On 6-7 November, EUA participated in an event on 'Academic Freedom and Political Oppression in the University Sector', which was co-organised by the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi), a think tank based in Berlin, and Scholars at Risk, an EUA partner organisation.
The aim of the event was to discuss possibilities for developing an academic freedom index or ranking on a global level. EUA was invited to present its work on university autonomy, focusing in particular on the Autonomy Scorecard as a methodological tool, while speakers from the CHE Centrum für Hochschulentwicklung and Bertelsmann Foundation reflected on their experiences with other indexes, such as the CHE University Ranking and the Bertelsmann Transformation Index. A range of experts from Syria, Iraq, India and China, among others, also provided first-hand reports on the situation of academic freedom in their respective countries. Discussions centred on the opportunities and pitfalls associated with different types of data and methodologies, as well as on the crucial need to adapt approaches to highly diverse national and regional situations.
Conference participants concluded that measuring academic freedom is a complex and delicate undertaking that will need to be tackled through a combination of different methods. EUA looks forward to hearing about and contributing to the next steps in this important project.