What is the Bologna Process?
The Bologna Process derives its name from the so-called Bologna Declaration, which was signed on 19 June 1999 by ministers in charge of higher education from 29 European countries. It is an intergovernmental European reform process aimed at establishing the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) by 2010.
This European Higher Education Area is envisaged as an open space that allows students, graduates, and higher education staff to benefit from unhampered mobility and equitableaccess to high quality higher education.
The corner stones of such an open space are mutual recognition of degrees and other higher education qualifications, transparency (readable and comparable degrees organised in a three-cycle structure) and European cooperation in quality assurance.
In this context the 1997 Lisbon Recognition Convention and pan-European transparency tools like the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) and the Diploma Supplement (DS) play a crucial role. Equally important are the overarching qualifications framework for the EHEA (pdf, 799kB) and the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the EHEA (pdf, 176kB). The latter will also function as admission criteria for quality assurance and accreditation agencies in the European Register of Quality Assurance Agencies .
Another important feature of the envisaged European Higher Education Area is the social dimension of European higher education with an emphasis on participative equity and employability of graduates in a lifelong learning context. Finally, an attractive European Higher Education Area will display openness to the world, as reaffirmed in the Strategy for the EHEA in a Global Setting .
The Bologna Process is taken forward through a work programme that receives orientations from biannual ministerial conferences Prague 2001,Berlin 2003, Bergen 2005,London 2007,Leuven 2009, and Budapest and Vienna 2010 . These conferences are prepared by a Bologna Follow-up Group, which is in turn supported by a Bologna Secretariat .
The key to success of the Bologna cooperation is the underlying partnership approach, in both policy-making and implementation. Today, the Process unites 47 countries, all party to the European Cultural Convention, that cooperate in a flexible way, involving also international organisations and European associations representing higher education institutions, students, staff and employers.