Implementation of the Bologna process is making good progress in Germany, according to a new government report. The transformation of courses into bachelor and masters programmes is said to have been largely completed – with positive impacts including greater mobility, access and graduate employment.
The Bologna process is intended to make academic degree and quality assurance standards more compatible across Europe while boosting performance, the desired result of the process being a European Higher Education Area (EHEA) with greater mobility and better achievement, also on an international scale.
The Bologna Declaration was signed in Bologna, Italy, in 1999 by ministers of education from 29 European countries.
According to the latest government report, 85% of the more than 15,000 degree courses in Germany have now been transformed into the new bachelors and masters programmes that the Bologna reforms require. This compares to 75% three years ago.
Mobility appears to be on the increase, with every third graduate now having been abroad to study for a certain period, more than a quarter of these graduates for over three months.
Also, access to higher education has improved. Now, master craftsmen, technicians and business administrators can enrol for a university course without an abitur, the certificate of higher secondary education normally required.
The report also points to surveys showing that graduates have good prospects on the labour market.
Interviews with bachelor graduates from 2007 and 2008 revealed that just 4% from universities were still unemployed after 18 months, and 6% from fachhochschulen, or universities of applied science. These figures were even more favourable than those for holders of the traditional degrees, the diplom and the magister.
“The Bologna reforms have resulted in much-needed structural changes in higher education that are preparing us for the future,” said federal Minister of Education and Research Annette Schavan.
“Here, I would above all refer to the growing demand for skilled staff, progressive internationalisation and increasing participation in higher and continuing education.”
Never before have so many people started studying in Germany, with 515,800 first-year students enrolling in 2011.
“More and more abitur holders, but also people without this traditional qualification, as well as large numbers of applicants from abroad, are starting to study here. This is a sign of the attractiveness of our higher education system and the popularity of the bachelor and masters degrees,” Schavan commented.
The report was compiled by the federal government and the Conference of State Ministers of Cultural Affairs, with the support of the Rectors’ Conference, the German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD, the accreditation council, the student union fzs and the trade union and employers’ associations.
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