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Higher education reforms: Europe must continue to modernise and increase quality, says Vassiliou

European Commission - IP/10/246   08/03/2010

Other available languages: FR DE EL

IP/10/246

Brussels, 8 March 2010

Higher education reforms: Europe must continue to modernise and increase quality, says Vassiliou

A report presented today by the European Commission shows that countries still face challenges in modernising higher education, a decade after the launch of a blueprint for reform known as the 'Bologna Process'. The report, based on data provided by the 46 countries participating in the Process, shows that the economic crisis has affected higher education in different ways, with some countries investing more and others making radical cutbacks in spending. The report will be discussed at the Conference of European Higher Education Ministers, which takes place in Budapest on 11 March and in Vienna on 12 March.

Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said: 'The last decade has brought about major expansion in higher education systems, accompanied by significant reforms in degree structures and quality assurance systems. We must continue to modernise and increase the quality of higher education, as well as making it more affordable for citizens. The new Europe 2020 Strategy will provide further impetus for this, in particular by encouraging measures which aim to increase the number of graduates from less than a third to at least 40% of the population..'

The Bologna Process, named after the Italian city in which it was launched in June 1999, put in motion a series of reforms to make European higher education more compatible, comparable, competitive and attractive for students. Its main objectives were:

  • Introduction of a three-cycle degree system (bachelor, master, doctorate)

  • Quality assurance

  • Recognition of qualifications and periods of study

In Budapest and Vienna, Commissioner Vassiliou will join Ministers from the 46 1 countries participating in the Bologna Process, together with representatives of stakeholder organisations, to celebrate the official launch of the 'European Higher Education Area' and to decide on the next steps to be taken.

Bologna Process has achieved main targets, says study

Focus on Higher Education in Europe 2010: The impact of the Bologna Process, a report produced for the Commission by the Eurydice Network, shows that the Bologna Process has largely met its initial objectives, thanks to a joint approach which has delivered more than would have been the case if countries had acted separately .

The three-cycle degree system and higher quality standards are now the norm across Europe, although recognition of qualifications is still a problem in some cases.

The report highlights differing responses to the economic crisis and concludes that it is more vital than ever for Europe to act cohesively and to invest in higher education modernisation to help citizens adapt to new economic, demographic and social realities. Action to encourage socially disadvantaged groups and adult learners to participate in higher education also needs to be accelerated, it says.

The study also underlines that countries need to do more to encourage student mobility. European programmes have been the major catalyst in this area and it recommends that this should be a priority for the European Higher Education Area.

The report was compiled by the Eurydice Network ( www.Eurydice.org ), which provides information on and analyses of European education systems and policies. The network is co-ordinated and managed by the EU Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency in Brussels, which drafts its publications and databases.

To know more:

On the Bologna Process:

http://ec.europa.eu/education/higher-education/doc1290_en.htm

On the forthcoming Ministerial Conference in Budapest and Vienna:

http://www.ond.vlaanderen.be/hogeronderwijs/bologna/2010_conference/

On the EU's education policies and programmes:

http://ec.europa.eu/education/index_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/education/pub/pdf/higher/ehea_en.pdf

On the Eurydice Study:

The full study Focus on Higher Education in Europe 2010: The impact of the Bologna Process [available in French and English] http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/thematic_reports/122EN.pdf

Printed copies of the study in English and French will be available from May 2010. The German translation will be available shortly afterwards.

1 :

Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Holy See, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom


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