Institute of Education

Research & Expertise to Make a Difference in Education & Beyond

Rethinking Human Capital for 21st Century Workplace and Socio-economic Growth

From June 24 to 25, the University of Bologna, Italy, which is the very cradle of the European university tradition with its history spanning as far back as 1088, welcomed over 1,000 academics and institutional leaders from 70 countries for an international conference, Bologna Process Beyond 2020, that celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Bologna Declaration. IOE experts Isak Froumin and Pavel Sorokin took part in the forum to present novel research insights into the role of education in building future-proof human capital for socio-economic growth.   

The adoption of the Bologna Declaration back in 1999 became an important landmark for Europe and far beyond as it heralded a major step toward creating a uniform space of higher education. Today, the Bologna Framework counts 47 official member states with another 17 nations acting in line with policies and provisions established by the Bologna Declaration.   

The agenda of the 20th Bologna Process Anniversary Conference, which focused on modern-day challenges and opportunities in higher education, resonated widely with the world expert community as confirmed by more than 200 abstracts submitted by scholars and strategists in various areas of expertise to the Program Committee, of which only 15 papers were shortlisted to be featured during the Conference sessions.   

One of the key strands in the forum’s networking and debate sought to foreground pressing topics surrounding the contribution of higher education to socio-economic development and how HE strategies and outcomes could be better aligned with what stakeholders at varied levels expect from the nature and extent of the payoff that 21st-century universities should produce.   

In their talk, IOE delegates Isak Froumin and Pavel Sorokin presented about the latest perspectives in the human capital theory and the nexus between higher education and human capital. One of the key arguments was that the human capital framework may allow for an integrative, evidence-based approach to factor in the entire set of human skills and competencies central to the general wellbeing and career success in the 21st century, while also helping the expert community surface areas and dimensions that require more thorough research going forward. Specifically, the study authors have pointed to the ‘entrepreneurial component’ of human capital as one such dimension.    

Conference Presentation by Isak Froumin and Pavel Sorokin