The Bologna process reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Bologna process

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The purpose of the Bologna process is to harmonise academic degree standards throughout Europe. The name comes because the process was proposed at the University of Bologna with the signing of the Magna Carta Universitatum at a meeting of university rectors celebrating the 900th anniversary of that institution - and thus of European universities - in 1988. This led to the Sorbonne Declaration in 1998, signed by the education ministers of France, Germany, Italy and UK where they committeed themselves to "harmonising the architecture of the European Higher Education system". This was opened up to other countries, and further governmental meetings have been held in Prague (2001) and Berlin (2003). The Council of Europe and UNESCO have jointly issued the Lisbon Convention on recognition of academic qualifications as part of the process.

Table of contents
1 Framework
2 Effects
3 Signatories
4 See also
5 External links

Framework

The basic framework adopted is of three levels test of higher education qualification: bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees. These will take 3, 2, and 3 years respectively to complete under the new framework. These levels are the current model in the UK, Ireland (as well as the US) as distinct from the Continental Europe model which is based on the magister or diploma. In any case programme length tends to vary from country to country, and less often between institutions within a country.

Effects

Most countries do not currently fit the framework – instead they have their own time-honoured systems. The process will have many knock on effects such as bilateral agreements between countries and institutions which recognise each others degrees outside EU law. However, the process is now moving away from a strict convergence in terms of time spent on qualifications, towards a competency-based system. The system will have an undergraduate and postgraduate division, with the bachelor degree in the former and the master and doctoral in the latter.

The UK has both an undergraduate and postgraduate master's degree. The postgraduate master's degree, for instance, normally takes only one year to complete, sometimes two. The undergraduate master's in the UK does not fit the framework either.

In Ireland most honours bachelors degree are four years (UK: three years) with master's and doctorates being broadly similar to the UK. The masters degree is always a postgraduate degree, either taught or achieved through research.

In mainland Europe five year plus first degrees are common, with some taking up to eight years not being unheard of. This leads to many not completing their studies; many of these countries are now introducing bachelor-level qualifications.

In Germany the process is already underway, many subjects of the humanities and social studies can be completed with a BA at an increasing number of universities.

Signatories

Current signatories and thus members of the "European Higher Education Area" are: Albania - Andorra - Austria - Belgium - Bosnia and Herzegovina - Bulgaria - Croatia - Cyprus - Czech Republic -Denmark - Estonia - Finland - France - Germany - Greece - Holy See - Hungary - Iceland - Ireland - Italy - Latvia - Lithuania - Luxembourg - Malta - Netherlands - Norway - Poland - Portugal - FYR Macedonia - Romania - Russia - Serbia and Montenegro - Slovakia - Slovenia - Spain - Sweden - Switzerland - Turkey - UK

See also

External links