15 juin 2014

Bologna Process - Work Programme - Introduction

Bologna Process - European Higher Education AreaBFUG work plan 2012-2015
In the Bucharest Communiqué, the Ministers responsible for higher education in the 47 countries of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) agreed on the future priorities of the EHEA, which are as follows: 

   * to provide quality higher education for all;
   * to enhance graduates'  employability;
   * to strengthen mobility as a means for better learning. 

In order to fulfill the above mentioned goals the Ministers set out priorities for action by 2015 at the national level as well as at the European level, which are reflected in the 2012-2015 BFUG Work Plan. Moreover, the BFUG agreed to streamline 2012-2015 work structures by reducing the number of working groups. The new structure would allow the BFUG to play its role for strategic policy guidance, while concentrating on the key policy areas and, at the same time, it would allow a close interaction between and better implementation of the interlinked policy issues that are arranged under one working group.
As part of the 2012-2015 BFUG Work Plan, the Bologna Follow-Up Group set up the following working groups (WGs), ad-hoc WGs and networks:

    * Reporting on the Bologna Process Implementation WG
    * 'Structural Reforms' WG
    * Social Dimension and Lifelong Learning WG
    * Mobility and Internationalisation WG
    * Ad-Hoc Working Group on the Revision of the ECTS Users' Guide
    * Ad-Hoc Working Group on the Third Cycle
    * Network of NQF Correspondents
    * Recognition of Prior Learning European Network
    * NESSIE - Network of Experts on Student Support in Europe

During the Nicosia BFUG meeting (28-29 August 2012) in relation to the revision of the ESG, the E4 group in cooperation with Education International, BusinessEurope and EQAR will prepare a first proposal for revision of the Standards and Guidlines for consideration of the BFUG. The initial proposal will be presented to the BFUG in its meeting in early 2014. More information is available on the official website of the ESG Revision.
In Cyprus the BFUG recommended to keep the Pathfinder group on automatic recognition out of the 2012-2015 work plan structures, but regularly report to the BFUG. The group may come up with findings that are of interest of the ‘Structural’ WG.
To further disseminate the Bologna reforms, countries and organisations participating in the Bologna Process also organise various seminars and conferences that are announced via the calendar of events.

Bologna work plan 2009-2012
In the Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve Communiqué, the Ministers responsible for higher education in the countries participating in the Bologna Process identified the following higher education priorities for the coming decade

    * social dimension: equitable access and completion,
    * lifelong learning;
    * employability;
    * student-centred learning and the teaching mission of higher education;
    * education, research and innovation;
    * international openness;
    * mobility;
    * data collection;
    * multidimensional transparency tools;
    * funding.  

To implement the Bologna reforms and to make progress in all priority areas, strong efforts will be required especially at national and institutional level. To support these efforts with joint action at European level, the Ministers entrusted the Bologna Follow-up Group to prepare a work plan for the period leading up to the Ministerial Conference in 2012, including the Ministerial Anniversary Conference on 11-12 March 2010 in Budapest and Vienna.
As part of the 2009-2012 work plan, the Bologna Follow-up Group set up seven working groups on the following topics:

    * Social Dimension
    * Qualifications Frameworks
    * International Openness
    * Mobility
    * Recognition
    * Reporting on the implementation of the Bologna Process
    * Transparency mechanisms

Bologna work programme 2007-2009
To put the objectives and recommendations of the 2007 London Communiqué into practice, the Bologna Follow-up Group (at its meeting of 2-3 October 2007) had adopted a work programme for the period leading up to the Ministerial Conference on 28-29 April 2009 in Leuven and Louvain-la-Neuve.
The overarching aim was to make further progress in realising the European Higher Education Area.
On the following pages you will find more information on the priorities of the 2007-2009 work e and the topics covered by the Bologna Process in general.

Bologna action lines

Qualification Frameworks / Three Cycle System Joint Degrees
Mobility Recognition
Quality Assurance Social Dimension
Employability Lifelong Learning
EHEA in a global context Stocktaking
Bologna beyond 2010  

Bologna events 2007-2009
The Bologna work programme 2007-2009 contained a wide range of activities, including a number of official Bologna Seminars.
Those as well as other events related to the creation of the European Higher Education Area, or higher education trends and developments more generally, are listed in our calendar of events. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 10:02 - - Permalien [#]

Bologna Process - Glossary

Bologna Process - European Higher Education AreaNote: this glossary was contained in the report of the Bologna working group on qualifications frameworks submitted to and accepted by the 2005 Bergen Ministerial meeting.

