Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Bologna Declaration and Process

The Ministers of Education of the European nations made a joint declaration in 1999, calling for harmonization of higher education systems of the continent. The purpose was to facilitate university graduates' mobility in the region, and further to allow students in institutions of higher education to change schools more easily. Of course, there must also have been a hope that there would also be resultant improvements in the quality, efficiency and/or effectiveness of higher education. Their product is referred to as the Bologna Declaration because of the venue of their meeting. Click here for an explanation of the Bologna Declaration.

The Bologna process then was created for the European higher education area to harmonize academic degree standards and quality assurance standards throughout Europe. The basic framework adopted under the process is of three cycles of higher education qualification: bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees. In most cases, these will take 3, 2, and 3 years respectively to complete, but the framework is moving to defining qualifications in terms of learning outcomes.

There is a Bologna Secretariat in the United Kingdom, which seeks to provide information and news about developments in the Bologna Process and about how the work program will be taken forward.

A stocktaking in 2005 suggests that significant progress is being made in the harmonization.

Check out the Wikipedia entry for the Bologna Process.

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