Go back

Bologna process is undemocratic, says LSE researcher

A scientist at the London School of Economics has slammed the creation of the Bologna Process for being undemocratic and elite, in a blog entry dated 11 April.

The Bologna declaration, which is meant to harmonise higher education in Europe, came into being at “an elite party” outside the EU’s institutional framework, thus escaping the Union’s democratic checks, EU law researcher Sacha Garben says on the LSE’s blog.

“There was hardly any parliamentary involvement or public consultation, and many reforms were rushed through in only a few years,” the researcher writes. “Although governments proudly speak of Bologna’s bottom-up approach, what they mean is that they are happy that the state is in full control as opposed to supranational rule-making.”

The Bologna declaration was signed in 1999, launching a broad reform to create a harmonised European Higher Education Area beyond the EU’s borders. Today, the Bologna process involves 47 countries.

Garben adds that the Bologna reform has contributed to an increased “marketisation” of higher education.

“Bologna, with its emphasis on employability of graduates, economic competitiveness, and academic autonomy (meaning less meddling of the government but probably also less funding), and Lisbon/Europe 2020 that actively promotes university links with the business community, financial independence, efficiency and employability, are important facilitators of that development,” she writes.

The Bologna Process has introduced the Anglo-Saxon bachelor/master degree system across Europe, a reform that has not been without criticism from countries in Southern Europe, France and Germany.