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Bologna “Unplugged”: Uncovering the Base Track of a Major European-Wide Higher Educational Reform Initiative


Lucian Blaga University and UNESCO-CEPES


Written by two higher educational policy editors and experts, the essay explicates and critiques the basic (and perhaps base) motivations of the European-wide “Bologna Process” and its effects on academic degree structures of universities via the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS), the Diploma Supplement (DS), and Quality Assurance (QA) and related “top-down” “steering” policy innovations. By use of a popular music metaphor (“unplugged”) the authors seek to provide a readable sketch of the practical implementation of the Process and its mixed effects on curricula reform, student learning outcomes, graduate employability and life-long learning. Recognizing its broad remit promoting “reform” of higher education in Europe, the authors remain guardedly hopeful that wise implementation of the Bologna Process policies will prevent mindless ideological “deforming” of the sector and its stakeholders.

Keywords: Higher Education Policy and Reform (Europe), Bologna Process, ECTS, DS, Quality Assurance, curricular reform, graduate employability, learning outcomes, Life-Long Learning, social ideology and change



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