European governments are only implementing the higher education reforms that fit their national agenda, according to student unions. They urge implementation of commitments including the social dimension of the Bologna process, to create a European Area of Higher Education by 2010.
“Things are not always as rosy as they seem. The Trends Report of EUA and the Student Survey will confirm that progress has been made, but will also point to weaknesses in the implementation of Bologna reforms. Hard work is still ahead of us if we want these reforms to be real and complete in everyday university life,” said Education Commissioner Ján Figel’ in his opening address in the 5th Bologna ministerial conference, which took place in London on 17-18 May 2007.
The conference saw the launch of the Bologna stocktaking Report 2007, which details progress made since 1999. While the report found that “there has been good progress on specific action lines and indicators”, it reminds that is not enough to look at these in isolation because all aspects of the Bologna Process are interdependent. In particular, the report urges all participating countries to use learning outcomes as a basis for their national qualifications frameworks and systems for credit transfer and accumulation.
The ministers issued a Communiqué reviewing progress on the different Bologna process action lines (mobility; degree structure; recognition of qualifications; qualifications frameworks; lifelong learning; quality assurance; doctoral studies; social dimension; EHEA in a global context) and setting priorities for 2008-2009.
With the Communiqué, the education ministers also
- set the ground for the establishment of a Register of European Quality Assurance Agencies, [a public register of agencies reviewing quality of eduaction in higher education institutions] to enhance confidence in European higher education and to facilitate the mutual recognition of quality assurance.
- adopt a strategy for the external dimension of the Bologna process (European Higher Education Area in a Global Setting), to improve information on, and to promote the attractiveness and competitiveness of the EHEA.