Guest lectures location:Peking University (Beida, Beijing,PR China date:11-15 April 2003
The last decades policy in Western Europe is characterized by deregulation, self ¬governance of organizations , and a claim for more accountability for the individual citizen. This opinion became the overwhelming ideology in higher education policy in Europe. This article describes whether some governments in the European Union have put a step back in the governance of higher education and whether they did at the same time pursue a higher education policy. Did European states really decentralize higher education policy? Three countries with a very different tradition in higher education policy are discussed, viz. France ( traditionally very centralized policy ) , the United Kingdom (traditionally decentralized policy) , and Belgium (traditionally centralized policy). What are the results of this analysis? As far as higher education policy is concerned is France still centralized, but not so extremely that higher education institutions have no room at all to choose their own direction. Universities in the UK are quite independent from direct state intervention, but are pushed more than once, both directly and indirectly, by the government to go into a particular direction. Higher education in Belgium (Flanders) left definitely the track of centralization it was used to until 1989; higher education policy is not only a state business, it is more than ever the responsibility of the individual institution for higher education.