In recent years ELFA has paid a lot of attention to the reform of legal education resulting from the Sorbonne-Bologna Declaration.
The impact of the Declaration on legal studies was a topic at many of the ELFA conferences.
Moreover, ELFA has composed several documents in order to inform its members and to convey its position to the European Ministers for Education on the reform process:
- Information note for ELFA members regarding the development of European higher education and its possible impact on law studies in Europe,
- Letter to EU-Commissioner of Education, Mrs. Reding, following the follow-up conference in Prague (May 2001): English, French, Spanish, German,
- ELFA Board position paper concerning the Bologna-Declaration of 31 May 2002: English, French, German,
- Report of the discussion on the ELFA Board position paper held during the Riga General Assembly.
ELFA follows up the implementation of the Sorbonne-Bologna Declaration. It intends to, on a regular basis, collect information with regard to the implementation process of the Declaration in the member universities.
List of the latest resolutions of the ELFA regarding legal education as the following:
|Strasbourg 2014||ELFA Resolution on “Financing of Law Faculties”|
|Münster 2013||ELFA Resolution on “The Unity of Research and Teaching”|
|Madrid 2012||ELFA Resolution on “Legal Education and Professional Life: Adapting to Current Challenges”|
|Warsaw 2011||ELFA Resolution on “Governance, Autonomy and Finance of Universities and Law Faculties”|
|Ljubljana 2010||ELFA Resolution on “the Bologna Process”|
|Fribourg 2009||ELFA Resolutions on “Doctoral Studies Quality – Diversity International Cooperation”|
FAQ Bologna Process
1 – What is the Bologna Process?
The Bologna Process aims to create a European Higher Education Area by 2010, in which students can choose from a wide and transparent range of high quality courses and benefit from smooth recognition procedures. It is an attempt by the European Ministers with responsibility for higher education to bring some order into the large variety of degrees which exist, to make European higher education more compatible and comparable as well as more competitive and more attractive for Europeans and for citizens and scholars from other continents.
The three priorities of the Bologna process are: Introduction of the three cycle system (bachelor/master/doctorate), quality assurance and recognition of qualifications and periods of study.
Every second year the Ministers meet to measure progress and set priorities for action. After Bologna (1999), they met in Prague (2001), Berlin (2003) , Bergen (2005), London ( 2007) and in Leuven/Louvain-La-Neuve (May 2009).
2 – How many countries are participating?
The Bologna process has grown from 29 countries in 1999 to 45 today and one more country (Montenegro) joined in London.
The criteria for accession to the process are:
• being a signatory to the European Cultural Convention of the Council of Europe
• giving a clear commitment to the objectives of the Bologna Process and presenting a reform programme for the candidate country's higher education system.
3 – What is the current state of the process?
Good progress has been made in implementing the main Bologna reforms as will be demonstrated by the Bologna Stocktaking Report, presented to Ministers in London. This positive conclusion is supported by the Commission's Eurydice report "Focus on the Structure of Higher Education in Europe 2006/07 - National Trends in the Bologna Process". The three cycle system has been adopted by almost all signatory countries; most countries have an independent body for quality assurance; the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) has been made obligatory in most signatory countries and is most commonly used for both credit transfer and accumulation; the Diploma Supplement is a widespread measure. Additional efforts are needed in the field of lifelong learning.
4 – What were the main decisions in London?
Important decisions were taken in two main fields: quality assurance and the external dimension of the Bologna Process.
In London, Ministers welcomed the establishment of a Register of European Quality Assurance Agencies. The Register will assist in furthering the development of the European Higher Education Area by providing clear and reliable information about trustworthy quality assurance agencies operating in Europe. The Register will help to raise the visibility of European higher education and boost confidence in institutions and programmes within Europe and worldwide. The Register will list both national quality assurance agencies (members of ENQA, the European association for quality assurance in higher education) and agencies operating on a European or global scale.
The Register was specifically requested by Bologna Ministers in Bergen in 2005 as well as by EU Ministers and the European Parliament in a 2006 Recommendation.
The Register has been prepared by ENQA (the European association for quality assurance in higher education) and stakeholders from the higher education sector: EUA (European University Association) EURASHE (European Association of Institutions in Higher Education), ESIB (The National Unions of Students in Europe) with the support of the European Commission. The Commission is planning to provide start-up funding in 2007 and 2008.
A Strategy for the External Dimension of the Bologna Process
Ministers in London adopted an external dimension strategy "The European Higher Education Area in a Global Context". The strategy is a response to the growing need to ensure the visibility and openness of European higher education in the world, both vis-à-vis neighbouring countries and other continents. International contacts and mobility are increasing in numbers and intensity, and so is inter-university cooperation. The proposed strategy comprises a set of principles and activities in the fields of information, promotion, attractiveness competition, partnerships, recognition of qualifications and policy dialogue. The strategy is strongly connected to policies and programmes of the European Union.