Students want performance rankings for EU universities

Ireland“University students want third-level education reformed, with performance rankings for colleges and courses, but one in five don’t know what they will do when they finish their degrees.

The survey carried out in all EU countries feeds into the effort to ensure recognition of third-level education and certification across Europe and make it easier for students to study and work abroad.

Irish students’ views were similar to those in most other countries, with the vast majority believing all qualified students should have the right to third-level education and that it should include learning skills like communication, teamwork and learning how to learn.

More than 80% believed that ranking universities and their programmes would help students choose where to study.

However, more than in most countries, Irish students said that issues such as location, friends and costs were important considerations when choosing where to study.

Half of Irish students had either studied abroad or planned to. Just 7% said they had tried to study abroad and had to give up, mainly because of a lack of funds but secondly because language was a barrier.

When asked about their post-graduation plans, half of BA students intended to do a masters, which was the EU average.

But less than a third said they intended to find work, less than the EU average, while one in five students said they did not know what they would do after graduation. This was more than double the average of other countries.

Europe has about 4,000 higher education institutions with almost 19 million students and 1.5 million staff. Education Commissioner Jan Figel, said the Eurobarometer survey showed that the majority of students supported the drive towards modernising higher education.

Ministers from the EU, 18 other European countries and 20 countries outside Europe meet in Belgium next week to review progress on education reforms known as the Bologna Process agreed 10 years ago. They will also agree priorities for the next decade up to 2020.”

[Ann Cahill, Irish Examiner, 23 April]

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