Work programme of the Bologna Follow-Up Group 2003-2005
EUA Convention on Strong universities for Europe
The third convention of European Higher Education Institutions took place in Glasgow, United Kingdom, on 31 March - 2 April 2005.
This 3rd Convention was an important event for the higher education community to discuss - at the halfway point to 2010 - the increasingly important role of institutions and students in implementing Bologna and in making the knowledge society a reality for Europe’s citizens. The 630 university leaders and partners gathered in Glasgow called for greater recognition of the vital cultural, social and economic role of Europe's universities and underlined the importance of strong universities in responding to the growing and varied societal demands on them. This requires institutions to be responsible rather than merely responsive and makes the development of diversified institutional strategies - based on autonomy, accountability and adequate financing - essential in order to exploit their full potential.
EUA’s objectives in Glasgow were to:
- situate the Bologna reforms in the wider debate on the role of the university in society;
- demonstrate the importance of strong universities if the Bologna reforms are to be implemented successfully (and identify the key preconditions for ensuring meaningful, long-term reform);
- present and analyse the views of higher education institutions on the implementation of Bologna hitherto and identify key challenges for the next phase (Trends IV);
- draw conclusions and make recommendations both to governments and higher education institutions for the next phase of the process to strengthen the European dimension of the Bologna Process.
One of the highlights of the Convention was the speech by European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, who pledged support for the ongoing higher education reform process and called for increased dialogue between the Commission and Europe's universities. EUA welcomes this new emphasis on higher education institutions and looks forward to working with the Commission in securing the future of European universities which the President cited as "unquestionably one of Europe's top priorities." Linking universities and the reform process underway to the refocused Lisbon strategy, President Barroso stressed the key part universities have to play in the development of the knowledge society and urged university leaders to engage with other stakeholders to ensure the ambitious goals are achieved.
The next step for EUA to present the Glasgow Declaration to Ministers of Education meeting in Bergen in May to discuss the future of the Bologna Process.