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The Impact of Higher Education on National and Regional Socio-Economic Development: The Bologna Process. Matthew Andrews Director of the Graduate School, Durham University; and AUA (Association of University Administrators) link with ACHEA. Introduction.

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Matthew andrews director of the graduate school durham university and

The Impact of Higher Education on National and Regional Socio-Economic Development: The Bologna Process

Matthew Andrews

Director of the Graduate School, Durham University; and

AUA (Association of University Administrators) link with ACHEA



  • Launched in 1999 at the University of Bologna

  • Ten ‘action lines’ set out the priorities for the Bologna Process

  • Progressed through Ministerial summits and follow-up groups

  • Closely linked with the European Union (EU) but not part of the EU

  • ‘Soft legislation’ – not legally binding on signatory countries

  • Hugely varying impact on signatory countries

  • Countries outside of the EU are watching the Bologna Process closely

  • Significant potential benefits for national and regional development

    • Development of the Bologna Process

    • More than ‘just’ Bologna

    • Stocktaking Exercise 2007

    • Bologna and the global context

    • Concluding thoughts

Development of the bologna process

Development of the Bologna Process

Origins of the bologna process

Origins of the Bologna Process

  • 1988: Magna Carta Universitatum – signed by heads of universities at the 900th anniversary of the University of Bologna: to “encourage mobility among teachers and students … a general policy of equivalent status, titles, examinations (without prejudice to national diplomas)”

  • 1998: Sorbonne Declaration – signed by HE ministers from France, Germany, Italy and the UK committing to “harmonising the architecture of the European Higher Education system”

  • 1999: Bologna Declaration – signed by HE ministers from 29 European countries stating an intention to create the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) by 2010 recognising that, despite the intentions of the Magna Carta Universitatum and the Sorbonne Declaration, “the achievement of greater compatibility and comparability of the systems of higher education nevertheless requires continual momentum in order to be fully accomplished”



Bologna declaration 1999

Bologna Declaration (1999)

  • “We need to support [the Process] through promoting concrete measures to achieve tangible forward steps.” (Bologna Declaration)

    • the adoption of a system of easily readable and comparable degrees

    • the adoption of a system essentially based on two cycles of higher education

    • the establishment of a system of credits

    • the promotion of mobility

    • the promotion of European co-operation in quality assurance

    • the promotion of the European dimension in higher education



Prague summit 2001

Prague Summit (2001)

  • “Ministers reaffirmed that efforts to promote mobility must be continued to enable students, teachers, researchers and administrative staff to benefit from the richness of the European Higher Education Area including its democratic values, diversity of cultures and languages and the diversity of the higher education systems.” (Prague Communiqué)

    • a focus on lifelong learning

    • the inclusion of higher education institutions and students, and

    • the promotion of the attractiveness of the European Higher Education Area



Berlin summit 2003

Berlin Summit (2003)

  • “Emphasise the importance of research and research training and the promotion of interdisciplinarity in maintaining and improving the quality of higher education and in enhancing the competitiveness of European higher education more generally.” (Berlin Communiqué)

    • the inclusion of doctoral studies (the third cycle of higher education) and the synergy between the European Higher Education Area and the European Research Area



Bergen summit 2005

Bergen Summit (2005)

  • “Building on the achievements so far in the Bologna Process, we wish to establish a European Higher Education Area based on the principles of quality and transparency. We must cherish our rich heritage and cultural diversity in contributing to a knowledge-based society. We commit ourselves to upholding the principle of public responsibility for higher education in the context of complex modern societies. As higher education is situated at the crossroads of research, education and innovation, it is also the key to Europe’s competitiveness. As we move closer to 2010, we undertake to ensure that higher education institutions enjoy the necessary autonomy to implement the agreed reforms, and we recognise the need for sustainable funding of institutions.” (Bergen Communiqué)

  • European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance and plans for a register of quality assurance agencies



London summit 2007

London Summit (2007)

