Where does the Bologna Process come from?
In 1999, the Bologna Process was born out of the need to standardise higher education systems in European countries. In 2010, it led to the creation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), which today includes a total of 48 states.
Among its priorities, the Bologna Process aims to promote graduate and teacher mobility, to organise education according to a three-cycle system (degree, masters, doctorate), to assure the quality of training and professional recruitment and to facilitate the international recognition of professional qualifications.
Categorised as a large-scale project, it currently involves a collective effort from the public authorities of the countries involved, as well as the multitude of interested parties (universities, students, teachers, employers, international organisations, etc.).
Who is responsible for monitoring the Bologna Process?
The Bologna monitoring group (Bologna Follow-Up Group - BFUG) is the organisation in charge of watching over the Bologna Process, preparing European ministerial conferences and moving the process forward on all levels. Its administration department is provided for three years by one of the Process’s member countries. In May 2018, France’s mandate came to an end on the 20 year anniversary of the Bologna Process, which took place at the Paris Communiqué. Italy has followed (mandate until 2020).
The communiqués that result from the ministerial conferences define the areas of work and lead to commitments from the EHEA countries. The Paris Communiqué set out 3 main work areas:
- The compatibility of the LMD education system with the EHEA certification framework;
- Compliance with the Lisbon Recognition Convention;
- Compliance of the quality assurance standards with those of the EHEA.
Each of these themes is handled by a group made up of countries from the EHEA and is co-presided over by three of them. It is work based on peer support, the sharing of good practices and mutual learning.
And CIEP’s role in all of this?
Italy, Albania and France, represented by the ENIC-NARIC Centre France, co-preside the second thematic group called, “Theme group for peer support on national legislation and qualification recognition compliance procedures with the Lisbon Convention” and comprising around forty members.
Their reflections and their activities focus on the following elements:
- establish a legal framework that allows the application of the Lisbon Recognition Convention;
- distribute tasks and responsibilities among the competent authorities (having the knowledge and ability to apply the recognition procedures);
- attain automatic recognition;
- recognition of alternative routes;
- qualifications of refugees;
- optimise the potential of digital technologies for the recognition programme and the diploma supplement.
To complete these missions successfully, the group will meet three times during the fixed mandate: at Tirana (Albania) on 31 January 2019; in Italy in Autumn 2019 and in France (at the CIEP) in 2020.
What is the roadmap to lead to 2020?
The ENIC-NARIC Centre France has participated in the reunion of the group in Albania. This enabled the work to be launched and the foundations to be laid for a roadmap for each country, addressing several topics:
- presentation of the 2018 Report on the introduction of the Bologna principles by the representative of the Eurydice Network (1);
- review the possible contributions and the expectations of each country in terms of support for / from peers;
- establish the necessary legal framework to implement the Lisbon Convention;
- development of automatic recognition;
- digitalisation to serve qualification recognition.
This meeting was followed on 1 February by a seminar on documentary fraud and solutions that digitalisation can provide. At this event, the representative of the European Commission presented the Recommendation in favour of mutual automatic recognition of higher and upper secondary education qualifications. Adopted on 26 November 2018 by the European Union’s Education Ministers, this recommendation concerns the whole of the EHEA from now until 2025.
For further information:
- On the Bologna Monitoring Group - BFUG: http://www.ehea.info/cid101754/bfug.html
- On the support group for peers co-presided by the ENIC-NARIC Centre France for France: http://www.ehea.info/page-peer-group-B-LRC
- The European information network offers analysis and information, on a European level, to anyone responsible for education systems and educational policies in Europe, in order to help with their decision making. Its goal is to improve European cooperation in the field of lifelong education.