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EUCEN, the European Universities Continuing Education Network, is a multidisciplinary European association for University Lifelong Learning. It was created in May 1991 and registered in Belgium as a non-governmental, non-profit making organisation.
Strategic goals of EUCEN
EUCEN defines University Lifelong Learning broadly as "any form of education, vocational or general, resumed after an interval following the continuous initial education". Their goals include promoting such learning within institutes dedicated to higher education and fostering the influence of such universities in public policy.
In May 1991 the representatives of 15 European universities met in the University of Bristol (UK) to discuss the theme "Towards a European Universities Continuing Education Network". The represented universities were: Aalborg (DK), Aarhus (DK), Bordeaux (FR), Bristol (UK), Cambridge (UK), Exeter (UK), Galway (IE), Granada (ES), Hanover (DE), Leiden (NL), Liege (BE), Porto (PT), Oxford (UK), Pavia (IT) and Valladolid (ES). The participants at this initial meeting were invited to become the initial Full Members of EUCEN. The group decided that the main activities of EUCEN would be the exchange of information on strategies, regulations and techniques, establishing objectives and drawing up plans to meet them, enhancing international contacts, working towards setting standards of quality, agreeing routes to credit transfer and aiming at internationally recognised qualifications through Continuing Education. It was also agreed that an important role for EUCEN would be to inform policy maters and encourage them to decide on and set goals for Continuing Education development for the year 2000.
New members were accepted for first time in EUCEN's history at the General Assembly in Barcelona in May 1993. From that date, the number of partners and countries involved progressively increased. EUCEN decided to have two conferences per year and started developing important European projects (for example, TheNUCE).
In May 2000, the Association made a radical change in its organisation, appointing professional staff and establishing the EUCEN's Secretariat in Barcelona (ES) with the support of the University of Barcelona, the University Pompeu Fabra and the University Autonomous of Barcelona. In the following years, EUCEN evolved from being a volunteering network into becoming a wide European multidisciplinary network trying to bring consistency to the concept of University Lifelong Learning.
2004's Professions, Competence And Informal Learning wrote that as an organization EUCEN was "especially prolific in publication terms" and that their conference papers were particularly useful as review on European issues of continuing education, concluding that EUCEN had "opened up the European professional development research community to news of the rapid changes in the field arising from the deep-seated political, social, economic and educational transformations of these former Communist countries in the past 15 years." By 2009, EUCEN had representative organizations and universities from around 40 countries.
Governance and organisation
According to EUCEN's current statutes, the General Assembly comprising the full members of the association is the supreme governing body of EUCEN. To manage the business of the association, the general assembly elects a steering committee, which is responsible to the assembly. The steering committee empowers the direction of all operational matters to the Executive Secretary of EUCEN, who is the only member of staff invited to participate at the Steering Committee meetings and also links the committee with the other members of staff employed by EUCEN. Mandates are for a length of 2 years, renewable only once (twice for the position of President). The activity carried out by the members of the steering committee is voluntary and not remunerated.
- Knust, Michaela; Anke. Hanft (2009). Continuing Higher Education and Lifelong Learning: An International Comparative Study on Structures, Organisation and Provisions. Springer. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-4020-9676-1. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- "EUCEN Introduction". EUCEN. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- Cheetham, Graham (2005). Professions, Competence And Informal Learning. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 259. ISBN 978-1-78100-847-8. Retrieved 10 May 2013.