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Chapter 1 Sustaining the European Higher Education Area


In the past much has been said about the Bologna reforms that have taken place in Europe, the impact the Bologna Process had on national higher education systems, and the gap between what was initially planned and what was finally achieved. This chapter aims to bring a different perspective by discussing the (un)intended internal and external effects of the Bologna Process at the level of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) as a whole. Internally the Bologna Process has increased collaboration, comparability and harmonisation of policy and processes across higher education systems. Because of this, European values such as connectedness, collaboration, sense of unity and increased intercultural understanding have become vivid and supported by many systems. Externally the Bologna Process, with its openly competitive approach, influenced the perception of other continents towards the EHEA and inspired reform of higher education systems in areas around the globe. This chapter discusses what the Bologna Process has meant for the EHEA as a whole, what it has accomplished, and what not. Based on an exploratory review of the relevant scholarly literature, the chapter describes the major positive and negative effects both from an internal and an external perspective to the EHEA.

In: Sustaining the Future of Higher Education
In: Positioning Higher Education Institutions
In: Positioning Higher Education Institutions
In: Higher Education System Reform
14 Understanding Higher Education System Reform
In: Higher Education System Reform
In: Higher Education System Reform
1 An Introduction to the Study of Higher Education Policy Reforms
In: Higher Education System Reform
2 Higher Education System Reform in Flanders (Belgium)
In: Higher Education System Reform
An International Comparison after Twenty Years of Bologna
The Bologna Declaration started the development of the European Higher Education Area. The ensuing Bologna Process has run for already 20 years now. In the meantime many higher education systems in Europe have been reformed – some more drastically than others; some quicker than others; some with more resistance than others. In the process of reform the initial (six) goals have sometimes been forgotten or sometimes been taken a step further. The context too has shifted: while the European Union in itself has expanded, the voice for exit has also been heard more frequently.

Higher Education System Reform: An international comparison after Twenty Years of Bologna critically describes and analyses 12 Higher Education Systems from the perspective of four major questions: What is currently the situation with regard to the six original goals of Bologna? What was the adopted path of reform? Which were the triggering (economic, social, political) factors for the reform in each specific country? What was the rationale/discourse used during the reform?

The book comparatively analyses the different systems, their paths of reforms and trajectories, and the similarities and the differences between them. At the same time it critically assesses the current situation on higher education in Europe, and hints towards a future policy agenda.

Contributors are: Tommaso Agasisti, Bruno Broucker, Martina Dal Molin, Kurt De Wit, Andrew Gibson, Ellen Hazelkorn, Gergely Kovats, Liudvika Leišytė, Lisa Lucas, António Magalhães, Sude Peksen, Rosalind Pritchard, Palle Rasmussen, Anna-Lena Rose, Christine Teelken, Eva M. de la Torre, Carmen Perez-Esparrells, Jani Ursin, Amélia Veiga, Jef C. Verhoeven, Nadine Zeeman, and Rimantas Želvys.