The Bologna Process is the process of forming a unified European system of higher education based on common principles of functioning.
The Bologna reforms are characterized by the terms "results-oriented" and "student-centered learning". At the same time, we are talking about understanding learning outcomes in a broad sense. They are intended to be an essential element of shifts in pedagogical practice, suggesting a link with ECTS, modularization, and institutional freedom.
A balance is needed between the three levels of the Bologna Process: the set goals at the European level, affecting governments, higher education institutions, and students; the central role of universities in the implementation of the process; the role of national strategies and legislation in connecting the first two levels and in facilitating the process in each country.
The Bologna Process is a means to protect and improve higher education and research in the European region, as well as to increase transparency and mobility. The Bologna Process recognizes the place of higher education in the public domain, pays special attention to quality, but argues that maintaining quality and improving it will require increased public investment in the system and in its personnel.
The beginning of the Bologna Process can be attributed to the mid-70s of the 20th century when the Council of Ministers of the European Union adopted a resolution on the first program of cooperation in the field of education.
In 1998, the ministers of Education of four European countries (France, Germany, Great Britain, and Italy), who participated in the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the University of Paris, agreed that the segmentation of European higher education in Europe hinders the development of science and education. They signed the Sorbonne Joint Declaration (1998). The aim of the declaration is to create common provisions for the standardization of the European Higher Education Area, where mobility should be encouraged for both students and graduates, as well as for staff development. In addition, it had to ensure that the qualifications meet modern requirements in the labor market.
The goals of the Sorbonne Declaration were confirmed in 1999 with the signing of the Bologna Declaration, in which 29 countries expressed their readiness to commit themselves to improve the competitiveness of the European Higher Education area, emphasizing the need to preserve the independence and independence of all higher education institutions. All the provisions of the Bologna Declaration were established as measures of a voluntary harmonization process, and not as strict legal obligations.
The main objectives of the Bologna Process are to increase access to higher education, further improve the quality and attractiveness of European higher education, increase the mobility of students and teachers, and ensure the successful employment of university graduates by ensuring that all academic degrees and other qualifications are focused on the labor market.
The purpose of the declaration is to establish a European higher education area, as well as to activate the European higher education system on a global scale.
The Declaration contains six key provisions:
1. The adoption of a system of comparable degrees, including through the introduction of a diploma supplement, to provide employment opportunities for European citizens and to increase the international competitiveness of the European higher education system.
2. Adoption of a three-level education system: bachelor's-master's-doctoral studies.
3. Implementation of the European system of re-crediting labor-intensive credits to support large-scale student mobility (credit system). It also ensures that the student has the right to choose the subjects to be studied. It is proposed to adopt the ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) as a basis, making it a cumulative system that can work within the framework of the concept of "lifelong learning".
4. Significant development of student mobility (based on the implementation of the previous two points). Increase the mobility of teaching and other staff by offsetting the period of time they have spent working in the European region. Setting standards for transnational education.
5. Promote European cooperation in quality assurance with a view to developing comparable criteria and methodologies.
6. Promoting the necessary European perspectives in higher education, especially in the areas of curriculum development, inter-institutional cooperation, mobility schemes and joint programs of study, practical training, and research.
The participants of the Bologna Process are 49 countries (2015) and the European Commission. All the member states of the European Union and the Eastern Partnership are involved in the process.
Mandatory parameters of the Bologna Process
A three-level system of higher education.
ECTS academic credits.
Academic mobility of students, teachers, and administrative staff of universities.
European Diploma Supplement.
Ensuring the quality of higher education.
Creating a single European research space.
Recommendation parameters of the Bologna Process
Common European assessments.
Active involvement of students.
Social support for low-income students.
Optional parameters of the Bologna Process
Harmonization of the content of education in the areas of training.
Nonlinear trajectories of students ' learning, elective courses.