Information concerning the Bologna Process
Institutions of higher education in Germany are now in a phase of far-reaching reforms and restructuring, categorized under the heading “Bologna Process”. In the year following the initial Paris meeting of the French, Italian, British, and German Ministers of Education in May 1998, representatives from 29 European nations resolved to create a common European framework for higher education by the year 2010. To this end, they announced a list of aims:
- to introduce a system of degrees that is easy to understand and compare, and to introduce a so-called “diploma supplement”,
- to introduce programs of study based on the undergraduate/ graduate model, whereby undergraduate study requires at least three years and graduate study (master’s program) requires at least one year,
- to introduce a point system (European Credit Point Transfer and Accumulation System) and academic modules,
- to encourage mobility of students by eliminating certain obstacles from Europe’s higher education institutions,
- to introduce systems of quality control for programs of study,
- to make European institutions of higher education more attractive to prospective students.
These goals were broadened in subsequent conferences to include the following:
- development of lifelong education programs (Prague 2001),
- to implement the bachelor/master structure and the academic point system (Berlin 2003),
- to develop doctoral programs as a third unit, following bachelor’s and master’s programs (Bergen 2005).
Germany accepted the aims of the Bologna Process from the very beginning. The framework for academic reform at German institutions was established by the provisions and recommendations of the Ministry of Education Conference. Subsequently, all programs of study were to be converted to the bachelor/master system, divided into modules, assigned ECTS points, and become subject to quality control (accreditation) procedures.