1.1.2 The design of the LRP publication project The purpose of the publications

Comparative knowledge has, at least, three advantages:

  • it maps, and sometimes explains, diversity;
  • it stimulates and guides reform;
  • and it may reveal! alternatives and even minimal standards.
  • The Council of Europe has embarked on a series of six volumes of comparative studies based on country reports. This publication project is the first LRP venture to cover completely the territorial scope of the Council of Europe. It is, at the same time, a logical complementary instrument of the Programme. Like the LRP advisory missions, workshops and study programmes which are themselves based on the comparative principle, the series provides analyses, the aim of which is to stimulate and initiate reflection, discussion and change, to survey information, give counsel and help mutual learning, and to promote and assist development processes. Subsequently, it attempts to forge constructive partnerships across Europe.

    The series should contribute to the compatibility of European higher education systems and support LRP' s advisory work, as well as search for common ground. It does not seek harmonisation or standardisation. The six volumes provide the reader with an opportunity to set his or her own standards and objectives within the current as well as the future context.

    An examination of the consequences which follow from the pervasive policy of internationalisation of governments and institutions over the last fifteen years is equally important, and most especially for the legal categories and systems it generates within higher education. It seems that current classifications have to be abandoned as a legislative melting-pot is emerging. However, comparative studies dealing with the fundamentals of higher education legislation, legislative processes, their direction, incompatible mixtures and implementation, are still rare.

    Higher education and research are held to be essential for democracy, prosperity, equity, tolerance, and the common good in a modern society. This responsibility is partly fulfilled by simply providing good higher education and good practice to the future generation of teachers, managers and opinion leaders in the public and private sector. Nonetheless, higher education and research need the ongoing stimulation of public interest in order to assure a fair share of the available public funds. This series may help in locating arguments in public discussion from a substantial, value oriented and comparative, but not primarily an economic, point of view. The audience

    The publication project is the outcome of ongoing scholarly debate. Equally important is to inspire and serve as a practical guide for the growing constituency of ministerial and institutional policy and decision makers at any level. The series focuses on legislation in its political, social and economic context. It is not meant as a tool for lawyers alone; the volumes are designed to bring those involved in higher education and research in all forty-three States party to the Cultural Convention, closer together and to speed the communication and co-operation between members of parliament, governments, ministries, higher education and research institutions (irrespective of their legal status), intermediaries like funding councils, accreditation committees and rectors' conferences, staff and students and their representatives, as well as unions, political parties and researchers in higher education. Everyone else who is involved or interested in higher education policy and management, in non-European countries, other educational sectors, and other sectors of public service, may also find food for thought. The approach

    The series will deal with the government and institutional steering of higher education institutions. The topics are examined from different perspectives: meta, governmental, institutional and individual viewpoints. It will be examined whether (legislative) traditions in higher education permit a certain classification of the national higher education systems. The volumes analyse and identify the endogenous driving forces of legislation: forces within higher education institutions and government, as well as the exogenous driving forces: economic, social and political. To the question whether legislating, in the sense of developing, drafting and implementing legislation, is itself an endogenous driving force, answers may be found in the volume "Sharing Experience". Six volumes

    The Editing Board has opted for the presentation of broad topics, that have been specially focused. An inventory of the most important elements has resulted in the planning of the six volumes described in the overview on page 319. "Relations between State and Higher Education" lays the foundation for the following volumes and is in consequence the widest in scope. Whereas "Relations" examines the ties between government and higher learning, "Institutional Governance" focuses on the institutional dimension, and forms a counterbalance. " Administration" complements the first two volumes and concentrates on accountability in terms of the linkage between financial management and quality assurance. The volume "Sharing Experience" is somewhat different, as it concentrates on analysing, evaluating and understanding the process and direction of legislative reform and implementation in higher education and research. The volumes dedicated to "Staff” and "Students" focus on research and teaching as the core business of higher education institutions, as students and staff are the basic groups within institutions. This implies that policy, legislation, implementation and management should be aimed at facilitating the well-being and functioning of the individuals within these two groups.

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