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The next wave

Universities must offer better careers to young talent

The coronavirus pandemic has caused many people to rethink their lives—including their careers. All over Europe, universities are experiencing a rise in student applications—one aspect of the fallout from closed offices, job losses in public-facing industries and those just seeking change. 

Last month, Finland, Norway, Ireland and Denmark reported record numbers of applications for higher education degrees, while France, Italy and Germany have seen an influx of mature students. But many nations are struggling to respond to this surge. France, for example, hastily offered 3,000 extra master’s degree places for the 2021-22 academic year, an announcement that got a lukewarm reception from universities that saw thousands of applications for a very limited pool of places. Italy dedicated some of its Covid-19 recovery money to funding PhDs—but the programmes in question are specifically geared to public administration. 

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