  • “We reaffirm our commitment to increasing the compatibility and comparability of our higher education systems, whilst at the same time respecting their diversity. We recognise the important influence higher education institutions (HEIs) exert on developing our societies, based on their traditions as centres of learning, research, creativity and knowledge transfer as well as their key role in defining and transmitting the values on which our societies are built. Our aim is to ensure that our HEIs have the necessary resources to continue to fulfil their full range of purposes. Those purposes include: preparing students for life as active citizens in a democratic society; preparing students for their future careers and enabling their personal development; creating and maintaining a broad, advanced knowledge base; and stimulating research and innovation.” (London Communiqué)

  • Mobility, the social dimension and the EHEA in the global context

Countries in the bologna process

Countries in the Bologna Process

States within the bologna process 46

States within the Bologna Process (46)

  • Map thanks to Ella Ritchie, PVC Newcastle

Member states of the eu 27

Member states of theEU (27)

  • Map thanks to Ella Ritchie, PVC Newcastle

More than just bologna

More than ‘just’ Bologna

More than just bologna1

More than ‘just’ Bologna

  • Overlap, overkill or confusion?

  • The Bologna Process has created a huge industry of working groups, committees and conferences generating guidance and documents: the Tuning Project, Dublin Descriptors, Salzburg Principles…

  • In addition, the Bologna Process is one aspect of greater co-operation within Europe and several other programmes and initiatives have an impact on the Process, including:

    • Lisbon Strategy (2000)

    • Lisbon Recognition Convention (1997)

    • European Research Area (2000)

    • European Union (European Commission)

Lisbon strategy

Lisbon Strategy

  • The Lisbon Strategy is the action and development plan agreed in 2000 which committed the EU to develop, by 2010, the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world and one capable of sustained economic growth

  • The Lisbon Strategy was created to deal with the low productivity and stagnation of economic growth

  • Re-launched in 2005 with a focus on jobs and growth

  • The main areas of activity/priority include:

    • encouraging a knowledge-based economy and society by better policies for the information society and research & development, as well as by stepping up the process of structural reform for competitiveness and innovation and by completing the internal market

    • modernising the European social model, investing in people and combating social exclusion

Lisbon recognition convention

Lisbon Recognition Convention

  • The Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region (Lisbon Recognition Convention) aims to ensure that holders of a qualification from one European country have that qualification recognised in another European country was agreed in 1997 by the Council of Europe (which has 47 member states)

  • Access to further HE study and use of an academic title should be granted to holders of qualifications on the same grounds as citizens from the country where recognition is sought

  • The convention also encouraged all signatory countries to issue the Diploma Supplement to their graduating students

  • This is the only legally binding aspect of the Bologna Process: in Bergen all signatory countries were urged to ratify the Lisbon Recognition Convention

European research area era

European Research Area (ERA)

  • Established in 2000 by the European Union, with the following main objectives:

    • Enable researchers to move and interact seamlessly, benefit from world-class infrastructures and work with excellent networks of research institutions

    • Share, teach, value and use knowledge effectively for social, business and policy purposes

    • Optimise and open European, national and regional research programmes in order to support the best research throughout Europe and coordinate these programmes to address major challenges together

    • Develop strong links with partners around the world so that Europe benefits from the worldwide progress of knowledge, contributes to global development and takes a leading role in international initiatives to solve global issues

  • The Bologna Process seeks to unite the ERA with the EHEA through third cycle awards: Doctoral degrees

European union

European Union

  • The European Commission is part of the Executive of the European Union

  • The EU’s role in education is limited by treaty and the constitutional foundations of the EU and the Bologna Process are very different

  • The Commission activity is based on Article 149 of the EU Treaty which entitles the Commission “to contribute to the development of quality education by encouraging co-operation between member states”

  • Nevertheless, the EU plays a significant role in the Bologna Process, Commission staff are fully engaged and many key mobility programmes are EU funded

