|Formalised Boundaries Between Polytechnics and Technical Universities: Experiences from Portugal and Finland
|Year of Publication
|Carvalho, T, Diogo, S
|Technical universities: past, present and future (Higher Education Dynamics)
|L. Geschwind, A. Broström, K. Larsen
The chapter demonstrates the relevance of contextual factors in the potential transformation of non-university institutions into ‘technical universities’. The phenomena of professional and academic drift have challenged the pertinence of the existence of binary Higher Education (HE) systems. Portugal and Finland have been facing this problem and the governments of both countries called on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to advise them on the relevance of its maintenance. The chapter aims at enriching the conceptual discussion over the social representation of the ‘technical university’ by discussing the relevance of the context in the evolving process of the actual non-university institutions. Data analysis is supported by empirical evidence gathered through 26 interviews conducted with key actors as well as on content analysis of policy reports in order to understand how the co-existence of different types of higher education institutions (HEI) is envisioned in the two countries. This chapter establishes a linkage to the scope of this volume by evidencing the relevance of contextual factors in the potential transformation of non-university institutions in ‘technical universities’ in the two countries. The results reveal a convergence in the recommendations regarding the maintenance and reinforcement of differentiated HE systems. However, the operationalisation of this differentiation translates into distinct roles for professional institutions in each country, suggesting a path of continuity for Portugal and discontinuity for Finland.