Education International
Education International

EI attends launch of European Higher Education area at Bologna Anniversary Ministerial Conference

published 13 March 2010 updated 13 March 2010

The Ministers responsible for higher education in 47 countries of Europe gathered at the 10th Anniversary Bologna Ministerial Conference, celebrated on 11-12 Mar in Budapest and Vienna, for the official launch of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).

The Budapest-Vienna Declaration on the EHEA, adopted by the Ministers, takes note of EI’s assessment and contributions to the discussions, and expresses its commitment to working towards “a more effective inclusion of higher education staff and students in the implementation and further development of the EHEA” and to “fully support staff and student participation in decision-making structures at European, national and institutional levels.”

Furthermore, the Declaration recognises that “a more supportive environment” for the academic staff is needed and reaffirms that higher education is “a public responsibility.”

Academic freedom appears to be also a main challenge in the implementation of the Bologna Process, and the declaration recognises higher education institutions play an important role “in fostering peaceful democratic societies and strengthening social cohesion”.

On March 12, the Second Bologna Policy Forum took place in Vienna, gathering the representatives of the Bologna Member States together with other countries. During the sessions of this forum, EI highlighted the importance of the “involvement of academics for a successful implementation of the various action lines of the Bologna Process”, regretting “the lack of representation of academic staff at all levels when Quality Assurance is concerned”. The global union federation concluded by pointing at the need for "attractive working conditions - decent salary, improved tenure, compatible social security benefits and probable pension schemes, but also to ensure academic freedom for individual academics.”

EI contributed to the discussions by means of the statement to the Bologna Anniversary Ministerial Conference. It has also published a study under the title “Enhancing Quality?, outlining higher education staff unions’ perceptions of the implementation of the Bologna Process.

The next Bologna Conference will be held in Romania in 2012.

To download a copy of EI's study or statement in pdf format, please click on the links below.