The Three cycle system Bologna Promoters’ Presentation Material (to be adapted as needed)
Content of the Presentation
The Three-Cycle System
The Qualifications Framework for the European Higher Education Area (QF for EHEA)
National Qualifications Frameworks (NQFs)
The European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF)
Bologna Basics 1: What is the Bologna Process?
June 1999, 29 countries,
Joint declaration on ‚The European Higher Education Area‘ (EHEA)
Commitment to achieve EHEA as a key way to promote citizens‘ mobility and employability and Europe‘s overall development
Meanwhile 45 countries (i.e. EU and non-EU)
Bologna Follow-up Group, Board, Secretariat
Key role of European HE institutions and students
Bologna Basics 2: Action Lines
Easily readable and comparable degrees
Two cycle structure
Use of credits such as ECTS
Cooperation in quality assurance
Involvement of students
Attractiveness and competitiveness of the EHEA
Doctoral studies and synergies between EHEA and ERA
Bologna Prague Berlin
Bologna Basics 3: Participating Countries
The Three-Cycle System
Various types of degrees across Europe
Increased students‘ and academics‘ mobility
From two to three cycles
Bologna, 1999: first and second cycle (undergraduate and graduate)
Berlin, 2003: doctorate as third cycle
First cycle lasts at least three years
First cycle qualification gives access to second cycle and shall be relevant to European labour market
Use of a credit system (ECTS)
Why Qualifications Frameworks?
A tool for fostering transparency, flexibility and mobility of learners
On the national level: need for systematic articulation and navigation between qualifications
Overarching (European) qualifications frameworks: serve as translation device
Keep in mind:
Individual qualifications do not directly relate to overarching qualifications frameworks (only via national qualifications frameworks or systems)
QFs have to be generic and multi-purpose
Qualifications Framework for the EHEA: Starting Point - the Berlin Communiqué
‘ Ministers encourage the member states to elaborate a framework of comparable and compatible qualifications for their higher education systems , which should seek to describe qualifications in terms of workload, level, learning outcomes, competences and profile…
… They also undertake to elaborate an overarching framework of qualifications for the European Higher Education Area .’
Qualification Framework for the EHEA Min. 3 years ECTS Credits Learning Outcomes Cycles QF for EHEA Doctorate Master Bachelor (?) Normally 90 – 120 (Minimum 60) 180 - 240
Learning Outcomes: Dublin Descriptors
Generic statements of typical expectations of achievements and abilities associated with qualifications at the end of a cycle
Outcome approach: Results are more important than how they are acquired
Dublin Descriptors look at knowledge and understanding, its application, making judgments, communication, learning skills
Descriptors should be read in relation to each other (Bachelor – Master – Doctorate)
Example: Dublin Descriptors on Making Judgements
Bachelor: (involves) gathering and interpreting relevant data…
Master: (demonstrates) the ability to integrate knowledge and handle complexity, and formulate judgements with incomplete data…
Doctorate: (requires being) capable of critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of new and complex ideas…
Key Features of ECTS
ECTS = European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System
History: from mobility to accumulation
Quantitative measure based on student workload required to achieve learning outcomes
60 credits full-time academic year (1500 – 1800 hours)
i.e. 1 credit ca. 25 – 30 working hours
Credits for all components of study programmes – reflect quantity of work each component requires
Issues to think about when setting up NQFs
What is the need for NQF?
Promote & foster objectives & not just a mechanism – (flexible learning, student-centred learning, LLL, learning outcomes, etc.)
Wide consultation & dialogue has to be first step
Involve right people in development from beginning (institutions, students, employers)
Make use of experience of countries that have successful experience
Example of NQF: German Qualifications Framework
Three cycles (Bachelor, Master, Doctorate)
Described in terms of:
Knowledge and understanding (‚Wissen und Verstehen‘)
Ability to do (‚Können‘)
Formal aspects, incl. access and articulation, length and workload (ECTS)
E.g. Bachelor (formal aspects):
3 – 4 years of full-time study/180 – 240 ECTS
All Bachelor degrees give the right to access Master programmes
Types of degrees: BA, BSc, BEng, BMus, LLB, Diplom (FH)
EQF for Lifelong Learning
Eight levels covering different forms of learning incl. basic learning, Vocational Education & Training, HE, informal learning, etc.
No measure of workload (no credit system)
Level 6 – 8: Descriptors ‚correspond‘ to Dublin Descriptors in QF for EHEA
Recommendation from the European Commission to the European Council & Parliament (EQF for LLL not adopted yet)
QF for the EHEA vs. EQF for Lifelong Learning QF for EHEA EQF for Lifelong Learning 45 Bologna countries 25 (EU) countries Geographical scope Adopted by 45 ministers in Bergen, 2005 Not yet adopted Status 3 Bologna cycles Eight levels Levels/ Cycles Learning outcomes (Dublin Descriptors), ECTS Learning outcomes Elements Higher education Lifelong learning Educational scope
Implementation Issues (from EUA’s Trends reports)
Access and articulation: From Bachelor to Master; entry requirements for Doctorate
Employers understanding: New system well understood by employers? What should be done in order to better promote the new degrees?
Diploma Supplement: Issued everywhere to all students?
ECTS: Correct use?
Recognition: Problems solved?
Curriculum reform: Formal adoption of new degrees or profound reform?
Students centred learning: Already well understood?
National Qualifications Frameworks: Do HEIs understand their value and purpose? Are stakeholders involved in the development?
Overarching Qualifications Frameworks: Helpful or confusing?