248
http://www.eurozine.com/about/who-we-are/contact.html
http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2009-12-02-newsitem-en.html

My Eurozine


If you want to be kept up to date, you can subscribe to Eurozine's rss-newsfeed or our Newsletter.

Articles
Share |


Romania: Bologna versus entrenched interests

Critique of Bologna in Romania is a pretext for academic complacency and professional self-preservation, writes Corneliu Balan. The problem is not the Bologna system as such but the subordination of education to political interests and the privatization of the universities.

The Romanian technical academic establishment has a largely negative view of the Bologna system. This is particularly true among mediocre university lecturers who think their careers are being disrupted, endangered even, by any form of worldwide evaluation or quality control in which selection will, sooner or later, be based on merit. The system proposed – or should it be "imposed" – by Bologna is obviously structured in such a way as to allow young university graduates to find their optimal place within the dynamics of present and future European society, of which, it is assumed, Romania wishes to be a part.

The bonfire of the universities


University strikes in 2009/10 coincide with the ten-year anniversary of the Bologna process. Read more on the debate enflaming (not only) Europe.
The Bologna system is built on several common-sense principles:

– keep as many 18- to 20-year-olds as possible within the sphere of higher education (the three-year Bachelor degree cycle);

– select students with high potential efficiently (the two-year Master degree cycle);

– limit the social costs of preparing and training future specialists (the three-year Doctoral degree cycle);

– ensure continuous interaction between higher education and the labour market;

– and, last but not least, generate a shared sense of unity and social solidarity among European countries.


However, for all of the above to gain concrete form, one needs real teachers – honest, generous, professionally competent, not obsessed with stuffy educational regulations, kindly and without overly inflated egos – for whom the individual good is a projection of the common good and morality and justice are the rule. Do you recognize yourselves, dear colleagues?

Assuming that just 51 per cent of lecturers fit this profile, if the following preconditions are met the Bologna system can be implemented, even in Romanian universities:

– Devise truly professional Masters degree cycles. What we have now in Romania has nothing to do with a professional Masters degree; the current M.A. cycle is a mere simulacrum of the real thing transformed into part-time education. It is in this area that the main sore point of Romanian universities is located and, as long as this problem is not adequately addressed, the implementation of the new system remains pointless.

– Drastically limit distance doctoral programmes. The quality of the doctoral students' activities and their international visibility alongside their supervisor should weigh significantly in the balance when awarding the title of university lecturer. How can you possibly become a university lecturer if you are incapable of supervising doctorates? Only in Romania can you obtain the title of lecturer and only afterwards be scrutinized to see if you fulfil the requirements for a doctoral supervisor.

– With the exception of sabbatical leave and time off requested for other activities – such as engaging in politics for instance – university lecturers should work for one university only and should not hold any other positions outside the university except as consultants.

– There has to be a clear retirement age for university lecturers. After this age, they can either become professor emeritus with clearly defined duties, or undertake other permanent activities outside the university.

– The organization and teaching of Masters and Doctoral courses should be taught in separate universities from those teaching the standard B.A. All universities can award the latter but only some of them fulfil the requirements for running M.A. and Doctoral degrees, which should be taught separately.

– The completion of the B.A. degree should under no circumstances be financially constrained, at least not for those students who can prove they have the necessary ability to fulfil the minimum standards required. It is wrong that in European university fees should be charged at the B.A. level regardless of the quality of the applicants.

– Academic curricula should not be subordinated to the lecturers' needs but devised with the better education and adequate training of students in mind.

All these preconditions have been repeatedly discussed in Romania for many years but are not reflected in corresponding legislation and never will be as long as higher education is subordinated to politically motivated group interests. There are six reasons why clear and concrete decisions such as those outlined above are being eternally delayed:

1. Romanian universities do not fulfil the prerequisite for enacting the reform, namely, that 51 per cent of the educators be real teachers. We simply don't have the people.

2. The wilful bundling together of the sort of problems that may be caused by the changes in the educational system is obviously to the advantage of mediocrity. Scathing articles about the failings of the Bologna system are being published – it destroys subject areas and specialisations, it turns us into robots, it forces us to publish ISI articles (The Institute for Scientific Information database contains 16 000 peer reviewed international journals, books and proceedings in the sciences and humanities – ed.) and so on – without mentioning that nobody forces you to devise a course which is bland, limited, unimaginative and irrelevant, boring and put together only for the sake of observing the new requirements. Who stops you from working directly with your Masters and Doctoral students? From doing research? From finding your place within the European academic community? Too many university lecturers show a complacency and lack of responsibility that is often beyond the pale.

3. Many lecturers wish to preserve their cosy place within the system, irrespective of the repercussions this has for everyone else. How can you lament the fact that there are no valuable young talented teachers when, year on year, you exert pressure on the university to ³extend² your tenure beyond the retirement age? Stating that there is no one to replace you merely shows that you have either been incapable as a teacher or exclusively focused on your personal concerns: you gave nothing. What an example it would be for Romanian society if some eminent professor stepped down at the age of 65 and made himself or herself available to the university!

4. There is a lack of specific and coherent higher education legislation. Not even the Presidential Commission was able to provoke a change in attitude and mobilize parliament.

5. The majority of Romanian society has accepted the concept of a paid-for degree; this has been institutionalized by the political class and its creation and support of institutions that bear the misnomer of ³private universities². We deserve our fate!

6. Obsessively, at their debates about the organisation and running of higher education, television channels almost exclusively present politicians and union representatives who come from the academic world; always the same faces. Thus, the message of civil society will never be powerful enough to make an impression on the legislative system, and politics has gained a dominant position within the mass media that it neither deserves nor justifies by the quality of its actions.

