The Ministry of National Education organised the Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG) meeting, in Bucharest, on 4 – 5 April 2019. The event was hosted by the Polytechnic University of Bucharest and was included in the calendar of the Romanian Presidency of the European Union Council.
On this occasion, National Education Minister Ecaterina Andronescu underscored the role of the Bologna Process in developing higher education and its evolution over the 20 years since the adoption of the Bologna Declaration (1999).
“This is a good opportunity to consider the progress we have achieved, the challenges we have encountered in applying the reforms and what the Bologna Process should look like in the future, what priorities and initiatives we can have in the future to properly respond to economic and social change.
Despite the diversity of our higher education systems, we are facing similar challenges. I am speaking about demographic trends, technology evolutions, digitalisation trends, climate change, as well as social challenges: from unemployment and social inequality to problems raised by immigration and radicalisation. Higher education can and must play a decisive role in finding solutions,” Minister Ecaterina Andronescu declared.
The main topics of the agenda covered the future of the Bologna Process, including governance, priority topics and goals after 2020, as well as the status of activities carried out by the workgroups established in the margins of the Bologna Process for the 2018 – 2020 period.
The meeting was attended by over 100 representatives of the Member States of the European Higher Education Area, of advisory bodies and experts in higher education quality assurance.
The meeting of the Bologna Follow-Up Group was preceded by the General Assembly of the EQAR and the meeting of the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education Committee (2 – 3 March 2019), both events being organised by the Ministry of National Education in the context of the Romanian Presidency of the European Union Council (1 January – 30 June 2019).
The Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG) is the main forum of the Process, which meets twice per year – between ministerial conferences – in the country that holds the Presidency of the European Union Council.
The Bologna Process was launched by the Bologna Declaration in 1999, and it is one of the main voluntary intergovernmental cooperation processes at European level, currently implemented in 48 states that are part of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). These countries implement higher education reforms based on common key values – such as freedom of expression, institutional autonomy, independent student associations, academic freedom, free circulation of students and staff.
Through this process, countries, institutions and stakeholders permanently adapt their higher education systems, making them more compatible and strengthening their quality assurance mechanisms. The main goal of all these countries is increasing student and staff mobility and facilitating employment.
The Bologna process includes 48 participant states, the European Commission, consulting members (higher education organizations – EUA, ESU, ENQA, EURASHE, the Council of Europe, Business Europe, Education International), and partners.