Emergent European Educational Policies Under Scrutiny

The Bologna Process from a Central European Perspective
  • Marek Kwiek
Part of the Higher Education Dynamics book series (HEDY, volume 12)

The Bologna Process — creating a European Higher Education Area and the gradual, simultaneous emergence of a European Research Area — can be viewed as two sides of the same coin: that of the redefinition of the roles, missions, tasks, and obligations of the institution of the university in rapidly changing and increasingly market-driven and knowledge-based European societies and economies. Both teaching and research are undergoing substantial transformation today, and the institution of the university, until fairly recently the almost exclusive host of the two interrelated activities, in all probability will be unable to avoid the process of substantial, partly planned and partly chaotic, transformation of its functioning.

Whatever view we hold on the two parallel processes, they are already relatively well advanced in some countries and are promoted all over Europe, including in Central and East European accession countries and the Balkans (called here most often the ‘transition countries’ or ‘the region’ for the sake of brevity). Whilst the effects of the emergence of the European Research Area are basically restricted to the beneficiaries of research funds available from the EU, the Bologna Process could potentially influence the course of reform in national higher education systems in 40 countries. The Sorbonne Declaration (Declaration 1998) was signed by the Ministers of Education of the four biggest EU countries—France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Germany. The Bologna Declaration (Declaration 1999), however, was signed by ministers from 29 countries, and at the Berlin conference in September 2003 the following newcomers were accepted: Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Holy See, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Some may call the process a truly European integration of various higher education systems, regardless of the huge differences between them — official publications usually refer to ‘diversity’ among the countries and institutions involved — but one thing is certain: the Bologna Process in its present geographical, economic and political composition faces a tremendous challenge in maintaining an even pace for change across all the countries involved. The experience of well over a decade of social and economic transformations in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans indicates that this will be the case. If the reform is not going to be a theoretical exercise in numerous countries of the region, it is likely in the years ahead that further developments of the process will require separate tracks to be accompanied by descriptions of the most essential parts of reforms, individual detailing of challenges and, most importantly, separate sets of policy recommendations for clusters of countries implementing reforms at different speeds.

Keywords

Permeability Europe Turkey Stake OECD 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marek Kwiek
    • 1
  1. 1.Adam Mickiewicz University

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