European Higher Education Area and Bologna Process

European Higher Education Area 

The British Council, working with the UK Higher Education International Unit, as part of a European Commission initiative and with support from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, has developed a project with a team of UK EHEA experts to support the implementation of EHEA reforms.

The UK European Higher Education Area (EHEA) project, part of Erasmus + Key Action 3, included a series of workshops on priority areas for the UK as reflected in the Bologna Process Implementation Report and in the Bucharest Communiqué.

series of workshops:

Series I - Developing Successful Joint Master and Doctoral Programmes

  • The Student Perspective - Rebecca Maxwell Stuart, PhD student, Heriot-Watt University
  • Joint Programmes - The Relevance of Bologna, John Reilly
  • Applying for an Erasmus+ Joint Masters, Raimonda Markeviciene – Head of the International Programmes and Relations Office of Vilnius University 
  • Focusing on Joint Master Degrees, Michael Blakemore, Emeritus Professor of Geography at the University of Durham and Technical Director - Ecorys UK
  • Focusing on Joint Doctorates, Michael Blakemore

Series II - Promoting employability through mobility programmes for HEIs

  • Making effective use of funding for mobility, Dugald Craig, Acting Chief Executive West of Scotland Colleges' Partnership
  • The UK Strategy for Outward Mobility, Anne Marie Graham, Head of Programme, Outward Student Mobility, UK Higher Education International Unit 
  • Promoting Mobility - Making the case, Natalie Cunningham, Head of Student Mobility, Manchester Metropolitan

Series III - Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships and Capacity Building projects and innovative student-centred learning

  • The Policy Context, Michael Blakemore
  • The Student Perspective (v2), Rebecca Maxwell Stuart
  • PASCL - An Introduction to Student Centred Learning, Viktor Grønne, ESU Executive Committee Member
  • The Relevance of Bologna and EHEA, John Reilly
  • Capacity Building in HE, Andy Gibbs HE Consultant
  • Erasmus and Strategic Partnership, John Reilly

Presentations and workshop reports aimed at staff from UK HEIs involved in developing international partnerships are now available to download.

The Bologna Process

The Bologna Process is a collective effort of public authorities, universities, teachers, and students, together with stakeholder associations, employers, quality assurance agencies, international organisations, and institutions, including the European Commission.

The Bologna Process was launched with the Bologna Declaration, of 1999. Between 1999 - 2010, all the efforts of the Bologna Process members were targeted to creating the European Higher Education Area, which became a reality across 47 countries with the Budapest-Vienna Declaration of March 2010. 

Widely differing education and training systems in Europe have traditionally made it hard for Europeans to use qualifications from one country to apply for a job or a course in another. Increased compatibility between education systems makes it easier for students and job seekers to move within Europe.

At the same time, the Bologna reforms help to make European universities and colleges more competitive and attractive to the rest of the world.

The Bologna Process also supports the modernisation of education and training systems to make sure these meet the needs of a changing labour market. This is important as the proportion of jobs requiring high skills grows, and the demand for innovation and entrepreneurship increases. 

Members of the Bologna Process are the education ministers of 48 countries, together with the European Commission, and the consultative members, namely the Council of Europe, UNESCO, EUA, ESU, EURASHE, ENQA, Education International and BUSINESSEUROPE.

Every two or three years there are Ministerial Conferences organised in order to assess the progress made within the EHEA and to decide on the new steps to be taken. 

The main focus of the Bologna Process is:

  • the introduction of the three cycle system (bachelor/master/doctorate)
  • strengthened quality assurance and
  • easier recognition of qualifications and periods of study, by use of the Bologna Tools: ECTS, Diploma Supplement, Europass, Lisbon Recognition Convention

For further information:

For further information on EHEA in the UK, please contact EHEA@britishcouncil.org