Mechanisms of the Bologna Process
In basic terms, the Bologna Process is run at three levels: international, national, and institutional. At the international level, the initiative responsible for the development and coordination of the process is the Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG). BFUG was established during the 2001 Prague meeting of European Ministers to decide actions to be taken to reach the goals set for the Bologna Process and to monitor progress, and consists of representatives of countries participating in the Bologna Process. European Commission, the Council of Europe, the European University Association (EUA), the National Unions of Students in Europe (ESIB), European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE) and UNESCO Center for Higher Education (UNESCO-CEPES) are also included in BFUG as advisory members. The BFUG Board, established to support BFUG's activities in general, is responsible for ensuring the successful operation of the process, and monitoring and coordinating the implementation of the work schedule. A ministerial conference is held once every two years with the participation of ministers responsible for higher education in Bologna countries, to evaluate the progress made in the last two years and to identify the methods to be followed and the priority areas planned to be carried out in the next two years. The conference was held in Bologna in 1999, followed by Prague in 2001, Berlin in 2003, Bergen in 2005, London in 2007, Leuven in 2009, and Budapest in 2010. In addition, many seminars, meetings, and workshops under the name of “Bologna Seminars” are held in Europe on priority issues identified in ministerial conferences, objectives set in the final declarations of these conferences, implementation challenges, and establishing cooperation. At the national level, the Bologna Process is run by ministries responsible for higher education, national conferences/committes of rectors, national university associations, national student unions, quality assurance organizations, and employers' organizations, among others. At the institutional level, the Bologna Process is run by institutions of higher education, their faculties and departments, and representatives of student and faculty bodies.
Bologna Follow-Up Group – BFUG
The Bologna Follow-up Group, which consists of the representatives of Bologna Process countries and the European Commission, and includes as advisory members the Council of Europe, the European University Association (EUA), the National Unions of Students in Europe (ESIB), European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – Center for Higher Education (UNESCO-CEPES), was established by a decision taken at the 2001 Prague Ministerial Conference. BFUG is responsible for the development and coordination of the Bologna Process, and its main duties include making the decisions required to reach the objectives set for the process and to monitor progress. BFUG consists of a Board and a Secretariat. Ensuring the successful operation of the process, and monitoring and coordinating the implementation of the work schedule.
The duties of the BFUG Board, which was established to support BFUG's activities, are as follows:
- Providing the support required for carrying out Bologna activities;
- Assisting new members who aim to achieve the objectives of the Bologna Process;
- Coordinating the activities required for the preparation phase of current situation assessment;
- Creating Working Groups consisting of experts on specific issues raised by BFUG members and/or BFUG;
- Supervising and managing the preparations for the next ministerial conference; BFUG can delegate certain powers to the Board if it deems them appropriate and necessary to achieve the objectives of the Bologna Process. However, official decisions remain the purview of BFUG.
Duties of the Secretariat:
- Carrying out the work required for organizing the next Ministerial Conference
- Carrying out the tasks assigned by BFUG and the Board, and
- Carrying out tasks related to the implementation of the Work Schedule under the supervision of BFUG and the Board.