The main purpose of the Bologna Process is the establishment of the European Higher Education Area by 2010 for strengthening the attractiveness and competitiveness of European higher education and to promote student mobility by making academic degree standards and quality assurance standards comparable and compatible.
The process was named after the University of Bologna, where in 1999 the Bologna Declaration was signed by Education Ministers from 29 European countries. Since then, bi-annual ministerial meetings are held which take stock of the progress and set guidelines for upcoming years.
To establish the European Area of Higher Education by 2010, the following objectives have to be reached.
• Adoption of a system of comparable and compatible degrees
• Adoption of a system based on two main cycles
• Establishment of credit system
• Promotion of mobility
• Promotion of European co-operation in quality
• Promotion of the necessary European dimensions in higher education
• Focus on lifelong learning
• Inclusion of higher education institutions and students
• Promotion of the attractiveness of the European Higher Education Area
• Doctoral studies and the synergy between European Higher Education Area and European Research Area
1998 – Sorbonne Declaration-France, Italy, The United Kingdom and Germany sign a declaration on the “Harmonization of the European Architecture of the Higher Education system”
1999 – Bologna Declaration -29 European ministers launched the Bologna process laying the basis for establishing the European Higher Education Area
2001 – Prague Communiqué – 4 countries join the process. Social aspects are mentioned to be taken into account in Higher Education reforms
2003 – Berlin Communiqué – the number of countries involved counts to 40 including Russia and Southern Europe – PhD degrees are included in the frame of the European Higher Education Area
2005 – Bergen Communiqué – 5 more countries are accepted, including Armenia. Framework for qualifications and a set of European standards and guidelines for quality assurance are adopted
2007 – London Communiqué – call for the support for the creation of quality assurance agencies. National plans for promoting social dimension is set up
2009 – Leuven Conference – the importance of lifelong learning is highlighted
2010 – The European Higher Education Area opens http://www.ehea.info/
Current members of the process include all EU member states, as well as Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Georgia, Holy See, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, FYROM, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine.
Apart from the countries (who are all members of the Bologna Follow-Up Group – BFUG) the following organizations are also participating:
Council of Europe – http://www.coe.int/lportal/web/coe-portal
European Commission – http://ec.europa.eu
European Students’ Union – http://www.esib.org
European University Association – http://www.eua.be
European Association of Institutions of Higher Education – http://www.eurashe.eu
European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education – http://www.enqa.eu
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – http://www.cepes.ro
European Network of Information Centres in the European Region/National Academic Recognition Information Centres in the European Union – http://enic-naric.net
The European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers – http://www.eurodoc.net