  • Concern of ‘mission creep’ and changing attitudes: Bologna is ‘bottom up’ whilst the EU is generally ‘top down’

Stocktaking exercise 2007

Stocktaking Exercise 2007

Stocktaking exercise 20071

Stocktaking Exercise 2007

  • Stocktaking is an important exercise undertaken to ensure continual progress is made towards the ‘implementation’ of the EHEA in 2010

  • Key conclusions in Stocktaking 2007:

    • countries need to use learning outcomes (rather than volume measures) as the basis for national qualifications frameworks, credit systems, diploma supplements and quality assurance

    • the Bologna process is an effective catalyst for reform at national level: all participating countries have shown measurable progress in key areas

    • there is a need for greater integration of the different action lines to ensure their interdependence is appreciated in providing additional opportunities for learners and institutions

Matthew andrews director of the graduate school durham university and


Bologna and the global context

Bologna and the global context

Bologna and the global context1

Bologna and the global context

  • The Bologna Process has ushered in a remarkable series of changes in HE across the signatory countries, whether or not these changes lead ultimately to the achievement of the stated aims of the Process is yet to be seen

  • Nevertheless, many countries and regions outside Europe are keen followers of the Process’ progress

  • London Summit included representatives from Australia, Canada, Chile and New Zealand

  • Examples of the global context

    • Brisbane Communiqué

    • USA admissions

    • New Zealand Ministry of Education ‘Bologna Day’ in February 2007

    • EU-LAC Summits

    • Activities of the European Commission

    • The EHEA in a global context

Brisbane communiqu

Brisbane Communiqué

  • An agreement between 27 countries in the Asia-Pacific region (53 countries)

Brisbane communiqu1

Brisbane Communiqué

  • Launched in April 2006 to encourage and facilitate regional student and academic mobility and exchange, with four main themes:

    • Quality assurance frameworks for the region linked to international standards, including courses delivered online

    • Recognition of educational and professional qualifications

    • Common competency based standards for teachers, particularly in science and mathematics

    • The development of common recognition of technical skills across the region in order to better meet the overall skills needs of the economic base of the region

  • Turkey involved with Bologna and the Brisbane Communiqué Initiative

  • Aim 4 more equivalent to the Bruges-Copenhagen Process

  • No intention to create an equivalent to the EHEA – a more limited process? – though there will be biennial meetings


Usa admissions

USA Admissions

  • “While three-year baccalaureate degree programs are not new, institutions in the United States have been and will be affected by the Bologna process, in particular, to an unprecedented extent in the near future.” (The Impact of Bologna and Three-year Degrees on U.S. Admissions, AACRAO)

  • Can and should US Universities accept ‘Bologna bachelors’ onto US postgraduate programmes on the same basis as US graduates given the difference in duration and content between the two systems?

  • Pressure for review is coming from a decline in international applications for postgraduate programmes: 28% decline in 2003/4

  • In 2005 30% of 177 institutions in an AACRAO survey did not accept three-year degrees for postgraduate entry, in 2006 only 18% would not

  • Will US institutions consider establishing three-year degrees – perhaps even join the Bologna Process? Will US students seek shorter, cheaper routes to a degree in Bologna countries?

New zealand bologna day

New Zealand ‘Bologna Day’

  • The NZ Ministry of Education held a Bologna Day in February 2007 to promote a clearer understanding of the Bologna Process, the implications and opportunities for New Zealand, and to identify issues which need further investigation

  • Key benefits of closer alignment identified as:

    • Access to the EHEA (4000+ institutions and 12 million + students)

    • Facilitate the movement of students between New Zealand and Europe

    • Aid in the marketing of New Zealand international education in third countries through greater recognition

    • Easier to set up joint programmes

    • Aid in the recognition of New Zealand qualifications for European jobs

  • Initial steps taken to identify commonality and alignment between New Zealand HE and Bologna

