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The Bologna process: setting up the European higher education area

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The Bologna process: setting up the European higher education area

The Bologna process, initiated with the Bologna Declaration (1999) and assessed every 3 years in ministerial conferences, aims to introduce a more comparable, compatible and coherent system for European higher education.

ACT

The Bologna Declaration of 19 June 1999 - Joint declaration of the European Ministers of Education (not published in the Official Journal).

SUMMARY

The Bologna process, initiated with the Bologna Declaration (1999) and assessed every 3 years in ministerial conferences, aims to introduce a more comparable, compatible and coherent system for European higher education.

KEY POINTS

It aims to create a system of academic degrees that are easily recognisable and comparable; promote the mobility of students, teachers and researchers; and ensure high-quality learning and teaching.

Key focus areas of the process include lifelong learning, employability, funding, degree structures, international openness, data collection and quality assurance.

A primary objective during the first 10 years of the process was to establish the European higher education area (EHEA), which was launched in 2010 with the Budapest-Vienna Declaration. For the next decade, objectives will revolve around the consolidation of the EHEA.

The process is currently implemented in 48 countries, which, along with the European Commission, make up the members of the Bologna process.

The process is not imposed on national governments or universities. Instead, it is an intergovernmental, voluntary undertaking by each signing country to reform its own education system.

The Bologna process has been an unprecedented success in regional cross-border cooperation in higher education and has attracted attention from other parts of the world. Creating dialogue with global partners has therefore become a focus for strengthening the process. The Council also stresses this point in its 2014 conclusions on the global dimension of European higher education.

The latest ministerial conference was held in Yerevan, Armenia on 14-15 May 2015. The next ministerial conference is planned to take place in France in 2018.

BACKGROUND

Countries subscribing to the European Cultural Convention (1954) are eligible for membership of the EHEA, provided that they declare their intention to incorporate the objectives of the Bologna process into their own higher education system. They should also provide information on how they will implement the principles and objectives.

The Bologna process is in line with the objectives of the EU’s education and training framework and its Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs.

Further information is available from the EHEA website.

RELATED ACTS

The European higher education area in 2015: Bologna process implementation report.

Council conclusions on the global dimension of European higher education (OJ C 28 of 31.1.2014, pp. 2-5).

Last updated: 23.07.2015

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