Giorgi, a colleague, enlightened me about the Bologna Convention today. I had never heard of the Bologna Convention before today and when he told me about it, I thought it was a great idea.
The process that kickstarted in 1998 with the Sorbonne Declaration is an attempt to get most of the European Higher Education system on the same page by 2010.
This would mean that across Europe (I am told that the US has shown interest in joining too) all schools would try and achieve equivalence of credits, curricula and calendars. This would make it easier for students to move between universities and seek jobs more easily within the EU.
Indirect benefits of this will be:
1. Greater diversity in classrooms across the EU.
2. Universities that have fallen behind in keeping with the pace of change would probably get their act together and come up to a common minimum standard acceptable to all.
3. Students would be able to cheery pick the best courses at the best faculties across all universities in the common area- this would again put pressure on universities to become more contemporary to remain competitive.
I am assuming that an important policy decision would be to strive for a common language of teaching across Europe as well. While universities would continue to teach in national language, English would have to be offered as a common language in order for this integration to be successful. It’s not much help allowing students to move from Sweden to Italy to study in classrooms where they don’t understand the language.
Read more about the Bologna convention and it’s timelines here.