The purpose of higher education goes far beyond preparing graduates for employment, the European University Association has warned during an EU review of lifelong learning.
The EUA pushed back against the view that higher education should have mainly economic aims in a paper it published on 22 May. The paper was the association’s response to a European Commission consultation on the EU’s Framework of Key Competences for Lifelong Learning, which closed last week.
“In most cases institutions do not prepare graduates only for specific careers with a specific set of skills, but for a large diversity of career paths and [to] enable them to broadly contribute to society,” the paper said. “Thus EUA, while understanding the importance of accelerating economic growth and improving skills, cautions against subordinating higher education with its multiple missions exclusively to labour market needs.”