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Higher Education Series

Contribution of the Council of Europe to the Bologna Process from 1999 – 2001

In some ways, the Council of Europe has contributed to the Bologna Process even before it officially started in June 1999.

Council of Europe’s activities such as the Legislative Reform Programme and the European Studies for Democratic Citizenship have provided valuable results necessary for implementation some of the action lines of the Bologna Declaration (e.g. European dimension of higher education) and also a solid foundation for the necessary systemic reforms in the countries in central and Eastern Europe.

One of the Council of Europe’s projects also took into account the new developments related to the European Higher Education Area. Within the project on Lifelong Learning for Equity and Social Cohesion a workshop dedicated to structures and qualifications in lifelong learning was organised in Slovenia in 2001 (read the report).

The fact that the Higher Education and Research Committee (CC-HER) had, similar to CDESR (which replaced the CC-HER in 2002), representatives of both governments and academics, from 47 countries (from 1999-2001 only 29 countries were officially a part of the Bologna Process) gave the Council of Europe a unique opportunity to organise high quality debates on issues related to the Bologna Process, balancing governmental and academic perspectives.

Finally, as one of the main activities of the Council of Europe in the field of higher education is recognition of qualifications, it is worth noting that a special ENIC Working Party was established to deal with recognition issues in the Bologna Process framework. The Party devised a comprehensive report on Recognition Issues in the Bologna Process in January 2001.

The representatives of the Council of Europe also took an active part in the work of the follow-up structures and various national seminars. It is worth noting that one of the first seminars to take place in Serbia (Yugoslavia) on the issue of the reform of higher education, after the changes in October 2000, was organised with the strong support of the Council of Europe.