Gabriella Pusztai, Adrian Hatos & Tímea Ceglédi (Eds.): Third Mission of Higher Education in a Cross-Border Region. Center of Higher Education Research and Development (CHERD-Hungary), Debrecen, Hungary, 2012.

Reviewed by: Orsolya Pócsik

Third Mission of Higher Education in a Cross- Border Region

Three well-known higher education institutes and their researchers have been working together in cross-border cooperation for several years: University of Debrecen, University of Oradea and Partium Christian University. These were the aims of the investigators during the researches:

  1. Introducing and assessment of transformation of higher education in a way of Bologna process. 

  2. Measuring of regional level changes occurred in the supply of higher education in a point of social cohesion and progress. 

  3. On the higher education to swept changes and challenges, these follow from local and regional comparison and analysis of disposals. 

Worthy of note that the book was written under HERD research that had been carried out in Partium: in Hungary, in Romania and the Ukraine. The „third mission” means the European system of higher education is able to involve challenges at universities where researchers undertake charges; this is called by this technical term.

First section of the book:Educational policy discourse.

This part has five separated subsections. Abstracts make the readers’ orientation easier. The quests have respected few countries such as Hungary, Romania, the Ukraine, and the USA.

The first article correlates academic rankings and quality in Higher Education. It is found out by the data used for ranking in some influential ranking system, such as The Times Higher Education Supplement the US News and World Report. The research reported the statistical and sociological nature of these data, and compared the opinion and factual data. It found big difference between the objects of the natural science and the quality of higher education. Ranking the higher education has been a valuable, objective quality.

The second article introduced and examined Bologna process in Hungary and the two-cycle degree system without comprehensive sectoral reform or educational paradigm shift. The research analyzed the change process in higher education and the actor’s beliefs and structures.

The third item analyzes Hungarian minority educational polices and opportunities in Bihor Country. Bihor is a multicultural territorial-administrative region/ county located at the North-West border of Romania with significant Hungarian population. After 1989 and the revolutionary changes, Romanian citizens of Hungarian ancestry claimed their right to Hungarian minority education, therefore it became a pluralistic education system, which was based on the equal recognition of ethnic, national and religious identities.  Researchers aim to give an outline of the evaluation and present-day situation of Hungarian minority education in Bihor reflecting to the most important demographic, socio-economic, political and cultural developments. The study shows that it would be more sensible/ reasonable to study in Romanian than Hungarian as it is more advantageous in the students’ life.

The fourth article compares Hungarian and Romanian Talent Care System in Higher Education which follows the main issues of an international study about talent care system in the USA, Austria, Finland, Israel, Great Britain, Germany, Spain, Singapore and Slovenia. In Romania it is ruled by the Romanian Act of Education and other significant documents (University Charta, Funding Acts, etc.) It has an important role in the civil sector. The Minister of Education applies for foreign scholarships and participation in nationwide competitions. There is TDK – students’ scientific circles and their conferences – a tutorial system. The Romanian law of education contained the priorities and key elements in the process identification of social mobility.

Talent care and its system are more recognized – as a statuary part of tertiary education – in Hungary than Romania. The investigation regions were for HERD researches:the Partium cross-border region between Romania, Ukraine and Hungary. Hungarian universities and collages in Romania and Ukraine have to follow the Hungarian talent care system. These higher educational organizations have similar talent care forms to the Hungarian one.

Last but not least the fifth item defines study-driven migration into the modern world economy within the internationalization process of higher education. The item reflects to the international educational relations; analyzes the background and relations of the symptom with the help of economics, demography, and educational research. The research analyzed the foreign students in tertiary education in Debrecen. Observing higher education free-mover students in Bihor county, influence is found of study –driven migration on higher education in Debrecen.

Knowledge – based society is an important statement. The use of information technology is more relevant than ever before: the information technological revolution fluencies every sector; the competitiveness of the company more forcible; the network of economic actors is more complex. The actors of society are able to cooperate, establish new knowledge, adopt new challenges and communicate. There is student mobility (in primary and secondary school level) and higher education student mobility (trainings on collage and university levels) within student-driven migration. Quick information transfer constitutes the internationalization of the educational process. Using English as working language, internationalization and taught knowledge are significant in higher education. English language and target areas of foreign student mobilization are relevant selection criteria in the higher educational field.

Second section of the book: Campus Realities

The second section is split into 6 subsections. The first items investigate academic perception about University Curricula in Bologna System, which is a case study at the University of Oradea. The article aims the show the effect of implementation of Bologna Process in Romania.

One among the 47 countries where Bologna System was introduced is Romania. It has wide openness of universities and institutional communication, necessary and better relationship between knowledge procurement and adaptation of knowledge, between theory and practice and social built-up of New Higher Educational Frameworks. The Bologna System reviewedon European Council in Lisbon in 2001. With the installation of the system the members required the increase of quality, free mobility, employability, international competitiveness attraction of European higher education. Bologna system has offered many sort-term mobility programs for teachers studying abroad, visiting professor, ERASMUS, fixed-term employment, joint degrees, etc., to train high-value specialists. It prefers student-centered education to frontal teaching. Romanian higher education is similar to academic capitalism.

