The Emphasis on the Extrinsic Values in European Universities

In clarifying the concepts of intrinsic and extrinsic values, it should be noted that the historical persistence of universities has been the result of a well-balanced combination of the intrinsic and the extrinsic qualities of higher education. The intrinsic qualities refer to the search for truth and the pursuit of knowledge per se, while the extrinsic qualities refer to the ability of universities to respond to the needs of societies of which universities are part (Maassen 1997: 112). Until the 1980s, in most European higher education systems, the intrinsic values were dominant.


In the name of trust, governments were giving institutions a large measure of autonomy in the use of the funds they provided (Trow 1996: 310–311). Furthermore, the emphasis was on faculty work, which was based on the principles of professional authority, namely, autonomy, merit, peer review, tenure and academic freedom (Slaughter 2001: 393). At the heart of higher education were the functions of internalist evaluation and the mode of evaluation was connoisseurial peer review (Henkel 1998: 291–292). However, since the 1980s, there was a shift of emphasis to the extrinsic qualities of higher education systems, and it was within this context that evaluation/quality assurance policies were given particular importance.

Concluding remark

In the framework of a retreat from welfare states, public expenditure constraints and scepticism about public service professions (Henkel 1998: 291), faculty productivity, according to which the central question was how to get more labour from faculty so as to reduce institutional costs, came to the fore. Accountability and quality assurance were considered as necessary for legitimacy, for justifying public funding (and in some cases student tuition) and for guaranteeing the product (Slaughter 2001: 393–394)

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