Frequently Asked Acronyms

ACA Academic Cooperation Association
Benelux Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg
BFUG Bologna Follow-up Group
CBHE Cross-border higher education
CoE Council of Europe
E4 group EUA + ENQA + EURASHE + ESU (in context of cooperation on quality assurance)
EAIE European Association for International Education
ECA European Consortium for Accreditation
ECTS European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System
EHEA European Higher Education Area
EI Education International
ENIC European Network of Information Centres
ENQA European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education
EQF European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF)
EQAR European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education
ERA European Research Area
ESG (QA) European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area
ESN Erasmus Student Network
ESU (formerly ESIB) European Students' Union
EU European Union
EUA European University Association
EURASHE European Association of Institutions in Higher Education
EUROSTAT Statistical Office of the European Communities
HEI Higher Education Institution
LLL Lifelong Learning
LRC Lisbon Recognition Convention
NAFSA Association of International Educators
NARIC National Academic Recognition Information Centres
NQF National Qualifications Framework
OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
QA Quality Assurance
QF Qualifications Framework
QF-EHEA Overarching framework of qualifications of the European Higher Education Area
Tempus Trans-European mobility scheme for university studies
TNE Transnational education
UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNESCO-CEPES UNESCO’s European Centre for Higher Education (Centre Européen pour l'Enseignement Supérieur)


A quantified means of expressing the volume of learning based on the achievement of learning outcomes and their associated workloads.


The three sequential levels identified by the Bologna Process (first cycle, second cycle and third cycle) within which all European higher education qualifications are located.


Europe/European refers to those countries that are signatories to the Bologna Declaration, whilst ‘national’ is used to describe the contexts within each of those countries or education systems.

Framework for Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area

An overarching framework that makes transparent the relationship between European national higher education frameworks of qualifications and the qualifications they contain. It is an articulation mechanism between national frameworks.

Learning outcomes

Statements of what a learner is expected to know, understand and/or be able to do at the end of a period of learning.


Represent a series of sequential steps (a developmental continuum), expressed in terms of a range of generic outcomes, against which typical qualifications can be positioned.

National framework of qualifications (higher education)

The single description, at national level or level of an education system, which is internationally understood and through which all qualifications and other learning achievements in higher education may be described and related to each other in a coherent way and which defines the relationship between higher education qualifications.


Either the specific (subject) field(s) of learning of a qualification or the broader aggregation of clusters of qualifications or programmes from different fields that share a common emphasis or purpose (e.g. an applied vocational as opposed to more theoretical academic studies).

Qualifications (higher education)

Any degree, diploma or other certificate issued by a competent authority attesting that particular learning outcomes have been achieved, normally following the successful completion of a recognised higher education programme of study.

Qualification descriptors

Are generic statements of the outcomes of study. They provide clear points of reference that describe the main outcomes of a qualification often with reference to national levels.

Reference points

Non-prescriptive indicators that support the articulation of qualifications, learning outcomes and/or other related concepts.


A quantitative measure of the learning activities that may feasibly be required for the achievement of the learning outcomes (e.g. lectures, seminars, practical work, private study, information retrieval, research, examinations). More...

Posté par pcassuto à 09:35 - - Permalien [#]

Bologna Process - History

Bologna Process - European Higher Education AreaIn many respects, the Bologna Process has been revolutionary for cooperation in European higher education. Four education ministers participating in the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the University of Paris (Sorbonne Joint Declaration, 1998) shared the view that the segmentation of the European higher education sector in Europe was outdated and harmful. The decision to engage in a voluntary process to create the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) was formalized one year later in Bologna, by 30 countries (The Bologna Declaration, 1999). It is now apparent that this was a unique undertaking as the process today includes no fewer than 47 participating countries, out of the 49 countries that have ratified the European Cultural Convention of the Council of Europe (1954).
At its inception, the Bologna Process was meant to stregthen the competitiveness and attractiveness of the European higher education and to foster student mobility and employability through the introduction of a system based on undergraduate and postgraduate studies with easily readable programmes and degrees. Quality assurance has played an important role from the outset, too.
However, the various ministerial meetings since 1999 have broadened this agenda and have given greater precision to the tools that have been developed. The undergraduate/postgraduate degree structure has been modified into a three-cycle system, which now includes the concept of qualifications frameworks, with an emphasis on learning outcomes. The concept of social dimension of higher education has been introduced and recognition of qualifications is now clearly perceived as central to the European higher education policies. In brief, the evolution of the main objectives of the Bologna Process can be seen hereby.

