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

Policy and Prediction: The Case of Institutional Diversity in Romanian Higher Education

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

Policy and Prediction: The Case of Institutional Diversity in Romanian Higher Education

Article excerpt

Presenting key elements of post-1990 historical developments in the Romanian higher education system, the emphasis is put on recent (2011) policies of increasing higher education institutional differentiation. The view is that, in policy design, due attention should be paid to both historical roots and predicted developments. Building on an institutional analysis approach, we put forward a theoretical model that aims to explore the predictive implications of some recently promoted higher education policies. These policies are expected to increase institutional differentiation at the systemic level and enhance quality in teaching and research at university level. The predictive capacity of a model of reference is tested against a concurrent model. The key assumption of the latter is that of considering higher education institutions (HEIs) as "cooperative systems" that are unable to generate those outputs and outcomes that, by aggregation, would contribute to the construction of an institutionally diverse and heterogeneous higher education landscape.

Keywords: institutional differentiation, macro-level systemic incentives, policy and prediction, Romanian higher education

Politike in predvidevanje: primer institucionalne raznolikosti romunskega visokega solstva

Predstavljeni so kljucni elementi zgodovinskega razvoja romunskega visokosolskega sistema po letu 1990, poudarek pa je na najnovejsih politikah (2011), ki tezijo k povecanju institucionalne raznolikosti v visokem solstvu. Pogled, ki je predstavljen, kaze, da je pri oblikovanju politik treba pozornost posvetiti zgodovinskemu ozadju in tudi predvidenemu razvoju. S pomocjo metode analize institucij je predstavljen teoreticni model, s katerim avtorja poskusata raziskati napovedane posledice nekaterih pred kratkim promoviranih politik visokega solstva. Za te politike se pricakuje, da bodo prispevale k povecanju institucionalnega razlikovanja na ravni sistema pa tudi povecanju kakovosti poucevanja in raziskovanja na univerzitetni ravni. Napovedana zmogljivost referencnega modela je testirana ob vzporednem modelu. Kljucna predpostavka zadnjega je upostevanje visokosolskih ustanov kot »kooperativnih sistemov«, ki ne zmorejo ustvariti takih ucinkov in rezultatov, ki bi - ob zdruzitvi - prispevali k izgradnji institucionalno raznolike in raznovrstne krajine visokosolskega izobrazevanja.

Kljucne besede: institucionalna raznolikost, spodbude sistemskih sprememb na makroravni, politike in predvidevanje, visoko solstvo v Romuniji

Introduction

In the context of massification, higher education institutions (HEIs) are under pressure to meet the various requirements and needs of their direct and indirect beneficiaries (Reichert, 2009). Higher education systems with diverse and differentiated institutions are considered to have an increased capacity to satisfy the various expectations of beneficiaries. This essentially means that systems with greater institutional diversity may be regarded as a desirable outcome (van Vught, 2008). Several dimensions of such an outcome are usually considered: provision of wider and diverse learning opportunities, increased capacity for institutional adaptation to students' needs, and increased institutional flexibility in responding to domestic and wider social changes.

Institutional differentiation and institutional diversity bear different meanings. Differentiation is commonly seen as a dynamic process in a higher education system whereby either the existing HEIs follow specific trajectories of development, making them as distinct as possible from others, or new entities have a better chance of emerging in the system. Differentiation is thus a process benefitting from those incentives induced in the system that make each HEI assert its distinction. Institutional diversity is the end result of differentiation. It indicates the variety of entities already existing or the ways in which new entities may emerge and become consolidated within a system. …

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