Contracting for Quality Improvement and Financing in Public Universities of Catalonia, Spain

  • Josep M. Vilalta
  • Joaquim Brugué
Part of the Higher Education Dynamics book series (HEDY, volume 30)


Since 1997 the autonomous government of Catalonia (Spain) and the public universities have been using a new quality instrument – a four-year programme-contract. The initiative was driven by a need to optimise higher education costs and increase universities’ responsiveness to societal needs. In order to achieve these goals, the government attempted to vitalize university management and bring the attention to the issues of efficiency and quality in universities’ operation. The contract constitutes a set of targets for improving academic quality and efficiency in a university. The strength of the instrument lies in the fact that it combines government control with institutional autonomy. While the government can steer the system in a desired direction by setting priorities, universities retain their freedom to develop their individual profile and strategies. The main challenge of the system has to do with the difficulties of designing clear and quantifiable policy objectives, and obtaining the commitment of university actors to meet these objectives.


High Education Policy Quality Policy Graduate Employment Foreign Language Skill Spanish High Education 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Josep M. Vilalta
    • 1
  • Joaquim Brugué
    • 2
  1. 1.Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP)BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Autonomous University of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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