The overarching aim of the Bologna Process is to create a European Higher Education Area (EHEA) based on international cooperation and academic exchange that is attractive to European students and staff as well as to students and staff from other parts of the world.
The envisaged European Higher Education Area will facilitate mobility of students, graduates and higher education staff; prepare students for their future careers and for life as active citizens in democratic societies, and support their personal development; and offer broad access to high-quality higher education, based on democratic principles and academic freedom.
The Bologna Process is named after the Bologna Declaration, which was signed in the Italian city of Bologna on 19 June 1999 by ministers in charge of higher education from 29 European countries. Today, the Process unites 47 countries – all party to the European Cultural Convention and committed to the goals of the European Higher Education Area. An important characteristic of the Bologna Process is that it also involves European Commission, Council of Europe and UNESCO-CEPES, as well as representatives of higher education institutions, students, staff, employers and quality assurance agencies.
The Bologna Process is taken forward through a work programme that receives orientations from biannual ministerial conferences Prague 2001, Berlin 2003, Bergen 2005, London 2007, Leuven 2009, and Budapest and Vienna 2010 . These conferences are prepared by a Bologna Follow-up Group, which is in turn supported by a Bologna Secretariat.
The ECTS Users’ Guide provides guidelines for implementation of ECTS. It also presents the ECTS key documents. The Guide is offered to assist learners, academic and administrative staff in higher education institutions as well as other interested parties. It has been updated in 2009 to take account of developments in the Bologna Process, the growing importance of life long learning, the formulation of qualifications frameworks and the increasing use of learning outcomes. It has been written with the help of experts from stakeholders’ associations and ECTS counsellors, and submitted for consultation to stakeholders’ associations, Member States’ experts and the Bologna Follow-up Group.
The use of learning outcomes has an impact on a range of education and training practices and
policies. The main aim of transforming education provision by emphasising learning outcomes in curricula and qualifications is to enhance learning and to make that learning explicit. When it comes to curricula, the main role of learning outcomes is related to the willingness to actively engage learners in management of their learning process alongside their teachers. If this shift is actually taking place it should be possible to observe an impact of learning outcomes on pedagogy whereby teachers are increasinglyadopting a role of learning facilitators alongside delivering instruction.
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