The Bologna Process aims to create a European Higher Education Area by 2010, in which students can choose from a wide and transparent range of high quality courses and benefit from smooth recognition procedures.
The Bologna Declaration of June 1999 has put in motion a series of reforms needed to make European Higher Education more compatible and comparable, more competitive and more attractive for Europeans and for students and scholars from other continents. Reform was needed then and reform is still needed today if Europe is to match the performance of the best performing systems in the world, notably the United States and Asia.
The three priorities of the Bologna process are: Introduction of the three cycle system (bachelor/master/doctorate), quality assurance and recognition of qualifications and periods of study.
Every second year, Ministers responsible for higher education in the 46 Bologna countries meet to measure progress and set priorities for action. After Bologna (1999), they met in Prague (2001), Berlin (2003) and Bergen (2005), London (2007) and Leuven/Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium (April 2009).
Steered by European Ministers responsible for higher education, the Bologna process, is a collective effort of public authorities, universities, teachers and students, together with stakeholder associations, employers, quality assurance agencies, international organisations and institutions. Although the process goes beyond the EU’s borders, it is closely connected with EU policies and programmes. For the EU, the Bologna Process is part of a broader effort in the drive for a Europe of knowledge which includes:
- lifelong learning and development,
- the Lisbon Agenda for Growth and Jobs and Social Inclusion,
- the Copenhagen Process for enhanced European co-operation in Vocational Education and Training, and
- initiatives under the European Research Area.
Tempus and the Bologna Process
The Bologna process has put in motion a series of reforms needed to make European higher education systems more compatible and comparable, more competitive and more attractive for European citizens and for citizens and scholars from other continents.
Through programmes like Tempus, the European Commission wishes to support these efforts. The aim of the European Higher Education Area is to provide citizens with choices from a wide and transparent range of high quality courses, with the benefit of smoother recognition procedures too. Three priorities were defined to reach these ambitious goals: the establishment of a comparable degree system, a European dimension to quality assurance, and the recognition of degrees and study periods abroad.