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The Bologna Process – Ministerial Conference in Bergen, 19-20 May

In co-operation with the Luxembourg EU-Presidency and the EU Commission, Norway will host the third Ministerial Conference on the Bologna Process, which aims at creating an European Higher Education Area.

15/02/2006 :: In 1999, the ministers of education of 29 countries and university leaders from the whole of Europe met to discuss the future development of higher education in Europe. The post-summit declaration issued by the ministers – the Bologna Declaration, as it is known – expressed the goal of developing a European Higher Education Area by 2010. This development process is known as the Bologna Process.

Two years after the Bologna Conference, the ministers met in Prague, and then again in Berlin in 2003. The number of member countries increased to 40. 5 new countries apply for membership this year. The next Ministerial Conference will be held in Bergen on 19 and 20 May 2005.

The Bologne process is not an EU-action, but EU offers economic support and actively participates in the work. The Bologna Process defines ten action lines or objectives on the road towards the achievement of a European Higher Education Area. These objectives overlap, or are inter-dependent, but each goal is also important in itself. The goals defined in the Bologna Process include the adoption of a comparable degree system with two main cycles, aimed at facilitating movement between countries. This in turn is a condition for achieving the goal of increased mobility for students and academic and administrative staff in higher education. The promotion of quality assurance and increased inter-institutional cooperation is also an objective.

There is every indication that the European Higher Education Area is an achievable goal, not embodying a single education policy, but rather embracing a diversity of national educational systems which learn to interact.
Between the Ministerial Conferences the work to promote the process is headed by a follow-up group (the Bologna Follow-up Group, comprising all the member countries and key organisations within the field of higher education) and a Board. In holding the office of deputy chair of both the Follow-up Group and the Board during the period leading up to the Ministerial Conference in 2005, Norway is playing a key role. In addition, a dedicated secretariat for the process has been established and is operated by Norway.

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