Eu lac summits

EU-LAC Summits

  • Every two years there are Summits between the Heads of State and Government of the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean to advance co-ordinated action in political, social and economic matters of interest

    • I Rio 1999

    • II Madrid 2002

    • III Guadalajara 2004

    • IV Vienna 2006

  • “We attach priority to the creation of the EU-LAC Common Area of Higher Education, geared towards mobility and cooperation” (Vienna Declaration 2006)

Eua and cuib


  • Declaration of Guadalajara of the Universities of Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean (2004) between the European Universities Association (EUA) and Consejo Universitario Iberoamericano (CUIB) expressed a joint conviction to “create an integrated area, which may encourage the compatibility and comparability of the higher education systems”

  • Asturisa Declaration (2006) to establish a shared knowledge area with seven priorities:

    • Supporting the development of human resources

    • Promoting information sharing on reform process in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean

    • Developing innovative inter-institutional research collaboration and partnerships

    • Enhancing cooperation with business and enterprises

    • Increasing the two-way mobility of students, researchers and academic staff

    • Strengthening quality assurance

    • Language learning

The european commission

The European Commission

  • The EU is a major world player and the Commission wants to promote the EHEA

  • The EU has a population of nearly 500 million – more than the USA and Russia combined. It is the world’s biggest trader and generates one quarter of global wealth. It gives more aid to poor countries than any other donor. Its currency, the euro, comes second only to the US dollar in international financial markets

  • Links between the Lisbon Strategy and Bologna.

Erasmus mundus

Erasmus Mundus

  • The Erasmus Mundus programme is a co-operation and mobility programme in the field of higher education which promotes the European Union as a centre of excellence in learning around the world

  • It supports European Masters courses and enhances the visibility and attractiveness of European higher education in third countries

  • It also provides EU-funded scholarships for third country nationals participating in these Masters courses, as well as scholarships for EU-nationals studying at partner universities throughout the world

  • Masters courses must have three partners: two EU and one from the rest of the world and students must study at at least two of these institutions

The ehea in a global context

The EHEA in a global context

  • The Bologna Process calls for a greater understanding of the international setting for the EHEA

  • “We are pleased that in many parts of the world, the Bologna reforms have created considerable interest and stimulated discussion between European and international partners on a range of issues. These include the recognition of qualifications, the benefits of cooperation based upon partnership, mutual trust and understanding, and the underlying values of the Bologna Process. Moreover, we acknowledge that efforts have been made in some countries in other parts of the world to bring their higher education systems more closely into line with the Bologna framework.” (London Communiqué 2007)

Concluding thoughts

Concluding thoughts

Concluding thoughts1

Concluding thoughts

  • The Bologna Process is an anomaly: driven from the bottom up, given importance by Ministers and the EU, and embracing autonomy and independence within ever-increasing harmonisation – can this seeming paradox be maintained?

  • What is the reality behind the changes? New names, same systems? Europe remains a continent of strong, independent countries, regions and sub-regions – institutions too have varying degrees of autonomy

  • Will the EHEA deliver the mobility, social, economic and cultural benefits that are envisaged?

  • Does the EHEA presage a wider series of agreements and, through bi-lateral agreements, a global higher education area?

  • Is Bologna a threat, an opportunity or hot air?

  • Where does the Caribbean stand in relation to the EHEA?

Sources of further information

Sources of further information

  • Bologna Secretariat:




  • Europe Unit


  • European Universities Association


  • European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education


  • European Commission: Education and Training


Matthew andrews director of the graduate school durham university and

The Impact of Higher Education on National and Regional Socio-Economic Development: The Bologna Process (ACHEA Conference 2007)

Mr Matthew Andrews

Director of the Graduate School, Durham University; and

AUA (Association of University Administrators) link with ACHEA

+44 (0)191 334 4567

[email protected]

Durham University, The Graduate School, Mountjoy Research Centre, Durham, England, DH1 3UP. UK

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