Since 2002, KU Leuven, LUCA School of Arts, Odisee, Thomas More, UCLL and Vives have made up the KU Leuven Association together. For 20 years now, these six partners have been joining forces for opportunity-rich, high-quality and future-oriented higher education and research. On its anniversary, the KU Leuven Association wants to look back, but especially wants to look ahead, focusing on the future and on an ambitious long-term vision.
The aim of the Bologna Declaration in 1999 was to establish a unified Higher Education Area, including a uniform degree system with bachelor's and master's programmes throughout Europe. In order to realise the declaration's objectives, fifteen partners decided to enhance their cooperation and establish the KU Leuven Association together. After several mergers, the Association consists of six major partners today. Since its foundation in 2002, about 300,000 students have graduated from one of the association partners, which is more than 45% of all degrees awarded in Flanders in that period.
"The KU Leuven Association should be proud of its achievements in the past 20 years under the direction of Honorary Rector André Oosterlinck. He was the driving force behind the largest network organisation in Flemish higher education. In his footsteps, all members want to carry on his incisiveness through ambitious projects allowing the Association to develop further as a trendsetting strategic alliance", says Chair and Professor Koenraad Debackere.
"In the next few years, we want to focus on two important projects", explains general manager Imran Uddin. "On the one hand, we facilitate career mobility through the association-wide Lifelong learning project. We offer a platform to those who want to learn new skills or give their career a new direction. On the other hand, we want to fulfil our role in tackling the shortage of teachers. We need to actively search for more future teachers, and we believe the Association can help."
"Start to Study and the Further Education Fair are two wonderful initiatives that introduce young people to what the KU Leuven Association has to offer", adds Ann Verreth, general manager of Odisee. "Our ambassador activities aim to introduce all talents to higher education. By providing distance education and online alternatives, more people get the chance to receive higher education."
Research and innovation
When people think of university colleges, education often comes to mind first, but the KU Leuven Association wants to excel in research too. "Our ambition is to conduct more research that impacts our direct environment. We want to play a social role in regional development and bridge the gap between research and everyday life. The past has shown us that when it comes to education, united we are strong. We believe the same is true for research and innovation", concludes KU Leuven Rector Luc Sels.
This article was first published on 17 June by KU Leuven.