The Bologna Process
“Europe at the Heart of Internationalisation”
London, 26 June 2013
Dr Graeme Roberts
• Aims to create a European Higher Education
Area in which students, staff and graduates
can freely move to study, collaborate and find
employment in each others’ countries
• Creation of common European reference
points and tools to harmonise and modernise
national HE systems, structures and processes
• UK was an original signatory but Bologna has
never been high on the agenda of UK HEIs
UK HE system
• Based on three cycles
• National qualification frameworks
• Quality assurance
• Credit system based on student workload and
• Degree transcripts
• Student-centred learning
• Widening access and participation
UK HE system
• Shares two key Bologna objectives:
– Promoting graduate employability
– Encouraging student mobility
• But not increasing the competitiveness of
European HE at the expense of the UK
• Nor promoting “the European dimension” by
developing “an awareness of shared values
and [of] belonging to a common social and
cultural space” – now quietly dropped!
European Activity Survey (2011-12)
• Headline – “the results...suggest increased
engagement with the European higher
• Institutional response rate:
• 2007 92
• 2009 92
• 2011 70
• “Slight decrease” - 24%!
• Key indicator of Bologna engagement/
• DS and ECTS system – two main recognition tools
• European Commission awards DS and ECTS
Labels for correct use: only three UK HEIs –
Bournemouth, Kent and Swansea
• Other UK HEIs are waiting for HEAR – “a key
feature in differentiating and distinguishing the
UK higher education system” – how compatible
“Continued confidence in the UK one year
HEIs I year 2 years
2011 70 294 69
2009 92 351 80
2007 92 323 125
• 47 HEIs awarding joint/collaborative degrees
in partnership with one or more HEIs
– 28% with another UK HEI
– 45% with European HEI
– 28% with HEI outside Europe
• 65% of the rest considering introduction.
Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctoral
• Academically prestigious and handsomely
• 2009 - 4 out of 13 programmes included UK
• 2014 – 16 out of 42 programmes
• At the heart of the Bologna reforms
• Improving recognition a key challenge as
practices differ within and between HEIs
• “Ensuring recognition in practice as well as
theory is a sine qua non for the successful
functioning of the EHEA” (The European
Higher Education Area in 2012)
2011 European Activity Survey
• Responses “indicate widespread acceptance of UK
qualifications in Europe”
• Increased percentage of HEIs which “were not aware of any
difficulties experienced by graduates of UK Bachelor and
• But UK included amongst nearly 30 countries where “some”
or “many” students had recognition problems (European
Students’ Union, 2009)
• Only two thirds of Erasmus students receive full recognition:
“Lack of recognition remains a major deterrent to going
abroad, for those aiming at academically meaningful
mobility” (Erasmus Student Network, 2009)
Leuven goals (2009)
1. Completing the process of structural reform and ensuring that
the implementation of these reforms is accompanied by consistent
understanding and application of the Bologna tools.
2. Delivering a high quality educational experience, linked to
research and lifelong learning, one that promotes graduate
3. Addressing the social dimension by ensuring that the student
cohort entering and completing higher education truly reflects the
diversity of Europe's populations.
4. Ensuring that at least 20% of those graduating in the EHEA have
experienced a study or training period abroad.
Why bother with Bologna?
1. The case for public investment in higher education as part of the solution to
Europe’s economic and financial problems through the education of creative,
innovative, critically thinking and responsible graduates.
2. Support for the development of the social dimension of higher education and
efforts to reduce inequalities and provide adequate student support services.
3. Promotion of student-centred learning, innovative teaching and a supportive
4. Promotion of the link between teaching, learning and research.
5. Support for the engagement of students and staff in the governance structures of
higher education institutions.
6. Commitment to autonomous and accountable higher education institutions that
embrace academic freedom.
Bucharest Communiqué 2012
1. How actively is your HEI engaging with the European
2. Given the range and number of countries in the
EHEA, is there still such a thing as "the European
3. Is the EHEA a threat or an opportunity for UK higher
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