The Sorbonne Declaration was signed in 1998, by the ministers of four countries, namely France, Germany, Uk and Italy. The aim of the Declaration was to create a common frame of reference within the intended European Higher Education Area, where mobility should be promoted both for students and graduates, as well as for the teaching staff. Also, it was meant to ensure the promotion of qualifications, with regard to the job market.
The aims of the Sorbonne Declaration were confirmed in 1999, through the Bologna Declaration, where 29-30 countries expressed their willingness to commit to enhance the competitiveness of the European Higher Education Area, emphasising the need to further the independence and autonomy of all Higher Education Institutions. All the provisions of the Bologna Declaration were set as measures of a voluntary harmonisation process, not as clauses of a binding contract.
As follow-up to the Bologna Declaration, there have taken place Ministerial Conferences every two years, the ministers expressing their will through the respective Communiqués.
With the Prague Communiqué, in 2001, the number of member countries was enlarged to 33, and there has also taken place an expansion of the objectives, in terms of lifelong learning, involving students as active partners and enhancing the attractiveness and competitiveness of the European Higher Education Area. Also, the participating ministers committed themselves to ensure the further development of quality assurance and development of national qualification frameworks. This objective was correlated with the lifelong learning one, as it is considered an important element of higher education that must be taken into consideration when building up new systems. Also, it is important to mention that the topic of social dimension was first introduced in the Prague Communiqué.
The following Ministerial Conference took place in Berlin, in 2003, thus the Berlin Communiqué enlarging the number of countries to 40 members. The main provisions of this Communiqué dealt with an expansion of the objectives, in terms of promotion of linking European Higher Education Area to European Research Area, as well as the promotion of quality assurance. Another important aspect that the Berlin Communiqué stated referred to establishing the follow-up structures supporting the process in-between two Ministerial meetings. This arrangement established the Bologna Follow-up Group, the Board and the Bologna Secretariat.
With this Communiqué the Ministers also agreed that there should be created a national follow-up structure in each of the participating countries. 
The Bergen Communiqué, of 2005, underlined the importance of partnerships, including  stakeholders – students, HEIs, academic staff and employers, together with the further enhancing of research, especially with regard to the third cycle – doctoral programmes. Also, this Communiqué stressed the ministers’ will to provide a more accessible higher education, together with an increased attractiveness of the EHEA to other parts of the world.
 With the London Communiqué, of 2007, the number of participating countries was enlarged to 46. This Communiqué focused on evaluating the progress achieved by that time, concerning mobility, degree structure, recognition, qualifications frameworks (both overarching and national), lifelong learning, quality assurance, social dimension, and also set the priorities for 2009, these being, mainly, mobility, social dimension, which was defined here for the first time, data collection, employability, EHEA in a global context and stock taking. For 2010 and beyond, it was stressed that there is the need for further collaboration, seeing it as an opportunity to reformulate the visions and values.
In the Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve Communiqué, of 2009, the main working areas for the next decade were set, with emphasis on: social dimension, lifelong learning, employability, student centred learning and the teaching mission of education, international openness, mobility, education, research & innovation, as well as data collection, funding of the HE and multidimensional transparency tools. These main working areas show a new orientation of the Bologna Process, towards a more in-depth approach of the reforms, thus ensuring the completion of the Bologna Process implementation. Another change, in terms of internal arrangements, referred to the Bologna Process Chairing procedure: from a previous situation where the Bologna Process had been chaired by the country holding the EU Presidency, to a situation according to which the Process is being chaired by two countries: both the country holding the EU Presidency and a non-EU country, named in alphabetical order, starting from July 1st, 2010.
 The folowing Ministerial Conference took place only one year after the aforementioned, more precisely in March 2010. It took place in Budapest-Vienna and it was an Anniversary Conference, celebrating a decade of the Bologna Process. With this occasion, there took place the official launching of the European Higher Education Area, which meant that, in terms of a common European framework for HE, the objective set in the Bologna Declaration was accomplished.
However, the existence of the European Higher Education Area in itself did not mean an achievement of all the objectives agreed upon by the ministers involved in the Bologna Process. Therefore, we can now say that the Bologna Process and the European Higher Education Area have entered a new phase, namely the consolidation and operationalisation one, especially in light of the very different reactions to the Bologna Process implementation across Europe.

Also, starting with the Budapest-Vienna Ministerial Conference, the EHEA has been expanded to 47 countries, the most recently admitted being Kazakhstan.
The main messege of the Bucharest Ministerial Conference, which took place on 26 - 27 April 2012 and was attended by 47 European ministers responsible for higher education, states that Higher education reform can help to get Europe back on track and generate sustainable growth and jobs.

The Ministers agreed to focus on three main goals in the face of the economic crisis: to provide quality higher education to more students, to better equip students with employable skills, and to increase student mobility.

