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Note: Information Is So Overrated

Aurora Brief Reviews No. 11 September 11 2019

September 2019

Having been forced to scale down the Aurora Brief Reviews for a couple of months, I intended to also drop the Editorial Notes for a while. But this “note” really forced itself on me.

After having searched in vain for an evaluation report on Erasmus Mundus (2009-2013), I sent an email to the European Commission (directorate EAC) asking for help – and I got it. They sent me the report, with executive summary and annexes as PDFs and I am grateful for that. But what to this about this sentence in the email?

In the revision of the websites at the beginning of Erasmus+ and subsequent revisions of the Education website, a number of older documents have been “retired” from our pages, as Commission web policy is to favour news & communication over information.

Information is not important, ‘communicating news’ is important. I highlight this not to blame the administrators at the European Commission – I leave that to others, whether they are called Donald, Boris or Thierry.

Apparently the pressure of ‘new social media’ is so overwhelming, that even serious and solid administrations feel compelled to focus on a creating news business and forget to keep real information available to that – dwindling – a group of people who like a fact-base to what they do.

Having read through the evaluation report of Erasmus Mundus (2009 – 2013), I’ll confess I wasn’t impressed. The report states it is a mix of qualitative and quantitative data, but in fact, the quantitative parts are few and far between – mostly counting numbers of people with a specific opinion.

Interested readers can approach me for a copy at kees.kouwenaar@aurora-network.global.

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