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Magna Charta Observatory team in Tetovo for a Regional Workshop

Tetovo, 25 - 26 June 2015

Observatory Workshop in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

The Magna Charta Observatory held a Regional workshop on university autonomy in cooperation with the State University of Tetova.

The event, entitled ‘University Autonomy and Values for Society’, took place on 25 and 26 June and was attended by over 300 participants, including many students of the University. It was addressed by the Ministers of Education and Science of FYROM and the Minister of Education, Science and Technology of Kosovo (UN1244) as well as by others including the Rector of the University and the President, Secretary General and three members of the Observatory’s Council.

The importance of protecting and supporting independent universities to enable them to deliver benefits to society, economically and socially, and to achieve higher standards and quality assurance mechanisms in an increasingly globalised environment was stressed by the ministers. Also emphasised by the Ministers was the need for good governance and to create good laws in association with universities.

Presentations were made on the multi – faceted and relative concept of autonomy, the elements of it and how the concept was developing in a range of countries and how it was perceived to have developed internationally over time. The fundamental need to develop trust between the university and the different constituents of society, and the benefits of this for academic staff, universities and societies were identified. The requirement for autonomy to be matched with responsibility as a sound basis for this trust was stressed. This way many European universities have been able to be successful, both academically and in terms of value for society. Best practices show how these aims can be reached in a variety of national settings. Case studies on countries in transition demonstrate the need for sustainable investments in Higher Education Institutions and the crucial role of law making. 

Parallel sessions looked at ‘the value of leadership development’ and ‘values, the curriculum and the student experience’.

The organisation of the workshop, the level of interest in it and the participation of Ministers was clear evidence that the significance of autonomy and the fundamental values set out in the Magna Charta Universitatum were widely appreciated. Feedback suggested that the conclusions developed from the workshop would have wider impact in the region and could play a part in the further development of autonomous operations of universities. Focused follow up activities in the region are being considered.

Regional workshops of this kind are an important part of what the Observatory has to offer to signatories of the Magna Charta Universitatum and non-signatories alike. They serve to provide 2-way communication on issues and approaches. Universities and States wishing to organise similar events are invited to contact the MCO on magnacharta@unibo.it.