The 47 countries adopted a new European strategy to increase mobility with a specific target that at least 20 percent of those graduating in Europe in 2020 should have been on a study or training period abroad.
Besides the Ministerial Conferences, there are also Bologna Policy Fora organized, which were so far coupled with the EHEA Ministerial Conferences.
The first Bologna Policy Forum was organized in Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve in 2009 and it was attended by the 46 members of the Bologna Process, at the time, as well as a wide range of third countries and NGOs. The main issues agreed upon by the participants were the following: the key role that HE plays in the development of the society, based on lifelong learning and equitable access at all levels of society to learning opportunities, the importance of public investment in higher education, in spite of the economic crisis, transnational exchanges in higher education should be governed on the basis of academic values, advocating a balanced exchange of teachers, researchers and students between countries, in order to promote fair and fruitful “brain circulation”, as an alternative to brain drain.
The Second Bologna Policy Forum took place in Vienna, in March 2010, and it was attended by the 47 members and the eight consultative members, as well as third countries and other relevant NGOs. The main topics of discussion included in the Second Bologna Policy Forum Statement refer to the manner in which higher education systems and institutions respond to the growing demands and multiple expectations and the balance between cooperation and competition in international higher education. This Forum’s Statement also included some possible concrete feedback to be taken up by the participants, such as nominating contact persons for each participating country which will also function as liaison points for a better flow of information and joint activities, including the preparation of the next Bologna Policy Forum at ministerial level. Also the need for supporting global student dialogue was acknowledged. 
As far as implementation is concerned, progress over the years has been uneven, as can be seen from the various stocktaking exercises. This shows that the reforms of the Bologna Process must still be furthered, in order to ensure more comparable, compatible and coherent systems of higher education in Europe. 
If by 2010, the main aim of the Bologna Process was to put in place a European Higher Education Area, as stated in the Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve Communiqué,  the main priorities for the next decade are:
Social dimension
Lifelong learning
Student-centred learning
Education, research and innovation
Data collection
Multidimensional transparency tools
Therefore, the Bologna Follow-up Group set up the following working groups for the 2009-2012 period:
Social dimension
Qualifications frameworks
International openness
Reporting on the implementation of the Bologna Process
Transparency mechanisms,
And the following networks:
EHEA Information and Promotion Network;
Network for Experts in Student Support in Europe – NESSIE;
Network for National Qualifications Frameworks Correspondents.
Now, after the launching of the European Higher Education Area, the Bologna Process moves towards a new phase, a more in-depth one, focusing on a reduction of the implementation discrepancies in the countries forming the EHEA.

The next milestone of the European Higher Education Area have been marked at the EHEA Ministerial Conference, which took place in Bucharest, Romania, on 26-27 April 2012.
The Third Bologna Policy Forum, which was organised in conjunction to this Ministerial meeting contributed to further the debate on the progress of the European Higher Education Area on the global scale. It was attended by members and heads of delegations from 47 EHEA countries and 19 non-EHEA countries along with representatives of international organisations from the field of higher education.
The overarching theme of the third Bologna Policy Forum was "Beyond the Bologna Process: Creating and connecting national, regional and global higher education spaces”. The third edition of the Bologna Policy Forum focused on creating and connecting national, regional and global higher education spaces, while deepening the discussions on the following four topics reflecting on future approaches for dialogue in this context:

            • Public responsibility for and of higher education within national and regional context;
            • Global academic mobility: Incentives and barriers, balances and imbalances;
            • Global and regional approaches to quality enhancement of higher education;
            • The contribution of HE reforms to enhancing graduate employability;

The participants stated that the BPF concept should be further enriched and taken forward in order to maximise its potential for policy dialogue. In this sense, an evaluation of the Bologna Policy Forum was organised immediately after the event with all participant delegations.
This text is part of the “Bologna beyond 2010 – Report on the development of the European Higher Education Area, Backgroung Paper for the Bologna Follow-up Group prepared by the Benelux Bologna Secretariat -, Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve Ministerial Conference, 28-29 April 2009”. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 09:27 - - Permalien [#]

How does the Bologna Process work?

Bologna Process - European Higher Education AreaThe Bologna Process, launched with the Bologna Declaration, of 1999, is one of the main voluntary processes at European level, as it is nowadays implemented in 47 states, which define the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).
Members of the Bologna Process are the 47 countries, together with the European Commission, and the consultative members, namely the Council of Europe, UNESCO, EUA, ESU, EURASHE, ENQA, Education International and BUSINESSEUROPE.
Every two or three years there are Ministerial Conferences organised in order to assess the progress made within the EHEA and to decide on the new steps to be taken (more information can be found in the table below). 

