Bologna Process Implementation in the Israeli Higher-Education System
The Bologna Process, launched in 1999, is the result of decisions made by international committees of the participating states' ministries of education. The process takes place in numerous countries in Western and Eastern Europe, the Balkan, North Africa and the Middle East (Bologna Declaration, 1999; Voegtle, Knill & Dobbins, 2011). The process purports to create cultural and structural changes both in established medieval higher education systems, and also in recently-established systems in newly-independent states. The Bologna Process' initial objective is the institutional standardization of higher education in the participating states. Yet, higher-Education standardization has wide-ranging extra-academic effects, clearly evident in the economic, social and political arenas.
The Bologna Process subscribes to the unification of Europe and its neighbors into a single powerful entity, which could compete globally with economic superpowers such as the USA, China, Japan and India. To achieve such unity, European Union member states cannot limit their efforts to an economic community characterized by a single currency and a unified, holistic economic policy. Rather, they must create broad infrastructures, commonly consolidating education, welfare, employment, etc. Higher education plays a central role in the infrastructural consolidation of Europe and its neighbors: future major-scale transformations in each state's education system will impact professional training and mobility throughout and outside the continent. These transformations are designed to restructure European culture, society and economy; and also to establish a comprehensively potent common denominator and an influential mobilizing force that will buttress European competitiveness vis-à-vis the superpowers, and concomitantly will contribute to the wellbeing of the participating states.
These are the six major aspects of the Bologna Process (Bologna Declaration, 1999):
Adopting a three-cycle system of study (bachelor, master, doctorate)
ECTS: European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System. Creating a standardized system for cross-European higher education performance and attainment.
The Diploma Supplement (DS): higher education diploma, providing a standardized description of the nature, level, context, content and status of the studies completed by its holder.
National academic training.
Independent systems for national academic assessment.
Treaty of Lisbon.
Israel's initial application to the Bologna process was submitted in January 2007. The application's re-submission in 2008 was rejected. The rejection appears to rest on formal-political grounds: non-European states cannot sign the Bologna Declaration and join the process; they may only observe the process and its implementation. Nevertheless, Israeli students and researchers do participate in EU programs under the Bologna Process, e.g., "Erasmus Mundus” and "Tempus.” These programs promote academic and research cooperation between Bologna Process participants and non-participant states; this cooperation purports to bolster Europe's global status and extend the process to neighboring geographical areas.
In order to include Israeli higher education system in European academic transformations, the Israeli Council for Higher Education (CHE) joined the Tempus program, launching a national office supported by EU funding.
Excerpted from Dr. Miri Yemini and Prof. Yossi Ben-Artzi's essay,
Dapim Journal, 2013, Vol. 55.
Project number 530315-TEMPUS-1-2012-1-IL-TEMPUS-JPGR
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.