Bologna Beyond 2010 : Report on the development of the European Higher Education Area
Bologna Follow-up Group
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In many respects, the Bologna Process has been revolutionary for cooperation in European higher education. Four education ministers participating in the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the University of Paris (Sorbonne Joint Declaration, 1998) shared the view that the segmentation of the European higher education sector in Europe was outdated and harmful and thus signed the Sorbonne Joint Declaration. The decision to engage in a voluntary process to create the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) was formalized a year later in Bologna by 30 countries (The Bologna Declaration, 1999). It is now apparent that this was a unique undertaking as the process today includes no fewer than 46 participating countries, out of the 49 countries that have ratified the European Cultural Convention of the Council of Europe (1954). This means that, eventually, the joint declaration signed by four ministers in Paris mobilized numerous (higher) education ministers and high-ranking civil servants, as well as many thousands of rectors, deans, professors and students who contributed to the conception of the project and, in particular, to its implementation. No other European initiative has mobilized so many people, apart from the creation and development of the European Union. Moreover, the process has aroused growing curiosity and interest, but also some uneasiness in other parts of the world. Prior to the publication of the independent assessment the ministerial meeting of 2009 is to give policy orientations for the future of the Bologna Process. The present report proposes the possible main foci these orientations could take.