EUA : European University Association

Bologna Process Special Edition: Trends 2010 report underlines impact of Bologna reforms on Europe’s universities

EUA last week launched its Trends 2010 report, which analyses the implementation of the Bologna Process and its impact over the last decade on higher education across Europe in the context of broader reform processes affecting European higher education.

Based on questionnaire responses from 821 universities, 27 National Rectors’ Conferences, and site visits to 16 countries – the report was presented in a special meeting at the University of Vienna to mark the official launch of the European Higher Education Area and the end of the first phase of the Bologna Process. The meeting was held in parallel to the Ministerial meeting taking place in Budapest and Vienna (please see story below).

Report authors Andrée Sursock and Hanne Smidt presented the main findings to an audience of more than 200 people. They outlined the degree to which the European higher education landscape had changed in the last decade due to a variety of factors including demographic change and pressures related to globalisation as well as to policy changes at the European level (not only through Bologna, but also the Lisbon strategy and the EC modernisation agenda). There have also been major policy changes at the national level as most countries have introduced multiple reform policies alongside the Bologna Process within the last decade.
The authors then presented a detailed (the sixth in the Trends series) analyses of the implementation of the Bologna ‘tools’ in universities (e.g. new degree structures, credit transfer and accumulation systems, and diploma supplement) and progress towards the underlying aims of the Bologna Process, such as improving quality of teaching, graduate employability, and mobility of students and staff.

Two former EUA Presidents, Professor Georg Winckler and Professor Eric Froment, both outlined that while there had been a number of successes under Bologna (such as the implementation of new degree cycles, reviewing curricula and creating a ‘European identity’ for higher education), a number of challenges remained for the decade ahead. In particular, Professor Winckler outlined three main challenges: sharpening the profile of the bachelor, doing more to focus on promoting vertical mobility between different degree cycles, and improving lifelong learning provision.

Download the Trends 2010 report.

Download the presentations from the Vienna meeting.

Ministers commit to ‘full and proper implementation’ of Bologna objectives

Europe’s education Ministers meeting last week in Budapest and Vienna to mark the official launch of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) underlined their commitment to ‘the full and proper implementation´ of the agreed (Bologna) objectives and the agenda for the next decade set by the Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve Communiqué.

In a joint declaration they state “while much has been achieved in implementing the Bologna reforms, the reports also illustrate that EHEA action lines such as degree and curriculum reform, quality assurance, recognition, mobility and the social dimension are implemented to varying degrees. Recent protests in some countries, partly directed against developments and measures not related to the Bologna Process, have reminded us that some of the Bologna aims and reforms have not been properly implemented and explained.”

“We acknowledge and will listen to the critical voices raised among staff and students. We note that adjustments and further work, involving staff and students, are necessary at European, national, and especially institutional levels to achieve the European Higher Education Area as we envisage it,” the declaration adds.

Professor Jean-Marc Rapp, EUA President, presented EUA´s viewpoint during the two-day meeting including some of the main findings of the Trends 2010 report. He underlined that while much progress had been made in the last decade, “it is important, however, to note that the Bologna Process has been characterised by an evolving agenda and that, too often – even if understandably – the stress on the technical aspects of the action lines has obscured the underlying objectives.”

He told Ministers that the most pressing challenges that needed to be overcome were:

• implementing the Bologna reforms as a package (as opposed to ‘à la carte’)
• investing higher education institutions (HEI) with the ownership of the reforms so they can be implemented properly
• communicating better to a wider public the benefits of these significant changes
• understanding that curricular changes take time to be implemented properly
• funding the development of student-centred learning
• and recognising that the Bologna reforms are being implemented in a context of significant and profound changes in institutions.

Professor Rapp also stressed that the success of Bologna has hinged on the involvement of all actors, including students and institutions, in policy discussions. This modus operandi at the European level must continue and be strengthened at the national and institutional levels in order to meet the ambitious objectives set for Europe. He also underlined that both the EHEA and the European Research Area (ERA) create opportunities and responsibilities for European HEIs. It would be important to strengthen the links between the European higher education and research areas to enhance one of the singular strengths of European higher education – “the unique role of universities in ensuring a close interface between education, research and innovation.”

Click here to visit the Ministerial conference website and download all the conference documents and reports.

Photo: Benedikt von Loebell/

Explaining Europe’s higher education to the world: Report from the 2nd Bologna Policy Forum

The Bologna Process and the establishment of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) has generated attention from around the globe, which was again demonstrated by the 2nd Bologna Policy Forum that took place on 12 March, after the Bologna Ministerial Conference, in Vienna.

More than 20 international delegations from countries outside of the EHEA accepted the invitation by the Austrian organisers to attend this joint meeting of European and global Ministers responsible for higher education. 

During the morning session, the international delegates had the opportunity to listen to presentations from various European higher education stakeholders, while in the afternoon discussions focused on three topics: the role of higher education in the global knowledge society; brain drain – brain gain – brain circulation; and balancing cooperation and competition.

The meeting was concluded with a policy statement which can be downloaded here.

The next Policy Forum will be held to coincide with the next Bologna Ministerial meeting taking place in Romania in 2012.

EUA welcomes Kazakhstan as the 47th Member of the Bologna Process

Kazakhstan acceded to the European Cultural Convention at the beginning of March 2010 and therefore became eligible to apply for membership in the Bologna Process. During the Bologna Ministerial meeting last week, Kazakhstan was officially welcomed as the latest country to join as an official member of the new European Higher Education Area.

EUA welcomes Kazakhstan as the 47th official member of the Bologna Process and looks forward to working more closely with universities from that country. Given that Kazakhstan is now a signatory to the European Cultural Convention of the Council of Europe, its universities can now apply for EUA membership.

For more information on application criteria, please click here.

Registrations soon open for Third Annual Meeting of the EUA Council for Doctoral Education (EUA-CDE), Free University Berlin, Germany (4-5 June 2010)

The EUA Council for Doctoral Education invites its members and all stakeholders to meet in Berlin to discuss the future of the doctorate, in the light of the fifth anniversary of the Salzburg Principles.

Five years after the Salzburg Principles, doctoral education in Europe has changed profoundly. The last half decade has seen the rise of structured programmes and the doctoral school all over Europe. Embedding doctoral education in institutional structures is becoming the norm in Europe. Institutions are taking responsibility in areas that were once dependent on personal master-apprentice relations, with the ambition to increase the transparency of rights and obligations.

The Salzburg Principles have been the foundation of this unprecedented reform, and it is now time to look back upon the experiences of European universities. What lessons have universities learned from their reforms, and what recommendations can they give for the future?

The 2010 Annual Meeting will be the stage for a common discussion and dialogue on the future of doctoral education based on the recommendations formulated at the meeting. The event is open to both EUA and EUA-CDE members.

Registrations will soon open through the event website.