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University consortium.

THE KNOWLEDGE SOCIETY AND HUMAN RESOURCES

The knowledge society is a society where knowledge constitutes the main resource being created, shared and used to generate prosperity and welfare to its members. (1)

The advance to knowledge society is considered, in the world, as a necessary evolution to ensure the durable development in the context of "new economy", mainly on intense-intellectual products and activities, as well as to realize an advanced socio-human civilization.

The rapid changes that happened in the society determine new approaches of the way of thinking about the enterprise and its activity, business, structures, behavior, and interpersonal relationship. The administration of resources involves the development of a new management process, in order to allow the development and maintenance of firm competition. Two fundamental values of the organization - personnel and information and knowledge detained by human resources - should be continuously improved according to the expectations of the market, new work relationship and dynamic role of the organization in the society. The managers propose themselves more and more to capitalize the existing knowledge at one time, from inside or outside the organization, to solve the complex problems inside the organization, with the purpose to develop the business and maximize the economic efficiency. The strategy of the companies wishing to develop their activity leads towards a natural direction: the continuous training of the personnel. The permanent education might be the answer to the imminent changes at the level of the companies, as well as at the level of the persons wishing to perform in the type of society will follow.

The education should be perceived as an individual necessity in the effort to adapt not only to the national environment, but also to the international one. Now, one should learn to know more then before, to be able to approach a new education stage. The education helps to satisfy better one's actual needs, to be able to create (because this intercession is better paid), to be able to navigate between occupations and functions, to feel free in the society. In comparison with previous period of time, the education could not longer offer a lifetime qualification, but it could sustain oneself in a present competition, it does not guarantee a permanent place of work, but it can place oneself on the way to obtain now an adequate place of work.

THE BOLOGNA PROCESS

The contemporary society is dominated by permanent changes, thus, knowledge is becoming the main resource of the advanced economies. The EU officials had launched in 1999 a reorganization process of European Higher Education in order to make it more competitive and better adapted to the new requirements emerging worldwide.

The Bologna Process is named after the Bologna Declaration, which was signed in the Italian city of Bologna on June, 19th 1999 by ministers in charge of higher education from 29 European countries. Today, the Process unites 47 countries - all party to the European Cultural Convention.

The Bologna Process is the process of creating the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and is based on cooperation between ministries, higher education institutions, students and staff from all the 47 countries, with the participation of international organizations.

The main moments and objectives of the Bologna Process are presented in the following table:
1999  The Bologna Declaration     1. Recognition of diplomas: the
                                  adoption of a system of easily
                                  readable and comparable
                                  degrees;

                                  2. The adoption of a system
                                  based on two cycles (bachelor /
                                  master);

                                  3. Implementation of the credit
                                  system (ECTS);

                                  4. Promotion of mobility;

                                  5. Promoting European
                                  cooperation in quality
                                  assurance;

                                  6. Promoting the European
                                  dimension in higher education;

2001  Communique of the meeting   7. Lifelong Learning;
      of European Ministers in
      charge of Higher Education
      in Prague

                                  8. Social dimension;

                                  9. Promoting the attractiveness
                                  of European Higher Education
                                  Area;

2003  Communique of the meeting   10. European Higher Education
      of European Ministers in    Area and European Research Area
      charge of Higher Education  - two pillars of the knowledge
      in Berlin                   society.

2005  Communique of the meeting   Intermediate Priorities
      of European Ministers in    2005-2007:
      charge of Higher Education
      in Bergen

                                  - The introduction of system
                                  analysis models for quality
                                  assurance agencies, as they
                                  were proposed in the ENQA
                                  Report (ENQA=the European
                                  Association for Quality
                                  Assurance in Higher Education);

                                  - Implementation of national
                                  qualifications frameworks;

                                  - Granting and recognition of
                                  joint degrees, including at PhD
                                  level;

                                  - Creating opportunities for
                                  flexible learning paths in
                                  higher education, including
                                  procedures for recognition of
                                  prior learning.

2007  Communique of the meeting   Intermediate Priorities
      of European Ministers in    2007-2009:
      charge of Higher Education
      in Londra

                                  - Student mobility;

                                  - Social dimension;

                                  - Statistical data collection;

                                  - Employability of graduates;

                                  - European Higher Education
                                  Area in a global context.

