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Education: Balancing costs and benefits of the Bologna process

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Education: Balancing costs and benefits of the Bologna process


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In this edition of U-talk our question is from Philippe in Belgium:

“I have a question about the Bologna programme. A priori, this is a very interesting initiative, but I’d like to know if there are any studies that demonstrate it gives value for money?”

The response is from Denis Poizat, Lecturer at the Institute of Science and Practice of Education and Training, University Lyon 2, France:

“I would tell Philippe first that the Bologna programme has enabled thousands of students in higher education to travel for study abroad and that possibility wasn’t previously available for some years and today there is now a formidable international youth movement that wants to study abroad. And the second thing I would say to Philippe is it’s a gradual harmonisation – done in a rather soft way- of the diplomas that enables this professional mobility.

“So if we want to evaluate the cost-benefit of the Bologna process, we must home in on a number of recommendations that were made by major international organisations and the nations themselves. In other words: can universities promote the prosperity of states and well-being of people by increasing the wealth of nations?

“Well, it can’t be evaluated in five or even 10 years, but maybe in 30 years and the first steps, the first indications that can be observed in this area show that the European market and what’s been called the “market of knowledge” in the Bologna Process, the “Europe of Knowledge”, is very conducive to innovation.

“Whatever the case, I think we should listen to the criticisms. What are the critics saying? They argue that perhaps this cost-benefit economic prosperity will only benefit a few and it’s true that the question of justice must sometimes be posed in a very blunt way.

“I think that the Bologna programme is heading towards a European-led hyper-democracy, which promotes both the prosperity of nations and justice and which should strive to promote justice.

“And we must understand that among Europe’s universities, there is this word “university” which comes from the word “universal” and I think we should link this to the benefit of a hyper-democratic world of knowledge that may I hope, encourage the Bologna process.”

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