The initiative to create a European university community and a single European space for higher education was proposed by one of the oldest in Italy - the University of Bologna. In 1986, in preparation for its 900th anniversary, the University approached all universities in Europe with a proposal to adopt the Magna Charta Universitarum. In 1988, a document proclaiming the universal and enduring values of university education was signed by the rectors of 80 universities.
Gradually, the process of European integration of higher education has grown from the university to the state level. In 1998, in Paris, within the walls of the famous Sorbonne University, during the celebration of its anniversary, a meeting of the ministers of education of four countries (France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy) was held. The Sorbonne Declaration "On the Harmonization of the Architecture of the European Higher Education System" for the first time substantiated the strategic goal of creating a zone of European higher education and accelerated further developments.
In 1999, the First Conference of 30 European Ministers of Education took place in Bologna. The adopted declaration "Zone of European Higher Education" defined the main goals leading to the achievement of comparability and harmonization of national educational systems of higher education in European countries. It was this document that launched the Bologna Process. Subsequently, the meetings of the European Ministers of Education participating in the Bologna Process became regular at intervals of two years.
In 2001, Prague received ministers of education, and Berlin in 2003. Fourth, the meeting took place in May 2005 in the Norwegian city of Bergen. Here, five countries of the former Soviet Union, including Ukraine, announced their entry into the Bologna process. The fifth meeting was held in 2007 in London, the sixth in 2009 in Leuven / Louvain-la-Neve, the seventh in 2010 in Budapest, the eighth in 2012 in Bucharest, the ninth in 2015 in Yerevan.
In 2010, Kazakhstan became a full member of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). Kazakhstan is the first Central Asian state recognized as a full member of the EHEA. The entry of Kazakhstan was noted by the ministers of the EHEA in the Budapest-Vienna Declaration.
Currently, the Bologna Process includes 49 countries. The highest decision-making body on all issues of the structure and development of the Bologna Process is the Ministerial Conference. The meetings of the ministers of education of the countries participating in the Bologna Process are held once every 2-3 years. The last Conference of Ministers of Education of the countries participating in the Bologna Process was held online on November 19, 2020 in Italy. The Rome Communiqué was adopted.
Before the Conferences of Ministers of Education, the EHEA Report is being prepared. The purpose of the report is to identify the conditions and levels of implementation of the Bologna reforms in the participating countries. The collection and processing of information is carried out by a team of experts from the European statistical agency Eurostat.
Each participating country undertakes obligations to fulfill the mandatory, recommendatory and optional parameters of the Bologna Process, both at the national and institutional levels.
Parameters of the Bologna Process:
- Three-tier higher education system
- ECTS academic credits
- Academic mobility of students, teaching staff and administrative staff
- European Diploma Supplement
- Quality assurance in higher education
- Creation of a common European research space
- Common European assessments
- Active student involvement
- Social support for low-income students
- Education throughout life
- Harmonization of the content of education in the areas of training
- Non-linear trajectories of student learning, elective courses
- Modular system
- Distance learning, e-courses
- Academic ratings of students and faculty.