A Key Accent of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the EU in the Area of Education is the Internationalization of Higher Education

05 September 2013, Last updated at, 15:31 EEST
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author: AFP/Scanpix

On 5-6 September Vilnius will host the international conference ‘European Higher Education in the World’, with nearly 200 participants from 36 countries. This conference is one of the biggest events in education of all the events planned for Lithuania’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The conference will be opened by the Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania, Dainius Pavalkis, and the Member of the European Commission in charge of education, Androulla Vassiliou.

‘In the global area of higher education where universities are competing to attract the best students, it is vital for Europe to continue to further encourage the internationalization of studies,’ said Dainius Pavalkis, Minister of Education and Science of Lithuania. ‘We must ensure an open and dynamic study area – this will retain the brightest students and attracting the most promising young intelligent minds from third countries. The internationality of higher education directly corresponds to the aim of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the EU – to secure an open and growing Europe.’

The number of students around the world is increasing. The majority want education not only in their native countries but also abroad. Representatives of the European higher education system, which want to reinforce the global position of European higher education, must properly evaluate the situation. According to forecasts, the number of global students will increase fourfold within the next two decades – from 99 to 414 million. Therefore, educational institutions and education policy representatives must start thinking about what they can offer such students and what influence the changes may bring for society.

Educational experts and other stakeholders will discuss the international dimension of higher education. Vice President for the Baltic region of ‘Thermo Fisher Scientific’, Algimantas Markauskas, will present the employers’ position, and a member of the committee of the European Students’ Union Board, Erin Nordal, will present the students’ position. Director of the Institute of Cardiology of Kaunas University of Health Sciences, Dr. Rimantas Benetis, and his close associate Director of Kazakhstan’s National Medical Research Centre, Dr. Abay Baigenzhin, will share experience from third countries. Associate Professor of the Institute for Education of Tshinghua University, Dr. Zhou Zhong, will present China’s position on European higher education, and educational expert from Australia, Dr. Stephanie Fahey, will present her vision of the future university.

During the conference, round table discussions will be held in which suggestions regarding the issue of encouraging the international dimension of higher education in the near future will be raised. These suggestions will be presented to the states’ governments and institutions of higher education and research. The discussions will also focus on how to increase the global competitiveness of European higher education and measures to implement the plans.

Nearly 200 participants form 36 countries (24 member states of the European Union, Australia, China, the USA, Norway, Russia, Azerbaijan and other countries) will take part in the conference ‘European Higher Education in the World’.

The organizers of the ‘European Higher Education in the World’ conference are the Ministry of Education and Science, and Research and Higher Education Monitoring and the Analysis Centre (MOSTA).

The conference will be broadcast live online via the conference portal of the European Commission.

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