"Higher Education - Mission (Im)possible"


On the 9th of April, 2015 The Center for Quality Assessment in Higher Education (SKVC) organized a discussion-based conference "Higher Education - Mission (Im)possible?" . The conference lasted all day long and consisted of three parts, filled with the main presentation and the following discussions. Around 120 representatives of higher education institutions, students, employers, the Ministry of Education and Science and other organizations in the field of higher education, attended.

The first part of the conference was entitled "Personal Development and Democratic of Society - How is It Possible and Who Cares?". The main presentation was made by Ph.D. Leonidas Donskis, Lithuanian philosopher, Vice-Rector of ISM University of Management and Economics. Other participants of discussion included dr. Aurelija Jakubė (Vilnius University), Ms. Nora Skaburskienė (SKVC), Mr. Aurimas Varanauskas (Vilnius University Students’ Representation), Mr. Andrius Zalitis (Lithuanian Student Union), dr. Nijolė Zinkevičienė (Kaunas College of Higher Education). The main issues analyzed consisted of dynamic relationship between an individual and society; freedom and responsibility, public and private domains. Development of general competencies in higher education, the changing roles of a teacher and a student were touched upon. Importance of humanities for society underscored, including development of self-reflection and ability to present a narrative of self and society. In the light of the draft Law on Higher Education and Research, a possibility for shorter programmes and consequences of this move debated.   

The second part of the event was called "Expansion of Economics and Opportunities to be Employed: What is an Added-Value of Higher Education?". The main presentation was made by dr Nerijus Pačėsa, CEO of JSC "Senukai". Other participants of discussion were Mr. Paulius Baltokas (Lithuanian Student Union), dr. Renaldas Jurkevičius (Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Board of SKVC), Mr. Ramūnas Kazlauskas (Attorney at Law at "Advokatų kontora Kazlauskas ir partneriai SOLVINGS"), Ms. Birutė Miškinienė (International Business School at Vilnius University), Ms. Jurgita Petrauskienė (MOSTA), Mr. Andrius Plečkaitis (association "INFOBALT"), dr. Natalija Šedžiuvienė (Šiauliai State College of Higher Education). Expectations of the labor market were articulated for a successful graduate to find gainful employment and self-realisation. At the same time, it was noted, that there are various employers and their requirements differ. Despite these differences, significance of learning to learn, learning to share and to create value for customer elaborated.   

The title of the third session was "Science for Science and Science for Studies: from Strategy to Realization". Participants were dr. Valdas Laurinavičius (Vilnius University Institute of Biochemistry), dr. Milena Medineckienė (Lithuanian Society of Young Researches), dr. Eugenijus Stumbrys (Research Council of Lithuania), dr. Arūnas Tuzikas (Klaipėda State College of Higher Education), dr. Giedrius Viliūnas (Mykolas Romeris University), dr. Albertas Žalys (Ministry of Education and Science). Specificity of financing of the third cycle and special status of doctoral candidates were discussed. Then, attention focused on differences between universities and colleges of higher education, as well as doing research in both types of institutions and its assessment in the course of institutional review.