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Bologna Process

What is The Bologna Process?

The Bologna Process was created to bring more consistency to higher education systems across Europe. It established the European Higher Education Area, which aims to make higher education more inclusive and accessible and to increase its attractiveness and competitiveness worldwide. This process involves harmonizing academic degree standards and quality assurance standards for each faculty and its development throughout Europe. The name “Bologna Process” comes from the Bologna Declaration, which was signed in 1999 by ministers of education from 48 European countries in the Italian city of Bologna.

The Bologna Process has had a significant impact on higher education in Europe. It has helped to create a more cohesive higher education system, making it easier for students and staff to study and work across borders. The process has also contributed to the recognition of qualifications across Europe, making it easier for students to transfer credits and pursue further education in different countries. In addition to harmonizing degree standards and quality assurance, the Bologna Process has also encouraged innovation and modernization in higher education. It has encouraged universities to adopt new teaching methods and to focus on developing practical skills, making graduates more employable. The Bologna Process has also led to increased collaboration between universities across Europe. Joint degree programs and research partnerships have become more common, allowing students and staff to benefit from a wider range of expertise and resources.

Overall, the Bologna Process has been successful in achieving its goals of creating a more inclusive, accessible, and competitive higher education system in Europe. It continues to evolve and adapt to meet the changing needs of students, universities, and employers.

As part of the European Higher Education Area, all participating countries agreed to:

  • introduce a three-cycle higher education system consisting of Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral studies;
  • ensure the mutual recognition of qualifications and learning periods abroad, or completed at other universities;
  • implement a system of quality assurance, to strengthen the quality and relevance of learning and teaching.

Why is The Bologna Process Important

Under the Bologna Process, European governments engage in discussions regarding higher education policy reforms and strive to overcome obstacles in creating a European Higher Education Area. Bologna reform is key to building the necessary trust for successful learning exchange, cross-border academic cooperation, and the mutual recognition of study periods and qualifications earned abroad. Enhancing the quality and relevance of learning and teaching is also a core mission of the Bologna Process. Implementation of these reforms is, however, uneven across the 48 participating countries.

The Bologna Process also provides a forum for dialogue with neighboring countries regarding higher education reforms and questions related to shared academic principles, such as the independence of universities and the participation of students in civil society activities. It has become an important space for soft diplomacy with neighboring countries in the Western Balkans (except Kosovo), Eastern Partnership countries, and many other countries.

What is a Credit System?

The Credit System is a systematic way of describing an educational program by assigning loans to each of its components. Identification of loans in the higher education system can be based on various parameters, such as the student’s load, learning outcomes, and the amount of classroom load. The Credit System at universities is a unit of measurement that determines the length, depth, and difficulty level of a course. Each degree has certain credit requirements attached to it, and students enroll in different courses to fulfill the credit requirement of students’ degrees. Each of the IEU, Ukraine – Malta Campus courses also has certain credits assigned to them.

What is ECTS?

The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) is a system developed for the benefit of students and is based on determining the student load that is needed to achieve the goals of the program. It is necessary to refine these goals, namely the results of learning and acquired skills. The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) is a tool designed by the European Higher Education Area to make studies and courses more transparent, help students move between countries, and have their academic qualifications and study periods abroad recognized.

Why Students Need ECTS

ECTS simplifies understanding and comparison of the curricula for all students (domestic and foreign). ECTS stimulates exchange and academic recognition. It helps universities to organize and review their curricula. ECTS can be used for different curricula and forms of study. This system makes obtaining higher education in Europe more attractive to students from other continents. One of the main reasons for earning ECTS credits is to help students transfer between universities. The ECTS system is also designed to help students study abroad (e.g. an exchange semester at a different university) and apply for further study (like a Master’s or PhD). This system is especially useful for international students who want to study in Europe and need to transfer credits from one university to another. The ECTS system provides a standard measure of student achievement across European higher education institutions and facilitates mobility, allowing students to study in different countries and institutions.

What are the Main Features of ECTS?

  • ECTS is based on an agreement that 60 credits represent the full-time student’s load during the academic year. In most cases, the student’s full-time load in Europe is 36/40 weeks a year, and in those cases, one load is equal to 24-30 working hours. Load refers to the approximate time required by the average student to achieve the required learning outcomes.
  • Credit is also a way to transfer the learning outcomes quantitatively. The last one is the set of skills that they must know, understand, and be able to complete, regardless of the training program cycle duration. ECTS credits can be obtained only after the completion of the required work and the corresponding assessment of the results of learning.
  • The distribution of ECTS credits is based on the official duration of the training program cycle. The total load required for a bachelor’s degree, which requires 3-4 years of study, is equal to 180-240 credits.
  • Students’ load in ECTS includes time spent listening to lectures, seminars, self-study, preparation, examinations, etc.

Credits are distributed across all educational components of the training program (modules, disciplines, internships, thesis, etc.) and reflect the amount of work required to accomplish each component due to the total number of required work to complete the full year of study in this program. Students` success is characterized by local/national assessments. Additional ECTS assessments are desirable, especially if you want to transfer your loans. The ECTS scores students on a statistical basis. The distribution of assessments among students who received an assessment above the unsatisfactory course is as follows:

A — the best 10%;

B — the next 25%;

C — the next 30%;

D — the next 25%;

E — the next 10%.

For unsuccessful students, there are FX and F estimates. Between them, there is a difference that FX means: «did not perform any part of the work necessary to obtain an assessment above unsatisfactory», and F: «did not do all the necessary work.» The inclusion of FX and F estimates in decoding evaluations is optional.

The grading system of the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) is important for several reasons. Firstly, the ECTS grading system provides a common, transparent, and internationally recognized way to assess and compare students’ academic achievement across different countries and universities. This is particularly important in Europe, where there are many different education systems and grading scales. The ECTS grading system allows easy recognition and comparison of academic achievements, which is essential for improving student mobility, international cooperation, and recognition of qualifications.

Secondly, the ECTS grading system encourages student mobility and makes it easier for students to transfer credits earned at one university to another. The system ensures that credits earned at one institution are recognized and valued at another institution, making it easier for students to continue their studies in different countries, and for universities to accept students from other institutions. Thirdly, the ECTS grading system provides universities with a tool for quality assurance and improvement. By using a common grading system, universities can compare their academic standards and performance with other institutions and identify areas for improvement.

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