The Overview of the Bologna Process in Turkey The Action Lines of Bologna Process By Sehriban Bugday
What is the Bologna Process?• The Bologna Process is a European reform process aiming at establishing aEuropean Higher Education Area by 2010. By 2010 higher education systems in European countries should be organized insuch a way that:• it is easy to move from one country to the other (within the European Higher EducationArea) – for the purpose of further study or employment;• the attractiveness of European higher education is increased so many people from non-European countries also come to study and/or work in Europe;• the European Higher Education Area provides Europe with a broad, high quality andadvanced knowledge base, and ensures the further development of Europe as a stable,peaceful and tolerant community.
• One of the important reasons for establishing Bologna Process is to makeEurope competitive versus the United States and Asia.• The Bologna Process is not based on an intergovernmental treaty.• The Bologna Process does not force the national governments and higher educationinstitutions to participate in the process. „„It is a commitment freely taken by each signatorycountry to reform its own higher education system or systems in order to create overallconvergence at European level‟‟ (CRE,2000).
How did it all begin?• The big idea came from four education ministers (France, Germany, Italy andthe United Kingdom) coming together in the celebration of 800th anniversary ofthe University of Paris (Sorbonne Joint Declaration, 1998). In Sorbonne, ministersrealizing universities have a big role in promoting European dimensions stated thatthey ‘‘must strengthen and build upon the intellectual, cultural, social andtechnical dimensions of their continent’‟ (Sorbonne Communiqué, 1998).• The Process officially started in 1999, with the signing of the BolognaDeclaration. 29 countries have signed the declaration on 19 June 1999 in Bologna(hence the name of the whole Process).
The Declaration states the following objectives:• adoption of a system of easily readable and comparable degrees;• adoption of a system essentially based on two main cycles,undergraduate and graduate;• establishment of a system of credits – such as in the ECTS (EuropeanCredit Transfer System);• promotion of mobility by overcoming obstacles to the free movement ofstudents, teachers, researchers and administrative staff;• promotion of European co-operation in quality assurance;• promotion of the necessary European dimensions in higher education.
Every two years a Ministerial Conference is organized where Ministers responsible forhigher education of all participating countries gather to evaluate the progress and to setguidelines and priorities for the upcoming period.The last conference took place in Budapest-Vienna 2010.• Leuven 2009,• London in May (2007),• Bergen (2005),• Berlin (2003),• Prague (2001) and• Bologna (1999)• Next conference will be in Bucharest, Romania in April, 2012.
Who participates in the Process?There are currently 47 countries that are participating in the Bologna process.These are:• from 1999: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France,Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, theNetherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden,Switzerland, United Kingdom;• from 2001: Croatia, Cyprus, Liechtenstein, Turkey;• from 2003: Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Holy See, Russia, Serbia, “the formerYugoslav Republic of Macedonia”;• from 2005: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine;• from 2007: Montenegro• from 2009: Kazakhstan
How is the Process organized?There are several levels of implementation – international, national and institutional.• International level: Bologna follow-up group (BFUG) that consists of all signatorycountries and the European Commission as well as the Council of Europe, EUA(European University Association), ESU (European Student Union ) ,EURASHE, European Association of Institutions in Higher Education UNESCO-CEPES, (European Centre for Higher Education ) ENQA (the European Association forQuality Assurance in Higher Education) .• National level: usually involves the government and ministries responsible for highereducation, rectors‟ conferences or other university associations, student unions but also insome cases quality assurance agencies, employers etc.• Institutional level: involves higher education institutions, their faculties ordepartments, student and staff representatives and many other actors.
• Bologna Process does not advocate that all European countries should have the samehigher education system.• On the contrary, one of the very valued features of Europe is its balance between diversityand unity.• Rather, the Bologna Process tries to establish bridges that make it easier for individualsto move from one education system or country to another.Therefore, even if e.g. degree systems may become more similar, the specific nature of everyhigher education system should be preserved.If not, what would be the point to go somewhere else to study if what one studies is goingto be the same as back home?
When is the finish line?The year 2010 was the finish line for creating the European Higher EducationArea (EHEA) in Bologna Process.In Leuven Communique, ministers asserted that “In the decade up to 2020European higher education has a vital contribution to make in realising aEurope of knowledge that is highly creative and innovative‟‟, and theobjectives establish by the Bologna Declaration and the policies adoptedfollowing years are still progressing today‟‟.This means the Bologna Processwill continue after 2010.Ministers agree that „„not all the objectives have been completely achieved,the full and proper implementation of these objectives at European,national and institutional level will require increased momentum andcommitment beyond 2010’’ (Leuven Communique, 2009).
Turkey in Bologna Process• Economic, social, and scientific developments arising in 21st century require highereducation institutions to reconstruct in international level.• Due to increasing demand for higher education, the relationship between highereducation and the labour market became important for facing with competition in thisglobalized world.• The Council of Turkish Higher Education realized that the requirement of taking anactive role in international higher education and being a competitive with othercountries. Turkey set the priorities for harmonizing its higher education with othercountries‟ higher education.• For that reason, Turkey signed the Bologna Process at the Prague Comminique in2001 providing educational reforms thatTurkey needs to reconstruct its higher educationsystem.
