Below is the English text of the resolution passed by the International Moscow Scientific and Practical Conference on “Trade Unions and the Bologna Process” which met from 29-30 November 2006. Organised by the the Education and Science Employee's Union of Russia (ESEUR) of Russia and the Syndicat des Travailleurs de l'Education et de la Science d'Ukraine (STESU) of Ukraine, the conference was attended by EI’s Senior Co-ordinator in charge of Higher Education issues and the Bologna Follow-up Process, Monique Fouilhoux who presented recent developments in relation to the implementation of the Bologna process.
We, representatives of Education Trade Unions of a number of European states, the participants of this conference, consider the practical realization of the Bologna process to be one of the vital issues in our activities as it actually influences social, economic and professional interests of our members – education workers and students.
The process of constructing the European higher education area is becoming an integral part in modernization of education and important means of building up its competitiveness, with regard for changing social and economic environment.
Being aware of the higher school social responsibility for its efficiency in providing a high quality education we call on our governments for ensuring the maximum support of the education system as a most important field of human activities to increase “human capital” and intellectual potential.
The development of education, providing decent life for education workers and good learning conditions for students is a real way of investing in a man which influences not only his future but also the progress of society, its economy, science, culture. It has its impact on the image a state acquires in the world.
The Bologna process is both a good opportunity and a challenge for the university teachers’ community. The situation in the public education and a free and equal access to higher education remain our vital agendas. Among the crucial issues in the development of the higher education and research work for Europe on the whole and every country in particular are a high professional status and decent salaries, optimal teaching and learning conditions, research work included.
We realize very distinctly that the practical implementation of the Bologna process will entail great difficulties in reconstructing the current national education systems, more so for the East-European countries.
The gap between the declared support of education and practical steps in its development at state level is the greatest threat to higher school.
Professors and students being true parties to the Bologna process have not yet been involved or do not have any information about its realization or changes to come.
The Bologna process is being initiated by the administration of higher educational institutions and implemented through intensifying teachers’ labour and with no due regard for students’ interests.
Higher educational institutions suffer lack of equipment and adequate funding. Payment reform to ensure quality education and to better the image of the teaching profession in the eyes of society has not been launched, either.
There is no system of monitoring the society and labour market demands which leads to serious disproportion in professional training and emergency of excess man-power resource.
A gap between the two basics in higher education – teaching and research, between education and production sphere, between academic autonomy and administrative pressure, between declared university democracy and realities of autocratic management are quite evident.
Education trade unions up to now have not been recognized as equal partners in the realization of the Bologna process and have no real opportunities to constructively defend their members’ interests.
We also see the necessity for the unions and their branches to be more active both in providing union members with wider information and in taking practical steps towards implementing the Bologna process through the following measures:
- launching an all-sided discussion among academics and students about our states’ aims and goals in joining the Bologna process and the way of realizing its principal positions;
- working out requirements for the development of education system in the Bologna process in regard for university teachers’ and students’ interests;
- monitoring the developments in educational institutions;
- improving coordination of work and cooperation with employers’ and business community on the basis of social partnership in order that the bachelor degree was recognized at labour market as a rightful level of higher education;
- involving representatives of researchers and teachers’ community in working out recommendations for creating higher education standards based on credit transfer system;
- involving union and university teachers’ representatives in the work of branch, interdepartmental, international trade union and other working groups on the Bologna process;
- developing democracy and self-government at higher educational institutions.
We are ready for constructive relationship, creative perception and active participation in implementing the Bologna process together with the state, professional community, business and employers’ bodies.
We call on all members of our unions not to stay aside from the processes taking place in education system, indulge in the practical implementation of the Bologna process.
We suggest that legislative and executive bodies should
- adopt the law and speed up the practical realization of the national plans for creating a joint European higher education area by 2010;
- in respect of the Bergen communiqué introduce higher education trade unions to the work of committees in charge of the implementation of the Bologna process, including the process of creating national education quality control.
- have consultations with education trade unions as to the contents of national reports presented by ministers of education in order to respond to the interests of education workers and students;
- fulfill to the latter UNESCO’s Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel adopted by the General Conference at its 29th session Paris, 21 October – 12 November, 1997;
- provide adequate working and learning conditions at higher educational institutions, creating good opportunity for improving university teachers’ and other staff professional skills, widening academic and student mobility (on the state funding basis);
- protect academic freedom and democratic values of higher education.
We recommend local branches and union members
- to take an active part in working out strategic plans for the development of their university;
- to make it possible for academics and students participate in discussing university draft documents (University Charter, collective agreement, Tutorial Board Charter) as the most important tool in establishing their rights, guarantees and working/learning conditions;
- to develop collectivism, university self-government experience, university teachers’ involvement in evaluation of the university;
- to make efforts to allow union members to analyze the effects of the Bologna process as to the implications it has brought in volume, content and forms of workload for university teachers and students and to introduce appropriate changes in the collective agreements in the interests of education workers;
- to cooperate with student self-governing bodies;
- to follow carefully and adequately react to the attempts of changing the juridical status of the university taking into consideration the necessity to safeguard teachers’ and students’ lawful interests.