Ministerial Conferences
 Bologna, 18-19 June 1999 Bologna Declaration    
 Prague, 18-19 May 2001 Prague Communiqué  Conference website
 Berlin, 18-19 September 2003 Berlin Communiqué  Conference website
 Bergen, 19-20 May 2005 Bergen Communiqué  Conference website
 London, 17-18 May 2007 London Communiqué  Conference website
 Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve, 28-29 April 2009 Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve Communiqué  Conference website
 Budapest/Vienna, 10-12 March 2010 Budapest-Vienna Declaration  Conference website
 Bucharest, 26-27 April 2012 Bucharest Communiqué  Conference website
Yerevan, 15-16 May 2015     

In order to ensure the implementation of the steps upon which the Ministers have decided, the EHEA makes use of several support structures.
The main follow-up structure is the Bologna Follow-up Group (BFUG). The BFUG oversees the Bologna Process between the ministerial meetings and meets at least once every six months, usually for one-and-a-half days. The BFUG has the possibility to set up working groups to deal with specific topics in more details and, also, receives input from Bologna Seminars. The BFUG is composed of the representatives of all members of the Bologna Process and the European Commission, with the Council of Europe, the EUA, EURASHE, ESU, UNESCO, Education International, ENQA and BUSINESSEUROPE, as consultative members. The BFUG is being co-chaired by the country holding the EU Presidency and a non-EU country, which rotate every six months. The vice-chair is the country organising the next Ministerial Conference.
The work between two meetings of the Bologna Follow-up Group is overseen by a Board.
The composition of the Board changed in 2010, together with the adoption of the document “Briefing note for decision by the Ministers” (BFUG (ES) 20_7c).
The current members of the Board are:

the EHEA Chairs double Trioka (the outgoing, present and incoming Chairs of the EHEA);
the EHEA Vice-Chairs; 
the European Commission;
four consultative members (Council of Europe, EUA, ESU, EURASHE).
The proceedings of the Board meetings are recorded by the Bologna Secretariat, who is permanently invited to Board meetings. 
The overall follow-up work is supported by a Secretariat, provided by the country hosting the next Ministerial Conference. The mandate of the Bologna Secretariat coincides with the period between two ministerial conferences, and it is aimed to ensure the continuity for all the Bologna Process reforms, considering that the Bologna Process is chaired by the country holding the EU Presidencies, which rotates every six months.
The central task of the Bologna Secretariat is to support the work of the Follow-up Group at various levels: BFUG, Board, Working Groups, Networks, Ad-Hoc Working Groups and Seminars. The Secretariat prepares draft agendas, draft reports, notes and minutes and carries out the practical preparation for meetings as requested by the Co-Chairs.
Another task of the Secretariat that has become increasingly important is to provide up-to-date and reliable information about the Bologna Process (for both a European and a non-European audience) and to maintain an electronic archive. To fulfill those functions, the Secretariat makes use of the EHEA permanent website as a central tool.
It is noticeable that the main advantage of the Bologna Process and the present support structures is that they enable the key stakeholders to work together as partners, and having a relatively informal character, thus increasing the sense of engagement and ownership among all participants.
To implement the Bologna reforms and to make progress in all priority areas, strong efforts will be required especially at national and institutional level. To support these efforts with joint action at European level, the Ministers entrusted the Bologna Follow-up Group to prepare a work plan for the period leading up to the next Ministerial Conference.
As part of the 2012-2015 work plan, the Bologna Follow-up Group set up four working groups on the following topics:
             - Reporting on the implementation of the Bologna Process 
             - 'Structural Reforms' (qualifications frameworks, recognition, quality assurance and transparency)
             - Mobility and internationalisation
             - Social dimension and lifelong learning

The 2012-2015 work plan includes Annexes (Terms of References) for each working group, ad-hoc working group and network (see below): 
             - Annex 1_ToR_Reporting on the Implementation of the Bologna Process WG
             - Annex 2_ToR_Structural Reforms WG
             - Annex 3_ToR_Network of National Correspondents
             - Annex 5_ToR_Revision of the ECTS Users' Guide Ad-Hoc WG
             - Annex 6_ToR_Third Cycle Ad-Hoc WG
             - Annex 7_ToR_Social Dimension and Lifelong Learning WG
             - Annex 8_ToR_Mobility and Internationalisation WG

To further disseminate the Bologna reforms, countries and organisations participating in the Bologna Process also organise various seminars and conferences that are announced via the calendar of events. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 09:25 - - Permalien [#]