2009  Communique of the meeting   Priorities 2010-2020:
      of European Ministers in
      charge of Higher Education
      in Leuven/Louvain la
      Neuve

                                  - Increasing the access to
                                  higher education by providing
                                  equal opportunities for all
                                  social categories, particularly
                                  those underrepresented;

                                  - Providing access to lifelong
                                  learning as an integral part of
                                  the education system;

                                  - Ensuring relevant
                                  qualifications for the labor
                                  market needs through better
                                  collaboration of universities
                                  with employers;

                                  - Further curricular reform
                                  through the development of
                                  learning outcomes for programs
                                  of study, but also for
                                  individual courses;

                                  - Increasing the quality of
                                  research in doctoral programs;

                                  - The internationalization of
                                  university activities in order
                                  to increase attractiveness of
                                  European higher education;

                                  - Increase mobility through the
                                  development of educational
                                  opportunities in other
                                  countries, so that by 2020 at
                                  least 20% of graduates of
                                  higher education to benefit
                                  from such opportunities;

                                  - Improving data collection for
                                  the monitorization of the
                                  implementation of the Bologna
                                  objectives;

                                  - Diversification of financing
                                  higher education institutions.

                                  Intermediate Priorities
                                  2010-2012:

                                  - Preparation of national
                                  qualifications frameworks (NQF)
                                  for the higher education for
                                  self-certification by 2012;

                                  - Definition of indicators for
                                  measuring mobility and social
                                  dimension;

                                  - Monitoring the development of
                                  mechanisms to ensure
                                  transparency of higher
                                  education institutions;

                                  - Creating a network for better
                                  information and promotion of
                                  the Bologna Process outside the
                                  European Higher Education Area;

                                  - Implementation of
                                  recommendations from the
                                  national plans concerning the
                                  recognition of diplomas.

2010  Communique of the meeting   Launch of the European Higher
      of European Ministers in    Education Area (EHEA).
      charge of Higher Education
      in Budapesta/ Viena


In December of 2008 Romania has applied for the takeover of the Bologna Secretariat and for hosting the Bologna Ministerial Conference in 2012. Application was accepted one year later, at the Ministerial meeting in Leuven. Starting with July, 1st 2010, Romania took over the Secretariat of the Bologna Process, and will ensure the proper conduct of the program until July 1st, 2012 and will organize in Bucharest, from 26th to 27th April 2012, the next conference of Ministers for the higher education. The Bologna Secretariat duties include administrative and operational aspects concerning the next ministerial conference and specific tasks concerning the work program.

THE UNIVERSITY CONSORTIUM

Education system in the knowledge society is increasingly important because of its function of human resource trainer, knowing that human resource is the most valuable resource in the economy. On the other hand, a characteristic of these times is globalization. In order to better adapt to this "competitiveness war" that is bearing around the globe, universities from all over the world can associate and form university consortia.

The Education Law no.1/2011 shows that:

To promote quality and increase the efficiency of the higher education system, to increase national visibility and to concentrate resources, public universities and private universities can:

a) established university consortium, according to present provisions;

b) merge into a single higher education institution with legal personality. (2)

Furthermore, the law stipulates that:

Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sports preferentially allocate financial resources to university consortium or merged universities, according to a methodology adopted for this purpose by the Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sports, at the National Council for Financing Higher Education proposal (NCFHE/CNFIS = Consiliul National pentru Finantarea Invatamantului Superior). (3)

I consider that the Education Law has a minus on the university consortia, namely the recommendation that their foundation to be done considering the geographical proximity.

The conditions in which the university may be associated with other higher education institutions or other organizations (including research and development units) in order to fulfill its mission, must be listed as mandatory in the University Charter.

Romanian Government has adopted the Law no. 287 concerning the university consortia since June 2004. The law provides that they shall function as voluntary associations based on partnership agreements between two or more universities, including at least one that is accredited. A university may be associated to a single consortium, based on the approval of the University Senate. Also, research and development facilities may become members of the university consortia and the cooperation between higher education institutions or between universities and research and development units within the consortium can go up to merge into one institution, with the consent of Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sports.

