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Developing instruments for higher education reform together: Regional Conference on Qualifications Frameworks in the European Higher Education Area under the Serbian Chairmanship of the Council of Europe

Belgrade, 1-2 November 2007

Under the Serbian Chairmanship of the Council of Europe, the Serbian Mistily of Education an the Council of Europe organized a regional conference on qualifications frameworks on 1 – 2 November 2007. The conference was opened by the Minister of Education of Serbia, Dr. Zoran Lončar, and closed by the State Secretary, Dr. Vesna Ilić-Prelić. Participants included the Minister of Education of Albania, Dr. Genc Pollo, and the State Secretary for Higher Education of Romania, Dr. Miron Dumitru. The conference gathered participants from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and Turkey as well as a large number of university representatives from Serbia and representatives of the European Commission, the European Agency for Reconstruction and ERI-SEE.

The development of national qualifications frameworks compatible with the overarching framework of qualifications of the European Higher Education Area by 2010 is one of the main commitments made by Ministers of the Bologna Process. The Council of Europe coordinates the sharing of experience in the development of national frameworks, and this conference, was an important step in the carrying out of this task. Qualifications frameworks describe the different qualifications of an education system, with an emphasis on learning outcomes – what learners know, understand and care able to do on the basis of a given qualification – as well as how these qualifications interlink. Qualifications frameworks help learners move from one qualification to another within a given system as well as between systems.

At the conference, delegations presented their own work on the development of national frameworks and also had an opportunity to hear presentations on and engage in discussion of key issues in the development of national frameworks, including:

26 October 2007 – Representatives of Ministries of Education from South East Europe are meeting in Belgrade on 1-2 November to give consideration to the development of qualifications frameworks as essential instruments of higher education reform and as an important part of the establishment of the European Higher Education Area by 2010.

Qualifications frameworks emphasize learning outcomes – what a student knows, understands and is able to do – and describe how the qualifications of an education system fit together within a common European framework

The Conference is an important step towards realising the commitment given by the Ministers of Education at the London Ministerial Meeting of the Bologna Process (17-18 May 2007), as well as in fulfilling the mandate given to the Council of Europe on supporting the sharing of experience in the elaboration of qualifications frameworks with the objective of encouraging greater mobility of students and teachers and improve employability.

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