THE BOLOGNA PROCESS: A SOURCE OF INTERNAL REFORMS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
AbstractThe European university education passes through a fundamental change in last decades. Economic integration processes project into life of particular states, nations. In the second half of the 20th century, is searched a way to intensify a role of the European universities with their rich tradition in the interest of increasing Europe prosperity and competitiveness in the whole world framework. Fundamental ideas of the Bologna process are pure, easy and tolerance in principle. We can divide them in basic, initial (i.e. understandable and comparable system, two main levels/cycles – bachelor and master, creation and implementation of the ECTS, support of student and academic staff mobilities, cooperation in quality assurance, enforcement of European dimension), and extension (lifelong learning, diploma supplement, European qualification framework incl. national frameworks, doctoral education as the third level, interconnection of EHEA and ERA, joint degrees, quality standards and their implementation). Since the half of 90th of last century in the Czech Republic, has grown the number of students at particular universities, increased the number of universities and their faculties; the offer of tertiary education has been extended with number of non-university private higher schools and higher professional schools markedly. The reached higher level of education is a positive trend, if this aspect is regarded in general. However, we must see also a validity of the Gaussian distribution in connection with an population ability in education area. And more, a decrease of university education would be in direct discrepancy with understanding education as a competition advantage, as a necessary condition of dynamic growth of society welfare. The creation and implementation of the ECTS belong to initial ideas of the Bologna process. One of the most important functions – the education quality assurance – is closed implicitly among its three basic functions (allocation, cumulativeness, and transferability). A key question stays the providing desired learning outcomes and acquirement of needed competencies to be a graduate of a study programme, respectively a study specialisation. In certain sense, the learning outcomes and acquired competencies are inseparable. We could speak on the learning outcomes as competency holders. The Dublin descriptors, created in the Bologna process for a coordination of higher education, as well European Qualification Framework play an important role at competency determination. The ECTS, including definition of learning outcomes and relevant competencies, are getting a needful part of an approach of each academic staff to teaching. The Prague communiqué challenges universities to develop study programmes, which combine academic quality and permanent employability. A divergence from “academic” to pure “professional” education could mean as a result an increasing rate of flexibility and adaptability regarding deficiently wide education potential of a person. Economic, as well social consequences of such a situation are obvious. The European Commission sees the modernisation of the European universities as a way leading not only to the EHEA creation, but too the ERA creation. In this sense, the universities present an enormous potential, which can contribute markedly to strengthen competitiveness of the European economic area.
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