Based on university autonomy and operational status of scientific research institutes, university education units set concrete forms of establishment of these associations. The Constitutive Act of university consortium is represented by the partnership agreement, which specifies the share of each partner, programs of study offered by each partner and the type of specialization as well as main areas of cooperation.

After ensuring the legal procedures of establishment and functioning, the university consortia will be recognized as legal entities of public utility. Once done the procedure for establishing of such an organization, will be elect a president and a board of directors consisting of 5-13 representatives of the compound institutions. The president is elected by the Board of Directors of the consortium, and validated by each academic senate, respectively boards of directors of research and development units.

At the level of university consortium may be established joint commission on areas of activity (programs of study, research, technical and administrative, student issues), composed of representatives of each university responsible for that area, as well as scientific directors of research institutes. The commissions' activities are coordinated by the President of the consortium. The committees draw up periodically proposals for the development and the optimization of functioning of the consortium in their respective fields.

In case of joint investments made within the consortium, the investment contracts must stipulate each partner's contribution to the achievement of investment, size of the investment rights by each partner, sharing the access time, the share of expenses for maintenance and operation of the objective investment, as well as any income that is obtained from its use.

After establishment, the university consortium develops strategic plans and annual integrated operational plans in order to assure basic and additional financing. Universities and research institutes members of the consortium retain full autonomy in managing their resources.

University consortium has the following important objectives:

* ensure efficient use of material resources, financial and human resources of the component units, thus achieving the cost reduction by sharing existing infrastructure;

* establishes the principles of cooperation and common strategic objectives for all institutions of the consortium;

* promote joint academic programs;

* offers students the opportunity to follow courses/specializations based on the accumulation and transfer of credits within the consortium;

* develops an integrated admission strategy and an unique Guide of the student in the university consortium, stating all the courses and specializations that may be followed based on the accumulation and transfer of study credits to any of the universities of the consortium;

* facilitate teacher mobility within the consortium.

Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sports supports the establishment of the university consortia, by stimulating complementary financing policy, respecting the principles of university autonomy.

The first official University Consortium was created this year in Romania, in Timisoara, parts being Polytechnic University "Traian Vuia" and University of Medicine and Pharmacy "Victor Babes". In the future we want to have more such university superstructures that would be strong providers of higher education and research, competitive both nationally and internationally, with the potential for high performance both in monodisciplinary approach in which partners are already well known and in the wide opening multidisciplinary approach.

NOTES

(1.) Romanian Parliament, Law no.1/2011, List of definitions of terms and expressions used in the Law.

(2.) Romanian Parliament, Law no.1/2011, art.194 (1).

(3.) Romanian Parliament, Law no.1/2011, art.194 (2).

REFERENCES

Romanian Parliament, Law no.287/2004, Official Gazette no. 614/7.07. 2004

Romanian Parliament, Law no.1/2011, Official Gazette no. 18/10.01.2011

Uhomoibhi, J., O. (2009). "The Bologna Process globalisation and engineering education developments," Multicultural Education & Technology Journal 3(4): 248-255.

***, "European Higher Education in a Global Setting. A Strategy for the External Dimension of the Bologna Process", 09/10, http://www.ond.vlaanderen.be/hogeronderwijs/bologna/documents/WGR2007/Strategy-for-EHEA-in-global-setting.pdf.

***, "How does the Bologna Process work?", 09/10, http://www.ehea.info/articledetails.aspx?ArticleId=5.

***, "Strategic framework for education and training", 09/10, http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc28_en.htm.

***, "A luat fiinta primul Consortiu Universitar din Romania, intre Politehnica si Medicina la Timisoara", 09/11, available at address http://www.timnews.ro/luat-fiinta-primul-consortiu-universitar-din-romania-intre-politehnica-si-medicina-la-timisoara.

RALUCA-OLGUTA PACURARU

raluca_pacuraru@yahoo.com

Spiru Haret University
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Author:Pacuraru, Raluca-Olguta
Publication:Economics, Management, and Financial Markets
Geographic Code:4EXRO
Date:Dec 1, 2012
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