Everybody believes in something. Students evaluate the academic curriculum relating to employability, teachers think of curriculum as an integrated system of knowledge, skills, competences, employers hopes fast integration of graduates, the society regards the curriculum as the human quality of graduates. Social changes in Romanian society and the adaptation of higher education fitted in the new trends of global markets. All this process re-drew and re-conceptualized the activity of universities. One of the challenges is how universities can adopt and become flexible with the changes and what their speed to response to change is. Several curricula take disciplines and learning context to get a good position within university rankings. University of Oradea have 15 faculties, 47 departments 107 undergraduate study programs, 86 master programs, 11 doctoral schools.

New Bologna system involved the three cycles of education (3 years BA/BSc, 2 years for MA/MSc and 3 years for PhD); there were particular situations of transition from 5 years programs to 4 year program. Different competence is necessary to get Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree (e.g.: the emphasis on skills, vocational development of skills, to express academic responsiveness).

The second article construes asymmetric students’ relations and de-professionalization, the case of teachers’ training. Students have social and institutional background to study to be teachers in Cross- Border Region. The students who came from lower strata choose closer institutions; students with higher strata choose the ulterior higher educational schools. Image of teaching professional has under and postgraduate students in teaching subjects.

The students study in higher education, they are able to divide the norms and values of their peers and to the degree they are able to meet the formal and informal requirements of establishment.

The image of the profession of students studying to be teachers is shaped; this is the process of de-professionalization. Profession means knowledge, skills and the competence required for profession. The system of institutions is the transference of necessary for teaching professions well limited. The norms related to the profession, the ethical code and the profession of organizations are maintaining the norm of the profession. Teaching profession depends on semi- professions. It is also a necessary charisma for each person. It is clear that teaching profession is highly feminine. The research reflected: teaching profession is depended on the traditional value system, religiousness and voluntary work. Students are studying to be teachers at the master’s level they have intensive communication with their teachers.

The third article reveals what the correlations are towards sport participation and subjective well-being among university students in the Hungarian- Romanian- Ukrainian Cross-Border Area. The males and the participant who come from well – to-do families do strong physical activities, which support the gendered sport involvement hypothesis. The researchers reflects that the protective (sport) factor against stress and unhealthy life style. Sport develops physical shape and academic achievement. A healthy person feels himself/herself in well-being, because sport has an effect on mental good way to feel and lower rates of depression. More men do sport than women. It has a strong social relationship.

The fourth item takes comparative study among students’ volunteering and employability in University of Oradea. The government’s new strategy focuses on fields as education, employment, entrepreneurship, volunteering, social inclusion, health and sport.

The research reflects the participation in volunteer activities involved personal development, carrier development and work experience. The education received at university is generally considering an important factor in finding good employment. The subjects of the study believe that volunteer experience is one of the factors taken into consideration.

The fifth article looks for values and the motivation of Higher Education Students’ Volunteering. It has an important indication of social integration and cohesion, and it reflects on a positive relationship with the wilder social communities. The writers believe the effect of values on volunteering, which are related to motivations of volunteering of students efficiency. The research brings out that hedonistic-intellectual and conservative factors of value preference have increased the frequency of volunteering.

At the end the sixth enrollment in higher education: what the factors of collage choosing in Hungarian- Romanian Cross- Border Region are. The model of Effectively Maintained Inequality (EMI) inspired the item that investigated in Romania and Hungary. The class educational effects have strong attendance in Hungarian higher education, which is very status-oriented. Romanian higher education is more privatized, where mostly the lower classes student study in there. Tertiary education is clientele-oriented, because its capacity has decreased; it depends on BA/BSC level, to contribute to social reproduction. We can find the Hungarian system is dual one (composed of universities, have alternative institutional structure with long tradition), the Romanian is a unified one(the instructions exist as in Italy). The new Romanian Education Law established the three-tier education in Romania. It turns off in one point: it has hierarchies; University of Oradea become in the second tier, because it is a university of education and research, the private universities are in the third one. In Romania and Hungary there are status-seeking versus client-seeking universities. Hungary is mostly status-seeking, because prestige and asset is important, in Romania the first thing for students is competing. These are two different structures of stratified tertiary education systems. The research is also classified into three categories: large public universities (University of Debrecen, University of Oradea), small public universities (Collage of Nyíregyháza, the Branch of Babes-Bolyai University) and private universities (Emanuel University, Debrecen Reformed Theological University).

There are also special indicators of social students’ background with the enrollment in specific classes of universities: (1) socio selectivity, as in the Hungarian system, (2) students with high socio-economic status enrolls in large public universities, and it is stronger in Hungary, (3) academic ability is positively related to large public universities.

The author’s purpose in writing the book was their experience in the investigations. The scripts are very clear and convincing. The ideas are developed. The book's format and layouts are good.  It has got tables, graphics and references, which are helpful.

The book accomplishes that the authors want to show higher education in more aspects.  As far as I know the greater part of the results of the researches and articles are in Hungarian and Romanian. At the end of the items we can find shorter-longer summaries of the theme, where the authors explained their opinions.