Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The European Higher Education Area in 2012: Bologna Process Implementation Report

Context [taken from the press briefing]

The Bologna Process Implementation Report is the result of a joint effort by Eurostat, Eurostudent and Eurydice and has been overseen by the Bologna Follow-Up Group. It describes the state of implementation of the Bologna Process in 2012 from various perspectives using data collected in 2011. Thus the report provides statistical data as well as contextualized, qualitative information.

The higher education landscape in 2012 has been transformed by the Bologna Process. All countries have made significant changes that have enabled the European Higher Education Area to emerge, and which have laid the ground for higher education that is serving an increasing range of societal demands. Higher education structures have been changed, quality assurance systems developed, mechanisms to facilitate mobility established, and a range of issues for the social dimension of higher education identified. The scale of a project that, on the basis of voluntary cooperation, agrees and implements common objectives for the higher education systems of 47 countries is unprecedented.

The Bologna Process continues to evolve through turbulent times, and in recent years the challenges for higher education have intensified. EHEA countries implement reforms in very different contexts. Student numbers vary enormously. Russia alone takes up more than 25 % of the student population of the whole EHEA, while students in Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Germany, and the United Kingdom comprise more than 50 % of the total EHEA student population. In addition, while demographic changes are of concern to most countries, some face relatively big increases in the student population in the coming years, while other countries will experience a decline in numbers. This context needs to be taken into account when assessing the degree of progress that has been made in implementing reforms in different parts of the European Higher Education Area.

Differences also exist regarding the funding of higher education institutions. While in some countries all higher education institutions are funded primarily from public sources, in others there is a larger proportion of private institutions. In addition, levels of public expenditure vary greatly within the EHEA. Responses to the recent economic crisis also differ. While public expenditure increased considerably in some countries after 2008, there have been significant budget cuts in others. Overall, the result of the crisis so far is a decline in public expenditure on higher education.

Full report (PDF 224pp)
Press briefing [“highlights” document] (PDF 13pp includes some useful graphs)

Source: Eurydice Update 54: May 2012

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