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Australia and the Bologna process

The April issue of the ACA Newsletter Education Europe reported on a consultation paper released by the Australian Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) which highlighted the importance of the Bologna process and its effects on Australia’s and global higher education. The paper stressed the importance for Australia to maintain alignment with developments in the European higher education sphere. The DEST invited all the relevant stakeholders to provide input.

ACA’s Australian associate member, the Australia’s vice-chancellors committee (AVCC) responded that it is important that Australia understands the changes taking place in Europe and engage in a dialogue about its implications for the country’s higher education. AVCC added that, however, it is equally important that any engagement with Europe through the Bologna process does not affect the diversity of the Australian university system nor its cooperation with countries around the world.

AVCC recommends that DEST:

  • confirm that the term “alignment” means “comparability” of education systems;
  • base any engagement with the Bologna process on the precepts of university autonomy, flexibility and diversity;
  • undertake a risk analysis of both the potential risk of losing European market share and the risk of losing market share in the Asia Pacific region;
  • consider the repercussions of a potential engagement with Bologna on resources, professional courses, research and the Australian Qualifications Framework;
  • consult further with universities to see whether doctoral programmes should include interdisciplinary training and the development of transferable skills;
  • identify the costs and demands on universities of any comparability with the Bologna process;
  • analyse the benefits and costs of widespread adoption of ECTS;
  • undertake discussions with Asia-Pacific governments to determine if these countries are looking at implementing the Bologna structure, or if they intend to adopt a model more aligned with the USA/Canadian one;
  • undertake an analysis of the European and Australian labour mobility trends.
AVCC Response to Bologna Process Discussion Paper