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Wednesday, July 18, 2012 (read 291 times)
Plan Bologna in Spain - Higher Education in Europeby Seun
Plan Bologna (or the Bologna Process) is an initiative put forward by the European Ministry of Education aiming to revolutionise higher education in Europe.
- Education Ministers for France, Germany, UK and Italy meet at the 800th anniversary of the Sorbonne, Paris.
- All 4 agree that the Higher Education system in Europe is not only out of date but also, therefore, detrimental.
- First official meeting with 30 countries held in Bologna, June.
- Decided aim of the programme is to increase the profile of European university education.
Since the 1999 meeting in Bologna there have been conferences every two years discussing and widening the scope of influence in which Plan Bologna hopes to be effective. As of 2010, Plan Bolonia has 47 participating countries and its main points of focus in homogenising higher education in Europe include increasing mobility and accessibility in higher education, and reforming degree structure.
Over a decade on from that first meeting, those of us who are in anyway still involved in education (no matter how tenuous the link) have all heard at least something about Plan Bolonia. Whilst in countries such as the United Kingdom there are a very few participating institutions, to the Spanish (and other southern Europeans) Plan Bolonia has already left a strong mark on the working of higher education. However, certainly not without much dispute…
Of course, in theory, what Plan Bolonia hopes to achieve is undeniably a good thing: More easily transferable degrees, more practical degree courses, and both of these factors ultimately leading to increased graduate employability. Pitifully, in practice, and in the light of the ongoing economic crisis, Plan Bolonia has left many feeling rather unimpressed with the system. Having scouted the Spanish press for articles concerning Plan Bolonia’s hold on Spanish further education, it seems that there are very few who praise the process whilst the number of protests and complaints against grows larger by the minute.
One fatally astute criticism from the Madrid anti-Bolonia protests of 2009 accuses Plan Bolonia of turning education into business. Amongst other criticisms come complaints of: insufficient funding for certain courses, inflexibility of the study programme prohibiting students from working to cover costs, and also the uncertainty of the loan that Plan Bolonia is branding as a Grant.
Not everyone is against Plan Bolonia, but fearfully it seems that this has nothing to do with the fact that the process is already engrained in the Spanish education system. Perhaps the reason for the system’s apparent failings is a matter of bad timing. And if this is the case, then it is only fair to give Plan Bolonia a few more years to iron out its creases.
Keywords: plan bolonia, bologna plan, bologna process, spanish education system, european university education, higher education in europe