Academic journal article CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal

The Complexity of Policy Mirroring: The Connection between International and Slovenian Higher Education Policy Discourse

Academic journal article CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal

The Complexity of Policy Mirroring: The Connection between International and Slovenian Higher Education Policy Discourse

Article excerpt

The contemporary economic imaginary of the 'knowledge-based economy' is changing the perception of higher education in Europe. The goals of higher education are changing and reform of institutions is predicted. The present article examines these reforms and conceptualisations of higher education by presenting the results of discourse analysis of 47 international policy documents at the European level and two comprehensive national strategies of the Republic of Slovenia for higher education, research and innovation. Based on the analysis of the European documents, the article suggests that two main discourses are constructed: a) 'the research-based society and economy', and b) 'reforming the university'. These present the emergence of a new idea of higher education at the international and national levels. The article investigates the extent to which these discourses are present in Slovenian higher education policy. The findings show that Slovenian discourse hesitates to embrace them fully. In particular, the idea of the managerial university is marginal in Slovenian discourse.

Keywords: higher education policy, discursive analysis, supranational policy making, the knowledge economy, Slovenian higher education

Kompleksnost prenosa diskurzov v politike: povezava mednarodnih in slovenskih diskurzov visokosolskih politik

Zdajsnji ekonomski imaginarij »ekonomije, ki temelji na znanju«, spreminja percepcijo visokega solstva v Evropi. Spreminjajo se cilji visokega solstva in napovedujejo se reforme institucij. V prispevku so analizirane te reforme in konceptualizacija visokega solstva, tako da predstavimo izsledke diskurzivne analize 47 mednarodnih politicnih dokumentov na evropski ravni in dveh celovitih visokosolskih, raziskovalnih in inovacijskih strategij. Na osnovi analize evropskih dokumentov clanek nakaze, da sta izoblikovana dva glavna diskurza: a) »druzba in ekonomija, ki temeljita na raziskovanju«, in b) »reformiranje univerze«. Diskurza predstavljata pojav nove ideje visokega solstva na mednarodnih in nacionalnih ravneh. Clanek preverja obseg, v katerem sta diskurza prisotna v slovenskih visokosolskih politikah. Izsledki kazejo, da je slovenski diskurz zadrzan do tega, da bi ju popolnoma sprejel. Se zlasti ideja menedzerske univerze je v slovenskem diskurzu marginalna.

Kljucne besede: visokosolske politike, diskurzivna analiza, nadnacionalno oblikovanje politik, ekonomija znanja, slovensko visoko solstvo

Introduction

The emerged cultural political economy (Jessop, 2008) in Europe, which paves the way to the growing importance of supranational decision making, offers a new meaning of higher education (HE). European policy and decisions directly affect higher education institutions (HEIs). Divided between different roles such as cultural versus economic, utilitarian versus non-utilitarian (Gornitzka, 2010), HEIs are expected to reform. For a European Union (EU) member state, the Bologna Process (BP) and the EU are the two most important international arenas for HE coordination. The EU has gained in importance in the past decade with regard to influencing member states' national HE policy, especially via the Lisbon Strategy and by using new modes of governance (such as the open method of coordination) and new institutionalised governance structures (such as expert groups or 'clusters' on E&T2010) (Corbett, 2011). Thus states are expected to follow the EU course, despite the unchanged legal basis of retaining formal competence over HE.

The article aims to identify the discourses of four clusters of international policy documents relevant to the European higher education area (EHEA) considering the horizontal dynamics of policy making (Gornitzka, 2010). It focuses on the new meaning of HE and the expected roles of HEIs. Using a case study approach, the extent to which these discourses are present in Slovenian HE policy is then demonstrated.

Approach and methods

Four clusters of international policy documents significant to European HE are analysed, i. …

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