Bologna Process - European Higher Education AreaThis report gives a snapshot of the state of implementation of the Bologna Process from various perspectives across the 47 countries of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). It provides comprehensive qualitative information and statistical data, and covers all main aspects of higher education reforms aiming at a well-functioning EHEA. The report has been developed by Eurydice, Eurostat and Eurostudent for the Ministerial Conference in Yerevan (14-15 May 2015) and the work has been overseen by the Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG). For the 2015 Bologna Process Implementation Report, please click here.
The Bologna Process
The Bologna Declaration was signed in 1999 by ministers responsible for higher education from 29 European countries. However its origins lie a year further back in the Sorbonne Conference and Declaration of 1998. These events and texts set in motion a European cooperation process that has radically changed higher education. Reforms have affected countries within and beyond Europe, and the number of official signatory countries has risen to 47.
The chart above outlines the main milestones and commitments of the ministerial conferences within the Bologna Process up to 2012. It illustrates that several main themes can be followed throughout the process – mobility of students and staff, a common degree system, the social dimension, lifelong learning, a European system of credits, quality assurance, the social dimension of higher education and the development of Europe as an attractive knowledge region.
The Bucharest Communiqué (1) sets clear policy goals for these main action lines. These goals and objectives are all addressed in the report, and the combined analysis across the seven chapters aims to present a picture of the current reality of the European Higher Education Area.
Report outline
This report has been prepared for the European Ministerial Conference in Yerevan, Armenia on 14-15 May 2015. It provides a snapshot of the state of implementation of the Bologna Process from various perspectives using data collected in the first half of 2014. It provides both qualitative information and statistical data, and covers all main aspects of higher education reforms aiming at a well-functioning European Higher Education Area.
The report is a successor to the first Bologna Process Implementation Report (2012) and has been developed through collaboration between the Bologna Follow-up Group (BFUG) and Eurostat, Eurostudent and Eurydice, commonly referred to as 'the data collectors'.
The work of the data collectors has been overseen by the Bologna Follow-up Group (BFUG), and specifically by a working group established to guide all aspects of the reporting process. The group was co-chaired by Germain Dondelinger (Luxembourg) and Andrejs Rauhvargers (Latvia). Close collaboration was also established with all BFUG working groups.
Qualitative information was gathered through an extensive questionnaire addressed to BFUG members. This was submitted, after consultation with all relevant national actors, by the Bologna representatives in 46 countries between February and May 2014. No information was provided by Ukraine. For the United Kingdom and Belgium, two responses each were submitted. The United Kingdom (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) is therefore treated as a separate higher education system to that of Scotland, while the Flemish and French Communities of Belgium are also considered as distinct higher education systems. However where statistical data is combined for Belgium and the United Kingdom in Eurostat's database, it is also presented in a combined form in this report.
The qualitative data is based mainly on official information about legislation, regulations and national policies, and in some cases country representatives are asked to report on their perception of specific aspects of higher education reality. Eurostat data is extracted from the UOE, LFS and EU-SILC data collections (2). Moreover, Eurostat, working through a consortium led by Sogeti, Luxembourg, undertook a specific data collection in 2014 for the EHEA countries that are not part of regular data gathering exercises. Eurostudent data is provided by the Eurostudent V survey and focuses on the social and economic conditions of student life in Europe.
The reference year 2013/14 is applicable for qualitative data throughout the report, as well as for Eurostudent indicators. Eurostat statistical indicators use 2012 as the most recent reference year, with other years shown where relevant to provide an overview of trends.
The report is divided into seven thematic chapters, based largely on the structure established for the 2012 Implementation Report. Each chapter has an introduction presenting the relevance of the topic in the Bologna Process, the commitments made in the Bucharest Communiqué, and the main findings of the 2012 Implementation Report. The chapter then presents information through comparative indicators whose purpose is to describe the state of implementation in all countries from various perspectives. The text explains main developments, highlights issues regarding implementation, and provides examples of practice that may be of general interest.
The majority of indicators were developed for the 2012 Implementation Report, and are updated in this report to allow changes to be more easily visible. A number of new indicators have also been developed to investigate more recent policy priorities more thoroughly. These can be found particularly in chapters 6 (Effective Outcomes and Employability) and 7 (Internationalisation and Mobility). Among the indicators presented in the report are 13 ‘scorecard indicators’ that are designed to track country progress in implementing Bologna policy commitments. Nine of these indicators were established in the first decade of the Bologna Process. The other four have been developed for this report to reflect more recent priority commitments. These are, Figure 3.7, Scorecard indicator n°6: Level of openness to cross border quality assurance activity of EQAR registered agencies; Figure 4.10, Scorecard indicator n°10: Measures to support the participation of disadvantaged students, 2013/14; Figure 7.35, Scorecard indicator n°12: Portability of public grants and publicly subsidised loans and Figure 7.38: Scorecard indicator n°13: Financial mobility support to disadvantaged students.
The Reporting Working Group also began work on developing scorecard indicators on the topics of ‘automatic’ recognition of qualifications and internationalisation. However, the data collected in relation to these topics was not sufficiently precise to produce new scorecard indicators at this stage. This work will therefore be continued and refined for the next edition of the Implementation Report. For the 2015 Bologna Process Implementation Report, please click here.