“Mainstreaming Social Dimension in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA): Implementation of a National Strategy“

7 October 2020, Online

"We therefore commit to developing policies that encourage and support higher education institutions to fulfil their social responsibility and contribute to a more cohesive and inclusive society through enhancing intercultural understanding, civic engagement and ethical awareness, as well as ensuring equitable access to higher education. Bologna Paris Communiqué 2018

During this Peer Learning Activity participants representing national authorities and higher education institutions from seven countries of the EHEA discussed ways of mainstreaming the social dimension through National Strategies and strategic measures. It was designed as a follow-up to the Peer Learning Activity that took place in Linz (Austria) in March 2017, when Austria launched its “National Strategy for the Social Dimension in Higher Education”. The PLA in 2017 aimed at gathering information on the development and implementation of National Strategies in member countries of the EHEA. Now, we wanted to look into the implementation of National Strategies on the institutional level, which is why participating countries were represented by tandems of national authorities and higher education institutions.

During the PLA we discussed the following questions:

  • What is the current state of play of the implementation of Strategies for the Social Dimension in the participating countries on national level?
  • What progress has been made since 2017?
  • What is the current state of play of the implementation of Strategies for the Social Dimension in higher education institutions?
  • What are examples of good practice of Strategies for the Social Dimension and their implementation on an institutional level?
  • How can successful implementation be measured and evaluated?
    • Which quantitative indicators can be used to evaluate access to higher education for underrepresented student groups and groups with specific needs?
    • For example, how can representative student surveys on student success, engagement etc. be used for the evaluation?
  • After the development of the Principles and Guidelines to Strengthen the Social Dimension of Higher Education in the EHEA and the focus on social inclusion within Bologna papers – what will be the next steps on European level?
  • How do the changes due to Covid-19 impact all of the above questions or issues?

This event was co-funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Research, as well as by the project „INternationalisation/INclusion/ INnovation: Towards high-quality inclusive mobility and innovative teaching & learning in an internationalised Austrian Higher Education Area - 3-IN-AT“- a KA3-activity of the European Commission. We thank the University of Applied Arts Vienna for their friendly support.

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