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ESU reveals students’ perspectives on the EHEA and welcomes the Yerevan Communique

BRUSSELS – The European Students’ Union released Bologna with Student Eyes 2015 in light of the Ministerial Conference and Fourth Bologna Process that took place in Yerevan, Armenia between 14 and 15 May 2015.  The event concluded with an endorsement of the Yerevan Communique, an agreement which sets higher education priorities, including students’ rights, for the period up to 2018.

According to the newly released Bologna With Student Eyes, after more than 15 years, the goals of the Bologna Declaration remain largely unfulfilled. The major challenge for the Bologna Process today from the student perspective is the uneven implementation of reforms and countries’ poor follow-up on previous commitments. Additionally, unrelated, and at times unpopular national reforms have been pushed using the Bologna-name. Cuts in funding have also stopped or delayed the implementation process necessary for transforming the learning process.

During a debate on the future of the Bologna Process at the Ministerial Meeting, Elisabeth Gehrke, Chair, European Students Union encouraged “all ministers, including those who are not at this meeting, to come back to the table and dare to take tough decisions so that we do not waste the opportunities we have in Bologna. We must consider new ways to ensure that countries dedicate all efforts to the full and proper implementation of the commitments ministers have made to reform.

Following the Higher Education Yerevan Communique, unanimously adopted during the second day of EHEA Ministerial Summit and Fourth Bologna Policy Forum, ESU welcomes ministers’ commitments on the implementation of student-centred learning, as well as the increased focus placed on the social dimension, academic freedom and widening access to higher education. In addition, ministers are committed to ensure student representation as full partners in decision-making processes, curriculum design and quality assurance.

During the meeting, more precise methods of measuring performance in implementation in reporting from member countries were requested. Ministers asked that the governance and working methods of the EHEA is reviewed and simplified, and proposals are submitted for addressing non-implementation of key commitments by the next Ministerial Meeting in 2018.

In line with the Policy Paper on the Bologna Process and the European Higher Education Area, adopted in May 2014, the European Students’ Union called for:

  • a real paradigm shift towards a student-centred approach to learning and teaching, characterised by innovative learning and teaching methods
  • better definitions of underrepresented groups and a more holistic approach in tackling discrimination
  • recognition of degrees to be guaranteed and granted automatically for those countries that have succeeded in the implementation of core reforms
  • true academic freedom and active participation in decision-making processes for students and academics
  • the establishment of a control mechanism to verify that governments and
  • Institutions are not misusing the name of the Bologna Process to justify policies that are unrelated to the Bologna implementation.
  • the involvement of all stakeholders in the implementation and follow-up of the reforms


Background Documents


Bologna with Student Eyes 2015

The publication is a reality-check of what has been agreed upon by national governments within the Bologna Process and what the actual situation is for students. The data for this edition was collected by surveying ESU’s national unions of students in the following areas: student participation in governance, social dimension, quality assurance, recognition, mobility and internationalisation, structural reforms and financing of higher education. The questionnaire also included general questions about the Bologna Process and its future. In total, over 38 national unions of students responded the questionnaire, from Norway to Malta and Ireland to Armenia.

For more information :

Statement to the Ministerial Conference, adopted at Board Meeting 68 in Yerevan, 11 May 2015 . For more information:

ESU’s Policy Paper on the Bologna Process and the European Higher Education Area, adopted at the Board Meeting 66 in Vienna, in May 2014) as part of the ESU Policy Book. For more information:

Yerevan Communiqué, adopted on the 15th May 2015, during EHEA Ministerial Summit and Fourth Bologna Policy Forum  


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