Fri, Jan 11, 2013 - Page 9 News List

European universities failing 21st-century students

Outmoded teaching, overcrowded classrooms and a lack of money — the failings of European universities are coming under the microscope by the EU and others looking for ways to improve graduates’ job prospects

By Greg Keller  /  AP, PARIS

Borrell saw the effects of this underfunding while in Vienna. Her law school library shut as early as 4pm some days, and was closed completely on weekends.

“You can imagine what this means when exams are approaching and all of a sudden libraries are just literally stuffed with people,” Borrell said.

In its report, Breugel recommended that the EU spend an extra 1 percent of GDP annual on higher education, and give universities more autonomy in budgets, hiring and faculty pay as a way of giving the additional spending “more bite.”

Moira Koffi, another member of the Class of 2012, last month finished her diploma in corporate communications from the Sorbonne journalism school. Her experience provides an optimistic tale of what Europe’s universities may be doing right.

“I’m very satisfied” with how her school, CELSA, prepared her for finding post-graduation employment.

“There were courses to prepare you for interviews, and networking was a very important” part of the curriculum, Koffi said.

In her case, it paid off: Koffi has just signed her first work contract with an important public relations firm, working on social media campaigns.

Additional reporting by Cassandra Vinograd

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