Bergen Conference (2005)

Bergen Conference

Overview: In May 2005, the Bergen summit of education ministers took place in Norway. Their key move forward was the design and adoption of an "overarching framework" of qualifications for the European Higher Education Area (EHEA)

Signatories: Five new countries became signatories to the Bologna Process at this ministerial meeting of Bologna Accord signatories: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. These organizations also joined as consultative members: EI (Education International), as representative of the trade unions; UNICE, the employers' association; and the ENQA (European Association of Quality Assurance). Thus, a total of forty-five members were now taking part in the Bologna Process.

Mission, Goals, and Achievements: All the participants declared that they shared a common understanding of the Bologna Process and a commitment to its mission, principles, and objectives as they were expressed in the Declaration itself and in communiqués that followed from the Education Ministerial Conferences in Prague and Berlin. They also determined to formalize and adopt "an overarching framework of qualifications for the European Higher Education Area," based on three degree cycles, with . The ministers also adopted descriptors for each of the three cycles, including general descriptions (the Dublin Descriptors) for each cycle based on learning outcomes and competences. Drawing on studies undertaken by a group of national experts, they established general credit ranges in the first and second cycles. They also recognized that intermediate qualifications within cycles should be possible, such as Foundation Degrees, within the individual educational framework of the participating nations. The ministers stressed the importance that national autonomy in education; however, the member countries need to strive to have their systems generally conform to the overarching framework for EHEA qualifications by 2010. Finally, they stressed that the needs of economically disadvantaged students should be better address and that more emphasis on lifelong learning was needed to ensure a well-qualified workforce within the EU. Process reports on the these priorities were scheduled for the upcoming London Conference, May 2007:

  • Implementation of the standards and guidelines for quality assurance agreed upon in Bergen
  • Implementation of national frameworks for qualifications
  • The awarding and recognition of joint degrees, including at the doctorate level
  • Allowing for flexible learning paths in higher education, including procedures for the recognition of prior learning