Futuribles Journal n° 424

Économie, emploi - Éducation - Recherche, sciences, techniques

Towards World-Class Universities: Challenges and Opportunities for European Universities in the 21st Century

Fifty years after the student revolt of May 1968, Futuribles is devoting a dossier in this issue to the prospects for higher education in France. Alongside the articles by Jean-François Cervel, Pierre Papon and François Taddei describing the challenges faced by the French system today and the possible ways of meeting them, Gérard Escher and Patrick Aebischer highlight the key strengths the universities should now draw on to assert a presence at the international level.

Basing themselves, among other things, on the successful experience of the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), they highlight the changes that now have to be implemented within higher education institutions in the era of globalization and large-scale digitalization: on-line courses and distance learning for everyone and at all stages of life… Gérard Escher and Patrick Aebischer also list all the essential ingredients for a world-class university: developing a capacity to attract the most promising students, having an Internet presence, bringing in the best teaching staff, promoting innovation, developing a campus spirit, raising substantial finance, having a strategic vision etc. The European countries, France first and foremost, undoubtedly have the means to mobilize these ingredients and to position themselves on the world stage, but they are latecomers on the scene and, in a time when everything is moving faster and faster, there is a clear need to up the tempo on this process.