Higher Education and the Knowledge Society: issues, challenges and responses in Norway and Germany

Arthur, Lore (2006). Higher Education and the Knowledge Society: issues, challenges and responses in Norway and Germany. Research in Comparative and International Education, 1(3) pp. 241–252.

URL: http://www.wwwords.co.uk/rcie/content/pdfs/1/issue...

Abstract

This paper investigates how employers and university leaders in two very different countries, Germany and Norway, are responding to the challenges imposed by the global knowledge economy and the 1999 Bologna Declaration. It asks: Does society need more or fewer graduates? What competencies do employers expect of their graduate workers? How do higher education institutions perceive their responsibility towards the employability of their graduates? Both countries offer the opportunity to illustrate responses to shared challenges. From a comparative perspective a number of issues have emerged. In Germany, the country’s federal structure with divided responsibilities remains a cause of frustration. Reforms are slow and laden with complexities. Norway’s centralised system of higher education, on the other hand, and the availability of resources, has eased higher education reforms but not anxieties about the country’s economic future ‘once the oil runs out’. However, the successes of two mass higher education systems built on Humboldtian traditions are also discussed.

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