The crucial month for higher education policy is here. For anyone interested in Europe's educational future, this is the time to get involved.
Read on below to find out all the exciting and (hopefully!) positive things that are taking place this month, and how YOU can play a part in the action:
The Ministers are coming : Official Ministerial Conference of the Bologna Process 28/29th April, Belgium
Ten years after it began, the time has come to evaluate the latest progress in delivering the vision of a European Higher Education Area (EHEA) for 46 countries across the continent.
Ministers from all 46 signatory countries will gather for a 2 day conference (28-29th April) in Belgium to assess progress on the various Bologna Process action lines in the two years since the last Ministerial Conference in London in 2007.
Why does Bologna matter?
Quite simply, the Bologna Process is the single biggest reform programme of higher education that Europe has ever seen. It therefore affects every student, every university, every staff member in all 46 countries. And it has the potential to be a real force for good across the continent, if implemented correctly. But equally, failure to get it right has huge implications for the whole higher education sector, and all those in it. That's why ESU, as a key stakeholder in the Bologna Process, is working continuously to deliver the best possible outcomes for European students.
But what is the Bologna Process all about?
The Bologna Process is a European reform process aimed at creating a European Higher Education Area based on international cooperation and academic exchange, and that is attractive to European students and staff as well as to students and staff from other parts of the world.
The envisaged European Higher Education Area will:
facilitate the mobility of students, graduates and higher education staff;
prepare students for their future careers and for life as active citizens in democratic societies, and support their personal development;
offer broad access to high-quality higher education, based on democratic principles and academic freedom.
You can read more about the Bologna Process and its history here
What is ESU's position on the Bologna Process?
ESU believes in the vision of the European Higher Education Area, believing that is has the potential to deliver a wide range of benefits to students, staff and academic institutions in all signatory countries. But in the ten years since the Process started, the persistent problem has been one of implementation, with certain action lines being prioritised and others neglected. While many of the 'structural' reforms, such as the introduction of the 3-tier degree cycle, have been widely put in place, others such as measures to support mobility and support systems for students have been lacking. It is vital that this is addressed as a matter of urgency if the EHEA as envisioned is to become a reality.
What will ESU be doing around the Ministerial, and how can I get involved?
ESU is a member of the Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG), a group of key educational stakeholders who monitor progress on Bologna implementation and contribute to the future direction of the Process. We have therefore been heavily involved in influencing the ministerial communique that will be published at the end of the Conference. And we will be fully present at the event to speak to Ministers, the media and partners to make sure our views, and those of the European students we represent, are fully heard.
Representatives of our 49 member unions from 38 countries will also be present to lobby their respective ministers. If you would like to get involved, contact us at ESU or your appropriate national union directly (details under the 'Members' section of the 'About ESU' tab above).
Let's all hope for a positive result for higher education and European students at the end of this month!
And timed to coincide, Bologna With Student Eyes is coming too!
Another key contribution that ESU makes to the Bologna Process is the publication of a major survey report of student view on Bologna Process implemention. Bologna With Student Eyes is the only report of its kind which provides an insight into the perspectives of those who the Process and the EHEA are designed to help. It therefore provides a vital reality check as to how the delivery of the Bologna reforms are actually progressing on the ground.
This year's Bologna With Student Eyes 2009 report will be officially launched at a public presentation on Wednesday 22nd April in Brussels. For more details on how you can attend, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
After the official launch, an electronic version of the report will be put online, so look out for that later in the month.
Taking Bologna to the European Parliament : ESU/AEGEE event with MEPs, 29th April, 4pm.
Following straight on from the Leuven Ministerial Conference of the Bologna Process, ESU and AEGEE (Association des Etats Generaux d'Etudiants) are delighted to be hosting a joint event on EU education policy in the European Parliament.
Kindly hosted by Katerina Batzeli MEP, Chair of the Culture and Education Committee, the event will focus on debates and discussions around the future of the Bologna Process, particularly in light of the Ministerial, the EU's Strategic Framework for Cooperation on Education and Training, and the role of the Parliament on education in its forthcoming mandate.
The event will take place on Thursday 29th April, 4pm, in the Paul-Henri Spaak building of the European Parliament in Brussels.
For more information and to find out how you can attend, please e-mail: email@example.com