Work programme of the Bologna Follow-Up Group 2001-2003
Work programme of the Bologna Follow-Up Group 2001-2003
The steering bodies of the Bologna process have been responsible for the successful implementation of decisions from Prague; in particular, to explore the most important issues through a series of follow-up seminars, carefully prepared in advance and attracting all partners.
In the forefront of the follow-up process between Prague and Berlin was a series of official follow-up seminars which aimed to explore the areas pointed out in the Prague Communiqué. The list of official conferences between Prague and Berlin consists of ten seminars, spread over the period between March 2002 and June 2003, organized in six problem areas (quality assurance and accreditation; recognition issues and the use of credits; development of joint degrees; degree and qualification structure; social dimensions of the Bologna process; lifelong learning) and covering all key issues of the Bologna Process.
- Quality assurance and accreditation
- Recognition issues and the use of credits
- Development of joint degrees
- Degree and qualification structure
- Social dimensions of the Bologna process
- Lifelong learning
Altogether, more than 1000 participants – representatives from national ministries and international organizations, experts, academics, students, employers etc. – took part in all ten official Bologna follow-up seminars.
Particular contributions by the EU Commission as well as by the Council of Europe, the European University Association (EUA), the European association of institutions in higher education (EURASHE) and National Unions of Students in Europe (ESIB) have to be mentioned separately.
In most cases, the Commission is implementing measures in direct partnership with the higher education sector of the EU member and associate countries but also other countries. Today, the Community programme Socrates (and Erasmus within it) is a widely known promoter of the developmental projects and of the continuous increase of students’ and teachers’ mobility in European higher education. Socrates-Erasmus is also the main mechanism for the promotion of ECTS and the large-scale introduction of the Diploma Supplement. New exploratory projects have been launched in 2002, aimed at expanding the ECTS experience to lifelong learning. Measures to promote European co-operation in quality assurance are also high on their agenda.
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is another important contributor to the Bologna process. First and foremost, it has taken on the distinguished role of a bridge between those countries party to the Bologna process and the remaining European countries – signatories of the European Cultural Convention – that may benefit from the Process but that are not (yet) party to it.
One particularly important contribution refers to a number of seminars on the Process in the countries that have not yet joined officially (South-Eastern Europe, the Russian Federation).
Traditionally, the Council has offered a platform for debate between Ministry and academic representatives, through the double composition of representatives in its Steering Committee on Higher Education and Research (CD-ESR).
European University Association
EUA in general, and various activities of individual universities and higher education institutions in particular, have also been very influential during the period 2001–2003. EUA's contributions during this period are numerous and wide-ranging: they arch from Council meetings and animation of internal discussions on main issues with members institutions, through active involvement in the work of the official follow up bodies (as an observer) as well as participation in the follow-up seminars, to launching pilot projects with help from EC Socrates Programme, coordinating ECTS and DS counsellors, etc. In this context, the Trends III Report is not to be missed.
A special mention should be given to the EUA Convention on Strengthening the Role of Institutions in Graz (Austria) in May 2003, which formed the peak of activities for this period and was an important advance in the Bologna process. The Convention affirmed that its common vision is a Europe of knowledge based on strong research and research-based education in universities across the continent.
EURASHE represents professional higher education institutions which form an important part of tertiary education. Through its active contribution at follow-up events, it has presented specific aspects and concerns that are essential to a complete understanding of key issues. EURASHE's Annual Conference held in Gyöngyös (Hungary) in June 2003 confirmed again that institutions of professional higher education definitely belong to the emerging EHEA.
EURASHE’s particular contribution to the follow-up process between Prague and Berlin is the Survey of Tertiary Short-Cycle Education in Europe.
Student organizations have been particularly active partners in the Process during the follow-up period 2001–2003.
ESIB produced a set of valuable policy documents. ESIB's Brussels Student Declaration (November 2001) states that creating a genuine European Higher Education Area requires more than educational, structural and institutional changes; what is really important is access to higher education on an equitable basis. The Communiqué of the 5th European student convention (Athens, February 2003) emphasizes the multiple benefits of study abroad but also deals with a number of factors that limit and hinder genuine student mobility and need to be progressively removed to achieve a higher participation rate in mobility schemes.
An important extension of the Bologna process in the period between the Prague and Berlin Summits are the “Bologna activities at national and institutional levels. National reports (prepared in spring and summer 2003) offer an extremely useful insight into them.
Report to the Ministers of Education
This is a report commissioned by the Follow-up Group of the Bologna process; therefore, at the end a notice on the work of both follow-up bodies (BFUG and BPG) as well as some remarks on steering the Process are also made.
Source: Bologna process between Prague and Berlin
Report to the Ministers of Education of the signatory countries Berlin, September 2003
General Rapporteur: Prof. Pavel Zgaga
Report commissioned by the Follow-up Group of the Bologna Process
Bologna Process between Prague and Berlin