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Higher Education Series

2007 Bologna Stocktaking

The 2007 Bologna Process Stocktaking report was prepared by a working group including members from 9 countries, representatives from EUA, EURYDICE and British Bologna Secretariat and an invited expert. The group was chaired by Professor Andrejs Rauhvargers (Latvia), who, in addition to representing his country in the Bologna Follow Up Group, is a member of the CDESR Bureau and the President of the Lisbon Recognition Convention Committee.

To reflect the developments in the Bologna Process in 48 educational systems of the 46 participating countries over the period of 2005-2007, results in 12 quantifiable indicators were combined with qualitative analysis of the National reports and National Action Plans for Improving Recognition.

Degree system. In half the countries the vast majority - and in another 11 countries more than 60 per cent - of students are already studying in the three-cycle system. This percentage will increase further as more countries have started enrolling students of students in the three-cycle system. There are fewer legal obstacles for access to the next cycle, yet some practical obstacles remain. There is growth in structured doctoral programmes, and more countries use credits also for doctoral studies.

The employability of graduates is seen as very important, yet countries have few data on this issue. The highest rates entering the labour market are among professional first cycle degree (bachelors) and in countries with a long tradition of three cycles; some countries have employment problems for the newly introduced first cycle degree.

Almost all countries have started implementing National Qualifications Frameworks (NQF). This work is still in its initial phase, as the concept is new overall. Progress in the implementation of NQFs will depend on implementing of other issues linked with learning outcomes: ECTS, internal quality culture in the higher education institutions, recognition of prior learning.

There is good progress in the implementation of external quality assurance, including student involvement. All countries have started implementing European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ESG) but more has to be done to implement internal quality assurance.

More than half the countries have fully completed implementation of Diploma Supplement. ECTS is now working as a credit transfer and accumulation system but linking credits with learning outcomes is still a task for future.

Countries have adopted legislation for the implementation of the Lisbon Recognition Convention. There is a great variety of approaches to recognition and work should be done to ensure coherent procedures across Europe.

Joint degrees. Many countries have changed their legislation to make it possible to establish joint programmes and award joint degrees.

Lifelong learning is among the fields where there has been the least progress – the concept of flexible learning paths has to be clarified and procedures for recognition of prior learning are yet to be established in most countries.

The results show that in most countries there is a good chance to fulfil the main Bologna goals by 2010. To succeed in the areas where many countries are currently lagging behind, countries should speed up adoption of a learning outcomes approach.