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Note from the Editor: No Competition – For Now

Aurora Brief Reviews No. 13 April 2 2020

April 2020

One of the core notions behind the foundation of Aurora in 2016 was that universities tend to be so competitive within their national university system, that this prevents a mutual learning process: they won’t share their struggles and weaknesses.
Being by nature and upbringing a positive person, believing that most people tend to the good and social, I wonder if the heart-breaking COVID-19 crisis might serve to overcome national competitiveness between universities. Do universities overcome natural distrust to one another and join forces to overcome the crisis together?
I thought I saw some positive signs when I learned that for example, Dutch university presidents had increased their regular meetings by factor 12: from once every six weeks to twice a week.
But I have to admit that there are signs to the contrary as well. When two Dutch universities announced they would remain closed until after the Summer, they apparently didn’t feel the need to liaise and consult with the others. And when England announced that the final A-level exams where postponed, asking universities not to jump towards admitting new cohorts only without A-levels but wait for a national policy, some of them ignored that plea and started to admit feverishly – while more obliging universities watched gritting their teeth. I welcome comments from my readers on signs of either increased inter-university solidarity or continued competitive gaming.

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