1.2.2 Bridges for enlightenment and freedom

Ralf Dahrendorf ( 1992) wrote in his "Betrachtungen über die Revolution in Europa", an essay in the form of a letter to a Polish friend: "Freedom above everything else is what I believe in. The goal may be clear, but the road to it is paved with traps. We could help to avoid some of them, but in the first instance it depends on your own energy and determination. The rest is luck. I keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best. I do this with all my heart."

This first volume in particular, as its title suggests, examines the links between the State and the higher education institutions. Each book of the LRP publication project should give guidance to the energy and determination that Dahrendorf mentioned. It ought as well to bridge:

  • the countries of Europe;
  • Parliament, government, ministry, the higher education system and society;
  • democracy and professional efficiency;
  • the present state of legislation and policy development, legislative reform and legitimate implementation of reforms;
  • the law in the books and the law in action;
  • norms and values, convictions and traditions;
  • teaching and research and their daily and strategic management.

Each book in this series is a co-operative creative effort of a great number of scholars involved in higher education. Without them this book would not have been written in this unique way and with this unique result. It is challenging to read the kaleidoscope of impressions, ideas for and descriptions of higher education that the country reports provide. Recollecting the cultural differences that are incorporated in the texts and their practical approach, it is obvious that differentiation is a great virtue and will never cease to exist. Nevertheless, in a world where old borders are continuously replaced by new ones, it is a matter of survival to work consciously together on compatibility and compliance within a variety of solutions, looking for a tailor-made approach for each country. The analysis and conclusions of this book are precious contributions to this survival.
The readers may find that each volume draws on their personal practical perspective and helps generate creativity and inspiration that is demanded from politicians, managers and other workers in higher education and research, and helps provide some enlightenment, heuristic tools, incentives and ideas for 'change agents' allover the world. Only then can the series contribute to the desired equilibrium between consolidation and change.

Freedom, co-operation and enlightenment, may this book contribute to their advancement.

Peter Kwikkers, Programme Manager of the Legislative Reform Programme

This is the first chapter of “Relations between State and Higher Education”, (In’tVeld, Füssel, Neave, The Hague 1996, ISBN 90 411 0245 0) which is the first volume of a series that was planned to become one out of six. However, unfortunately the last four were -though partly prepared- never published. The LRP came -de facto- to an end in 1997.

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