In conclusion, I believe that the Bologna system is structurally incompatible with the reality presented by Romanian universities. Its implementation will, for a long time, remain in the virtual sphere, reform will be enacted in the local style and forced to evolve along lines imposed by political constraints over which local and group interests are superimposed. Let us not forget that universities, such as they are in the Romania of today, are a creation of today's lecturers; it is their mission, duty and responsibility to implement the Bologna system.

 



Published 2010-07-01


Original in Romanian
Translation by Monica Mircescu
First published in Dilema veche 290 (2009) (Romanian version)

Contributed by Dilema veche
© Corneliu Balan / Dilema veche
© Corneliu Balan
© Eurozine
 

Support Eurozine     click for more

If you appreciate Eurozine's work and would like to support our contribution to the establishment of a European public sphere, see information about making a donation.

Focal points     click for more

Russia in global dialogue

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/eurocrisis.html
In the two decades after the end of the Cold War, intellectual interaction between Russia and Europe has intensified. It has not, however, prompted a common conversation. The focal point "Russia in global dialogue" seeks to fuel debate on democracy, society and the legacy of empire. [more]

Ukraine in focus

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/publicsphere.html
Ten years after the Orange Revolution, Ukraine is in the throes of yet another major struggle. Eurozine provides commentary on events as they unfold and further articles from the archive providing background to the situation in today's Ukraine. [more]

The ends of democracy

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/democracy.html
At a time when the global pull of democracy has never been stronger, the crisis of democracy has become acute. Eurozine has collected articles that make the problems of democracy so tangible that one starts to wonder if it has a future at all, as well as those that return to the very basis of the principle of democracy. [more]

The EU: Broken or just broke?

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/eurocrisis.html
Brought on by the global economic recession, the eurocrisis has been exacerbated by serious faults built into the monetary union. Contributors discuss whether the EU is not only broke, but also broken -- and if so, whether Europe's leaders are up to the task of fixing it. [more]

Time to Talk     click for more

Time to Talk, a network of European Houses of Debate, has partnered up with Eurozine to launch an online platform. Here you can watch video highlights from all TTT events, anytime, anywhere.
Dessislava Gavrilova, Jo Glanville et al.
The role of literature houses in protecting the space for free expression

http://www.eurozine.com/timetotalk/european-literature-houses-meeting-2014/
This summer, Time to Talk partner Free Word, London hosted a debate on the role that literature houses play in preserving freedom of expression both in Europe and globally. Should everyone get a place on the podium? Also those representing the political extremes? [more]

Eurozine BLOG

On the Eurozine BLOG, editors and Eurozine contributors comment on current affairs and events. What's behind the headlines in the world of European intellectual journals?
Ben Tendler
Cultures of the Anthropocene

http://www.eurozine.com/blog/
Though the Anthropocene has yet to be officially ratified as a new geological epoch, reflections on cultures of the Anthropocene can hardly be considered premature, writes Ben Tendler. A roundup of recent contributions to the public debate that seek to overcome departmental thinking. [more]

Vacancies at Eurozine     click for more

There are currently no positions available.

Editor's choice     click for more

William E Scheuerman
Civil disobedience for an age of total surveillance
The case of Edward Snowden

http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2014-04-18-scheuerman-en.html
Earlier civil disobedients hinted at our increasingly global condition. Snowden takes it as a given. But, writes William E. Scheuerman, in lieu of an independent global legal system in which Snowden could defend his legal claims, the Obama administration should treat him with clemency. [more]

Literature     click for more

Olga Tokarczuk
A finger pointing at the moon

http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2014-01-16-tokarczuk-en.html
Our language is our literary destiny, writes Olga Tokarczuk. And "minority" languages provide a special kind of sanctuary too, inaccessible to the rest of the world. But, there again, language is at its most powerful when it reaches beyond itself and starts to create an alternative world. [more]

Piotr Kiezun, Jaroslaw Kuisz
Literary perspectives special: Witold Gombrowicz

http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2013-08-16-kuisz-en.html
The recent publication of the private diary of Witold Gombrowicz provides unparalleled insight into the life of one of Poland's great twentieth-century novelists and dramatists. But this is not literature. Instead: here he is, completely naked. [more]

Literary perspectives
The re-transnationalization of literary criticism

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/literaryperspectives.html
Eurozine's series of essays aims to provide an overview of diverse literary landscapes in Europe. Covered so far: Croatia, Sweden, Austria, Estonia, Ukraine, Northern Ireland, Slovenia, the Netherlands and Hungary. [more]

Debate series     click for more

Europe talks to Europe

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/europetalkstoeurope.html
Nationalism in Belgium might be different from nationalism in Ukraine, but if we want to understand the current European crisis and how to overcome it we need to take both into account. The debate series "Europe talks to Europe" is an attempt to turn European intellectual debate into a two-way street. [more]

Conferences     click for more

Eurozine emerged from an informal network dating back to 1983. Since then, European cultural magazines have met annually in European cities to exchange ideas and experiences. Around 100 journals from almost every European country are now regularly involved in these meetings.
Law and Border. House Search in Fortress Europe
The 26th European Meeting of Cultural Journals
Conversano, 3-6 October 2014

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/conversano2014.html
Eurozine's 2014 conference in southern Italy, not far from Lampedusa, addressed both EU refugee and immigration policies and intellectual partnerships across the Mediterranean. Speakers included Italian investigative journalist Fabrizio Gatti and Moroccan feminist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Rita El Khayat. [more]

Multimedia     click for more

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/multimedia.html
Multimedia section including videos of past Eurozine conferences in Vilnius (2009) and Sibiu (2007). [more]


powered by publick.net