Home Education Higher Education Institutions in the EU: Between Competition and Public Service
The Bologna Process
Following the initiative of the education ministers of Italy, France, Germany and the UK to reform European higher education systems expressed in the ‘Sorbonne- Declaration’, the education ministers of 29 European countries officially launched the Bologna Process with the ‘Bologna Declaration’ in 1999. The Bologna Declaration is not legally binding and, with 48 countries involved at present, the Bologna Process goes far beyond the EU. The overall aim of the
Bologna Process was to establish an internationally competitive ‘European Higher Education Area’ (EHEA) by 2010 which was specified through long-term and intermediate targets in regular ministerial meetings. Additionally, a follow-up group tasked with facilitating the development of the process was set up. It contains, alongside representatives of the Bologna countries and the Commission (which joined as a member in 2001), representatives of the Council of Europe, the European University Association (EUA), the European Students Union and other organisations. The main features include the achievement of a common three- cycle study structure (undergraduate, master and doctoral level), the standard issuing of diploma supplements, the implementation of a module system, the usage of the ECTS, the establishment of national qualification frameworks describing the qualifications available and the introduction of quality assurance. At the 2009 Leuven conference it was agreed to proceed with the Bologna process until 2020, as it was generally regarded as successful by the participating countries. Consequently, in 2010 the EHEA was officially launched at the meeting in Budapest-Vienna. The last Bologna ministerial meeting was held in 2015 in Yerevan (Armenia) the commitments of which included a strong focus on mobility (including the promotion of portability of grants, professional recognition and staff mobility) and the next meeting is planned to take place in France in 2018.
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