UNESCO IN THE WORLD — UNESCO IN EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA
Conference of Ministers of European Member States responsible for Science Policy (MINESPOL I), UNESCO, Paris
CO-OPERATION WITH MEMBER STATES
Throughout this period UNESCO was to encourage the reform of education systems in a number of its Member States, notably by sending experts on mission or awarding fellowships, and to act as executing agency for technical co-operation projects financed by the United Nations in Southern Europe. Between 1955 and 1959 around 100 Yugoslavian UNESCO fellowship-holders studied education systems in Europe and America. The Middle-Eastern Technical University in Turkey, together with the Maltese Polytechnic Institute, was to be one of the first projects to benefit from a Special Fund allocation in 1959. (12) In the 1970s, UNESCO was to implement a number of operational projects, such as the National Centre for Educational Technology (OOK) in Hungary, the Higher Polytechnic Institute (SELATE) in Greece, national centres for educational development, such as the CENIDE in Spain, and research centres on the educational applications of information technology (Bulgaria).
HIGHER EDUCATION IN EUROPE
Because of their economic development the countries of Europe are the first to be faced with the need to raise the level of training of their citizens in response to scientific and technical progress, and the resultant transformation of socio-economic structures. In the 1960s, the demand for education increased constantly, and higher education enrolment figures doubled, the democratization of this level of teaching becoming both a governmental issue and an ethical requirement. Two conferences of ministers of education of the Europe Region, in Vienna in 1967 and in Bucharest in 1973, strengthened regional co-operation in this domain, which took on a more tangible form in 1972 with the creation in Bucharest of the European Centre for Higher Education (CEPES).
CEPES was to serve as an information forum (13) and as the focal point for co-operation in higher education in Europe. It participates in activities organized by different sub-regional organizations. (14) In 1979 the Regional Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees in Higher Education was adopted. CEPES plays a leading role in thematic networks on a variety of specific questions, such as the Inter-University Co-operation Network for staff development in higher education launched in Utrecht (The Netherlands) in 1986. Since 1992, more than twenty other inter-university networks have been created within the framework of UNITWIN, and nearly fifty UNESCO Chairs established, especially for the study of human rights. (15) In 1993, at the initiative of CEPES, a European Group for Academic Assessment (EGAA) was created.
THE UTRECHT CONGRESS
Last month, Mr Ifor L. Evans, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales, spoke these words and voiced the feeling of nearly two hundred university leaders from thirty-two countries who gathered together at Utrecht, Netherlands, from August 2-13 to discuss the common problems of universities all over the world.
The conference, called by UNESCO in collaboration with the Netherlands Government, studied a wide range of pressing problems in the field of higher education ranging from new demands or increased enrolment and methods of selecting students to questions of finance and the role of the university in international understanding.
The UNESCO Courier, September 1948.
President of the Republic of Austria from 1965 to 1974
The fact that the subject of the first conference of the Ministers of Education of all European Member States of UNESCO is ‘Access to higher education’ is both satisfactory and typical of the situation prevailing in industrialized Europe. While it was possible in the past to acquire a universal knowledge, the tendency nowadays is towards a comprehensive mastery of a limited field.
Address to MINEDEUROPE I, Vienna,1967
Address to MINEDEUROPE II, Bucharest, 1973
N. F. Krasnov
Address to MINEDEUROPE II, Bucharest, 1973
(12) In 1956, the Organization also helped in the education of Hungarian refugees in Austria and the reconstruction of schools in Budapest.
(13) CEPES publishes a quarterly review Higher Education in Europe (English, French, Russian).
(14) In particular, the Standing Conference on University Problems (Council of Europe), the ERASMUS and COMETT programmes (European Communities), the Standing Conference of Rectors, Presidents and Vice-Chancellors of European Universities (CRE), meetings of ministers of higher education of CMEA.
(15) UNESCO Social Science Institute in Cologne (1951-1960) had the same objective.