Since welcoming the Bologna Process, Turkey has accomplished importantimprovements in access to higher education. UNESCO data indicates that the ratioof tertiary enrolment in Turkey increased from % 22 in 1999 to % 38 in 2008.Bologna Process has a great impact on Turkish Higher Education, as stated inEUA Trend, 2010 Turkey is one of the seven countries that certified the BolognaProcess is the most powerful development affecting the higher educationinstitutions(http://www.ond.vlaanderen.be/hogeronderwijs/bologna/2010_conference/ documents/EUA_Trends_2010.pdf).
Stakeholders of Bologna Process in Turkey are :• The Council of Higher Education (YOK), the Turkish University RectorsCommittee (TURC) and the Interuniversity Council (UAK).• The Turkish National Agency created a National Team of 12 Bologna Promoters in2004 that contributes to the implementation and understanding of the Bolognaprocess in Turkey (National Report,2005).
• According to 2006 Bologna Survey, results showed that Turkey did notencounter any big difficulties in implementing most of the BolognaDeclaration objectives (Davoudi and Ellison,2006).• A two-tier higher education system which is one of the objectives ofBologna Process has already existed in the country. The works onestablishment of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) andDiploma Supplement came to final stage (National Report, 2005).
•As a signatory state of the Bologna Declaration, some special measures was takento develop mobility of students and academic staff.• In 2004, Erasmus program was started in the universities, and activities wereorganized to introduce the program to the students and academic staff.• In addition, English courses were increased to solve the language problem.But, still there are several obstacles to overcome;• Turkish universities provide many grants for students and academic staff, butgrants available is not enough to support all students and staff mobility, thedemand is three times higher than the total grant available.• The most obvious barrier is to get visa for outgoing students (National Report2009).
The most important reform is the promotion of Quality Assurance (QA) forTurkey.• The Turkish higher education has a highly ‘‘heterogeneous structure’’ in terms of thequality of education because of the „„involvement of private sector and already existingdifferences in educational opportunities and resources‟‟ in the regions.• Some universities have a very high quality with an excellent research andgraduate reputation, while others do not have same chances and facilities(Mizikaci,2006).• For that reason, to increase the standardisation and quality systems in highereducation, promotion of the quality assurance should be developed.• In Turkey, and also many countries in the world, adopting the Quality Assurancehas became an important key to solve the quality problems in higher educationinstitutions.
CONCLUSIONFuture challenges in Turkey include:• balancing supply and demand for higher education;• implementing an internationally accepted national quality assessment system;• designing a more effective and efficient funding model;• widening access to higher education;• maximizing the opportunity presented by the increasing young population (Stocktaking Report2007).• demand for higher education which is much higher than supply;• improvement of the quality of education and full implementation of an internationallyaccepted national QA system;• redesigning the financing model to ensure the diversity of resources and equal opportunities;• improvement of the quality of vocational higher schools in order to meet labor market needs and expectations (Stoctaking Report 2009).
REFERENCESBologna Process Stocktaking. Report to the Leuven Ministerial Conference, Leuven,2009 http://www.ond.vlaanderen.be/hogeronderwijs/bologna/conference/documents/Stocktaking_ report_2009_FINAL.pdfBologna Process Stocktaking. Report to the Bergen Ministerial Conference, Bergen 2005. www.bologna-bergen2005.no/Bergen/050509_Stocktaking.pdfCouncil of Europe (2011) Retrieved from http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/highereducation /ehea2010/bolognapedestrians_en.aspCRE, (2000). Confederation of EU Rectors‟ Conferences and the Association of European Universities The Bologna Declaration:an explanation. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/education/policies/educ/bologna/bologna.pdfDavoudi, S & Paul Ellison. (2006). Bologna Survey 2006, Implications of the Bologna Process for Planning Education in Europe, AESOP (Association of Eropean Schools of Planning), Produced by Oxford Brookes University, Department of Planning.History of Bologna Process „„The Official Web site of European Higher Education Area‟‟ Retrieved February 12, 2011, from http://www.ehea.info/article details.aspx?ArticleId=3
Mizikaci, F. (2006). Higher Education in Turkey. In P.J. Wells (Eds.) Monogaphs on Higher Education (pp.1-190). Bucharest, Romania: UNESCO.Trend 2010: A decade of change in European Higher Education European University Association, Brussesls Retrieved from http:// www.ond.vlaanderen.be hogeronderwijs/ bologna /2010_conference/documents/EUA_Trends_2010.pdfUNESCO, Institute for Statistics. Education in Turkey. Retrieved from March, 18, 2011 http://stats.uis.unesco.org/unesco/tableviewer/document.aspx?ReportId=143