The competences issue in the entrepreneurial university
The entrepreneurial university is a university in which the academic staff and the administrative staff form a closely united team, whose common goal is institutional development by ensuring the human resources indispensable for high quality functioning. In an entrepreneurial university scientific research is mainly oriented towards the applicable feature of its outcomes as well as the technological transfer. Research is being permanently monitored and leads to the altering of study plans, and consequently to the imposed internal and external dynamics. This sensitiveness makes the university more flexible and attractive to those potential students interested in acquiring competences compatible with the structure of the labour market, which, in its turn, is subject to continuous change.
Entrepreneurship involves both inputs and outputs. In other words, it does not aim at only producing financial resources, but also promotes educational and research services of high quality, according to the maximal standards on the market. Consequently, within an entrepreneurial system the student occupies a central position and this is not only because s/he is one of the main financial providers, but also because s/he is the client that should be attracted towards the educational market. The student should be offered a set of educational and training programmes to support his or her future professional performance. These performances need to become the main indicator for certifying the quality of academic activity.
In order to embrace the entrepreneurial approach the model university must develop an entrepreneurial culture characterized by innovation and technological transfer, by an environment friendly to the entrepreneurial initiatives. The model university should support the development of spin-offs, of technological parks, of true forms of academic entrepreneurship, all of them representing structures that also aim at developing competences indispensable to future activities.
Both at European and national level, it is a unanimously acknowledged fact that education represents the key element in any nation’s progress. This idea has generated and still generates essential reforms of the traditional model of the university. Beyond those changes made at content level or in university practices, it is imperative for higher education institutions to adopt a change of attitude and perhaps of identity affiliation. In this sense, without even speaking about separation from state authority or domination, in order to become a competitive enterprise in a liberal economy, inside the area of the higher education market, the university should ‘strengthen’ those attributes that grant its status as a public institution. This might be possible if the university can meet all of contemporary society’s needs, ensuring for itself the status of an enterprise and, implicitly, an entrepreneurial character.
The major initiatives at educational policy level must be supported and accompanied by activities developed inside strong, autonomous universities, the real area which grants consistence and actual implementation of the goals stipulated in documents. The importance of higher education institutions is perfectly clear today, not only for those within them, but also for stakeholders belonging to the social and economic sector. An importance that is echoed by European Union documents, such as Mobilising the Brainpower of Europe: Enabling Universities to Make their Full Contribution to the Lisbon Strategy’ (2005), From Berlin to Bergen (2005), The Glasgow Declaration: Strong Universities for a Strong Europe (2005).