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Students celebrate victory in Bologna Process negotiations

Students from across 46 European countries can look forward to a better educational future after Ministers made a major shift in emphasis in the Bologna Process reform programme.  The Leuven Communiqué, agreed yesterday by the Education Ministers from all 46 members  meeting in Belgium, is being acknowledged by national unions of students from across the continent as marking the start of a much more student-centred focus for the Bologna reform agenda, the most comprehensive transformation of higher education ever undertaken.

With widespread disillusionment and criticism of the lack of progress made with Bologna implementation, the outcome of the recent Leuven Ministerial Conference came as a much-needed boost to student faith in a Process that has so far failed to match its promises.  Key among the victories achieved yesterday were:

  • A much stronger commitment to, and emphasis on, the social dimension, with a clear commitment to public responsibility and public financing, national social dimension targets and continuous monitoring from the European level.
  • Recognition of lifelong learning as a tool for widening participation, not just professional up-skilling.
  • A 20% by 2020 mobility target – the result of a two-year campaign by ESU – which will make the EHEA a space for true cultural exchange and educational openess, opening up opportunities across borders and making education truly European. This commitment is substantiated by financial commitments and the promised removal of administrative obstacles such as visa regulations.
  • A focus on quality assurance as the key mechanism for delivering greater information on European institutional diversity, with full stakeholder involvement.
  • An explicit acknowledgement of the importance of student-centred learning for delivery of a truly high quality educational experience for all learners.

Commenting on Ministerial Conference, Ligia Deca, Chairperson of ESU, said:

”The Leuven Communique is the best so far in ten years of the Bologna Process.  For the first time, we have a declaration that focuses the attention of national governments and European leaders where it needs to be – on delivering a reform agenda that delivers quality, equity and mobility in higher education for all of Europe’s 12 million students.”


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