The Bologna Process is an intergovernmental higher education reform process that includes 48 European countries and a number of European organisations, including EUA.
Its main purpose is to enhance the quality and recognition of European higher education systems and to improve the conditions for exchange and collaboration within Europe, as well as internationally.
Launched in 1998-1999, the Process established goals for reform in the participating countries, such as the three-cycle degree structure (bachelor, master’s, doctorate), and adopted shared instruments, such as the European Credits Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) and the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG).
The European Higher Education Area (EHEA) was announced in 2010 and all participating parties agreed to continue the Process, as many of the established goals were and are not fully implemented in all countries.
EUA has been closely involved in the Bologna Process since it was conceived representing the views of universities. Officially, the Association is a Consultative Member and participates in all Bologna activities, including the Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG). It also engages in dialogue and cooperation activities with members and partners on Bologna topics, also beyond Europe, to explain and promote the Process.
Many of the Association’s activities are dedicated to the development of European policies and practice in the context of Bologna. EUA works on a wider range of issues that are of central importance for the EHEA and its universities, such as quality assurance, mobility, governance, funding, lifelong learning, student tracking and employability, recognition and the impact of international trade agreements on higher education.
EUA believes in the added value of European higher education collaboration and exchange as a way provide better education to an increasing and more diverse studentship. In close collaboration with its members, it contributes to policy development and to building the frameworks and conditions European universities need to thrive. EUA also facilitates the spread of institutional good practices.
As the Bologna Process looks towards its third decade, EUA invites members and partners to join forces to ensure its success. EUA published a statement focusing on how to further the Process’s achievements and enhance its ability to respond to a changing higher education landscape.
EUA supports the Bologna key commitments to ensure that all countries fully implement the three-cycle system, quality assurance, and smooth recognition of qualifications and study periods.
The Association pushes for the Bologna Process to better address social inclusion and equity, as well as university values. EUA also welcomes its stronger emphasis on the transformation of learning and teaching, and will work to ensure that this will result in measures of tangible support for higher education institutions. Furthermore, the Association invites a systematic consideration of the UN Sustainable Development Goals within the Process. Finally, EUA underlines the urgent need to explore new ways of working and invites the Process members and partners to ensure that there is sufficient capacity to reach its long-term goals.
The 2018-2020 Bologna Secretariat and the Ministerial Conference is hosted by Italy. The work programme is focused on the continuation of the Process beyond 2020, as well as goals and working methods.
EUA has consistently worked on quality assurance long before it became a Bologna commitment and was a main facilitator in making it a strong focus area for the Process. Notably, the Bologna Ministers invited EUA with other stakeholder organisations to prepare the ESG and to contribute to the establishment and continuation of the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR).
Likewise, EUA has been heavily involved in the Bologna commitment to facilitating the recognition of qualifications and study periods. Academic and professional recognition are preconditions for student and worker mobility in Europe – central goals of the European Higher Education Area, and the European Union itself.
EUA represents the voice of universities in various policy fora where recognition is discussed and has partnered in projects aimed at disseminating good practices and supporting higher education institutions in developing recognition procedures in line with the Lisbon Recognition Convention.
For two decades, EUA has closely followed the latest trends in the European higher education landscape. Though a series of questionnaires to its many university members, as well as focus groups, site visits, and interviews, EUA gathers the latest data from the ground. After a detailed analysis, the Association presents reliable and up-to-date information on the development of the European Higher Education and Research Areas.
By disseminating the Trends Reports, EUA aims to provide an institutional perspective in European higher education policy discussions. Over time, the reports have become crucial sources of information and a main reference for policy makers and the higher education community alike.
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At its meeting on 12 June 2018, the Board of the European University Association (EUA) welcomed the new political momentum of the Bologna Process resulting from the Ministerial Conference in Paris (23-25 May) and the adoption of the Paris Communiqué.
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