Budget increase looms for ‘Bologna’

Nieuws | de redactie
13 maart 2012 | The Bologna process is famous for its slow but steady pace. Under rapporteur Luigi Berlinguer the European Parliament and the Commission have now teamed up. They want: quality assurance, professional PhDs and EU-‘joint degrees’.

The Bologna process has not been an easy travel. All the morereason for MEP (Member of European Parliament) Luigi Berlinguer topride himself in the outcome of the parliamentary debate on his latest report. Speaking on the phone fromStrasburg, the former Italian Minister of Education Berlinguer isquite pleased with the voting results. “The figures were 572 infavour, 89 against and 8 abstentions. That is not at all bad if youconsider that the figure of 89 is mainly composed of euroscepticswho oppose everything anyway.”

One of the main critiques that Luigi Berlinguer voiced in hisrecent report is the fact that the connection between the Bolognaprocess and the labour market has major flaws. “It is highlyproblematic that we lack one common labour market. Fragmenting thatone labour market, as many European Member States are guilty of, isa big obstacle for development. It means that a degree obtained inone university is not necessarily valid in another EU-country.”

Doctorate level not recognized

In the Bologna system there are three grades of highereducation: the bachelor, the master and the PhD. “However”,Berlinguer explains “in some countries the doctorate level is notrecognized as a university degree that also has a value forprofessional careers, it is just seen as an academic career. It istherefore imperative that we articulate professional competences ina transparent manner.”

The Berlinguer-report consequently recognizes the importance ofPhD-degrees, including those carried out in collaboration withenterprises, for a knowledge-based economy and economic growth. “Weapplaud the European Commission’s commitment to developing aEuropean Industrial PhD-scheme within the Marie Curie actions.”

Joint degrees

By supporting the Berlinguer report, the European Parliamentendorses a larger role for the European Commission in the Bolognaprocess. Berlinguer: “Before, the European Commission was always abit shy when it came to education, but now they have a statutoryrole, we would like them to help to move the Bologna processforward.”

The EP-report calls on the European Commission to encouragemutual recognition by eliminating the administrative obstacles andrequests the Commission to develop a system of structuredcooperation in order to deliver ‘joint degrees’ within clusters ofdisciplines, with recognition across the EU.

“We welcome the Commission’s proposal to increase significantlythe funds devoted to European education and training programmes,although we do not yet know how large the budget increase will be”,Berlinguer says.

“Quality assurance is the key”, Berlinguer concludes. “If youwant to build up mutual recognition, you will have to build upmutual confidence.” With a stable majority of MEPs behind him, thebasis for that confidence seems to be laid.

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