The Fifth Ministerial Conference on the Bologna Process – a bi-annual event where the progress of the Bologna Process is monitored and new actions are decided upon – took place in London last week. This basically means a bombardment of papers, reports and speeches about what’s been going on and what needs to be done, coming from everyone that is somehow related to higher education. All this has culminated in the London Communique (pdf).

I haven’t had the time to go through all the documents yet, but the Communique does’nt seem to hold many surprises (which is not surprising of course for an inter-governmental document set up by over 40 countries). I did however read about an interesting option by Franck Vandenbroucke (in Dutch), Flemish minister of education and host for the Sixth Conference in 2009. He argues that the difference between the late and early adopters of the Bologna principles is too wide and that it is better for the early staters to explore the next frontiers for European cooperation, instead of waiting for the rest to catch up.

Euractiv has an article about the different perspectives on the outcome of the 5th Ministerial Conference. Here’s my interpretation:

The European Union:

We want universities to be liberated from the shackles of state domination (you’ll be better of with us)!

European Students:

It’s all about us so you better take us seriously! Or else…

European Universities:

If you give us more freedom and more money we will give you whatever you want (and pay for)

European Business:

Actually, we have no clue what we want so we’ll just repeat that we want your graduates to be interdisciplinary, process oriented and adaptable problem solvers that can work in teams. You figure it out…

The Brits:

We should all adopt similar standards… preferably the British ones

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