Countries still face challenges in modernising higher education,a decade after the launch of a blueprint for reform known as the’Bologna Process’. The
Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture,Multilingualism and Youth, said: ‘The last decade has brought aboutmajor expansion in higher education systems, accompanied bysignificant reforms in degree structures and quality assurancesystems. We must continue to modernise and increase the quality ofhigher education, as well as making it more affordable forcitizens. The new Europe 2020 Strategy will provide further impetusfor this, in particular by encouraging measures which aim toincrease the number of graduates from less than a third to at least40% of the population.’
The Bologna Process put in motion a series of reforms to makeEuropean higher education more compatible, comparable, competitiveand attractive for students. Its main objectives were:
- Introduction of a three-cycle degree system (bachelor, master,doctorate)
- Quality assurance
- Recognition of qualifications and periods of study
In Budapest and Vienna, Commissioner Vassiliou will joinMinisters from the 46 countries participating in the BolognaProcess, together with representatives of stakeholderorganisations, to celebrate the official launch of the ‘EuropeanHigher Education Area’ and to decide on the next steps to betaken.
Focus on Higher Education in Europe 2010: The impact of the BolognaProcess, a report produced for the Commission by the EurydiceNetwork, shows that the Bologna Process has largely met its initialobjectives, thanks to a joint approach which has delivered morethan would have been the case if countries had actedseparately.
The three-cycle degree system and higher quality standards are nowthe norm across Europe, although recognition of qualifications isstill a problem in some cases.
The report highlights differing responses to the economic crisisand concludes that it is more vital than ever for Europe to actcohesively and to invest in higher education modernisation to helpcitizens adapt to new economic, demographic and social realities.Action to encourage socially disadvantaged groups and adultlearners to participate in higher education also needs to beaccelerated, it says.
The study also underlines that countries need to do more toencourage student mobility. European programmes have been the majorcatalyst in this area and it recommends that this should be apriority for the European Higher Education Area.
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