BOLOGNA FOLLOW-UP GROUP PROPOSES SETTING UP PEER-GROUP SUPPORT TO ATTAIN YEREVAN GOALS

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The Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG) examined opportunities to set up a peer-group support mechanism to help all participating countries implement key Bologna commitments. The proposal, which aims to attain the goals set at the Yerevan Ministerial Conference in 2015, was discussed during the 58th BFUG meeting, held on 5 and 6 February 2018 at the Boyana Residence in the framework of the Bulgarian Presidency. Participants also discussed a report on the application of the main Bologna principles, noting that considerable progress has been achieved.

The current draft report summarises progress indicators for each of the 48 member states of the Bologna process. The indicators measure the progress in attaining the goals set in the Yerevan Communiqué, which include enhancing the quality of higher education, promoting the employability of graduates and making training systems more inclusive. In order to tackle specific challenges outlined in the report, the BFUG proposed putting in place procedures through which states facing difficulties can receive assistance on a peer-to-peer basis through thematic support groups. The result of the discussions will be put forward for approval by the Ministers responsible for higher education in the Bologna process member states during their conference in Paris in May this year.

The meeting also addressed the progress of Belarus, which is the first state to join the Bologna process following the official start of the European Higher Education Area in 2010. The participating countries decided in Sofia to continue with their efforts to support Belarus in the implementation of the necessary structural reforms in its higher education system.

The 58th BFUG meeting was chaired by the Bulgarian and Serbian representatives in the working group as the two countries co-chair the Bologna process in the first half of 2018. Bulgaria will host one more BFUG meeting during its Presidency of the Council of the EU before the Ministerial Conference in May 2018.

Background

The Bologna process is an initiative which was set up at the end of the 1990s to improve comparability in higher education in Europe and to provide effective staff mobility. The main goal of the Bologna process is to set up a European Higher Education Area, with the following aspects:

  • Introducing easily comparable educational degrees (Bachelor, Master and Doctor);
  • Introducing a system of educational credits (ECTS) as a measurement for students’ performance;
  • Introducing European standards in quality assurance;
  • Removing the existing obstacles with regard to the free mobility of students and teachers in the European Higher Education Area.

The Republic of Bulgaria is among the 29 states which on 19 June 1999 signed in Bologna the Joint Declaration for a European Higher Education Area. Accession to the Bologna process is voluntary, but the implementation of the commitments taken becomes obligatory following the accession.

Related links

Visit the meeting page on the website of the European Higher Education Area: http://www.ehea.info/cid122121/bfug-meeting-58.html

Read the Yerevan Communiqué: http://bologna-yerevan2015.ehea.info/pages/view/documents

For more information:
Ivana Radonova, PhD.
State expert
Higher Education Directorate
Ministry of Education and Science
2A Kniaz Alexander Dondukov Blvd., Sofia 1000, Bulgaria
tel.: +359 2 9217 541
e-mail: i.radonova@mon.bg