The participants of the conference appeal to all trade unions’ branch and local organizations to raise their voice in favour of clear and comprehensive regulations, in establishing of universities’ true academic and financial autonomy. We draw our colleagues’ attention to the importance of searching for new ways of cooperation with the state power and municipal bodies in order to achieve agreement on the matters of educational system development.
We are fully aware that only the union that is open to the needs of society can find its place in the coalition of numerous social structures and bodies of society equally interested in the development of education and appropriate evaluation of the teachers’ role in modern life.
The participants of the conference believe that the unions can achieve more in their support of social democracy only by joint efforts of each and every member, by establishing integrity and unity inside the union movement as opposed to disintegration and decentralization.
This will very much depend on how we will be able to master new effective forms and methods in our work at all levels of the union structure to improve our members’ motivation to stay and work together.
The Conference have come to conclusion:
1. To approve the practice and recommend to go on with convening conferences, meetings and other forums to discuss the crucial issues of education, unions’ activities, including international events.
2. To address the Central Committee of the Unions whose representatives participated in this conference with a suggestion that working groups be formed to follow the trends in the development of the Bologna process, to work out recommendations for implementing the Bologna principles at higher education institutions.
3. To forward the resolution adopted at the conference to EI
- with request to widely involved unions of East European countries in the discussing and articulating the position on the practical realization of the Bologna process, to improve information on EI general activities
- with request to present the position of the participants of the Moscow conference as lawful representatives of higher education institutions and trade union organizations from 8 countries (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria, Sweden, Latvia, Germany, Slovakia) at the meeting of the EI standing committee on higher education and at the seminar on the Bologna process in London (February, 2007)
4. To forward the resolution adopted at the conference to the National Ministries of Education with request
- to better regard the interests of university teachers and students in the practical implementation of the Bologna process, especially when preparing national reports for European ministerial meetings;
- to establish constructive cooperation with education unions as lawful representatives of university teachers and other employees and students in the field.
Adopted at the International Moscow Scientific and Practical Conference - “TRADE UNIONS AND THE BOLOGNA PROCESS” by trade union and university teachers’ representatives.
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS:
1. Education International
2. The Bulgarian Teachers’ Union
3. Federal Education Agency
4. Education and Science Employees’ Trade Union of Russia Central Committee
5. Education and Science Employees’ Trade Union of Ukraine Central Committee
6. Education and Science Employees’ Trade Union of Byelorussia Central Committee
7. Education and Science Employees’ Trade Union of Ukraine Donetsk City Organization
8. Stockholm Local Branch of Lararforbundet
9. Education and Science Workers’ Union Riga City Organization
10. Education and Science Employees’ Trade Union of Ukraine Kiev City Organization
11. Education and Science Employees’ Trade Union of Russia St. Petersburg City Organization
12. Education and Science Employees’ Trade Union of Russia Moscow City Organization
13. Berlin Humboldt University (Germany)
14. Trenchin University (Slovakia)
15. Donetsk National University (Ukraine)
16. Kiev National University after T.Shevchenko (Ukraine)
17. Sumy State University (Ukraine)
18. Ryazan State Radio Engineering University
19. Ufa State Oil Technical University
20. Ural State Law Academy
21. Rostov State Academy of Architecture and Art
22. Taganrog State Pedagogical Institute
23. Ural State Technical University
24. Novosibirsk State Technical University
25. Ural State Pedagogical University
26. Rostov State University
27. Krasnoyarsk State Pedagogical University
28. Kemerovo State University
29. Siberian State Automobile-Road Engineering Academy
30. Perm State Technical University
31. Vladimir State University
32. Samara State Institute of Architecture and Civil Engineering
33. Volga-Vyatsk Presidential Academy of Civil Service
34. Moscow State University after M.V. Lomonosov
35. Moscow Academy of Labour and Social Relationship
36. Moscow State Technical University “Stankin”
37. Moscow State University of Food Industries
38. Moscow State Automobile and Civil Engineering Institute
39. Bauman Moscow State Technical University
40. Moscow State Technical University of Civil Aviation
41. Moscow State Textile University after N.A.Kosygin
42. Moscow State Institute of Electronics
43. Institute on Finance and Economics
44. Russia State Humanitarian University (Moscow)
45. Plekhanov Russian Academy on Economics
46. Moscow Institute for Radio Engineering, Electronics and Automatization
47. Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys
48. Moscow State University of Engineering Ecology
49. University of Chemical Technology after D.I.Mendeleev
50. Moscow State Mining University
51. Moscow State University of Geodesy and Cartography
52. State University of Oil and Gas after I.M. Gubkin
53. Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia
54. Moscow State Institute of Electronics and Mathematics
55. Moscow State Geological University after Sergio Ordzhonikidze
56. Moscow State Evening Metallurgical Institute
57. Moscow State Academy of Fine Chemical Technology after M. V. Lomonosov