Catholic University of Leuven’s initiative brings universities of small countries to discuss higher education in native language

UT Rector Volli Kalm and Vice Rector of the Catholic University of Leuven Danny Pieters have invited representatives of eleven Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Finnish and Belgian universities to the cooperation seminar “Internationalisation and language” at the University of Tartu today, on 21 September 2016, to discuss how to preserve national culture and native languages in an increasingly internationalised higher education sphere.

The initiative for the seminar came from the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium) and is motivated by the increasing role of the English language in the everyday work of higher education institutions.

Presentations at the seminar give an overview of the impact that legislation in different countries has on studies and research in universities, because legal acts have established rules for curricula, study materials as well as research projects and evaluation. The situation in Estonia is introduced by Professor of Modern Language Helle Metslang who will discuss the Estonian legislation and various state programmes.  

In addition, different countries will compare their experience with how language is affected by the universities’ efforts to become more international, stand out in international rankings etc. Participants will also discuss which principles and activities should be combined to support internationalisation in a way which preserves cultural identity. UT’s experience is shared by Professor of Literacy Education Martin Ehala.

Participating universities in a seminar “Internationalisation and language”: Riga Technical University, Riga Stradins University (Latvia), Mykolas Romeris University, Vytautas Magnus University, ISM University of Management and Economy (Lithuania), Åbo Akademi, University of Helsinki, University of Turku (Finland), Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), Tallinn Technical University and University of Tartu (Estonia).

As a result of continuous work and high quality research and studies, UT has improved its reputation and importance in Europe and further. In 2016 UT has been invited to join several international cooperation networks—the League of European Research Universities (LERU) has proposed us to become a so called eastern partner of the network; the GUILD network which is being formed will also include strong European research institutions. According to UT Head of International Cooperation Kristi Kerge, we will communicate with representatives of both networks thoroughly and then deliberate which cooperation form would benefit UT the most. In its pursuit of internationalisation, UT will not forsake its mission as the national university.

Additional information:
Kristi Kerge
Head of International Cooperation
+372 737 6123

Virge Tamme Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
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