ERG SES C 08, Education and the Bologna Process
It is argued that a reform is a result of successful educational systems elsewhere, which is absent in a given country and which if introduced will improve the education system of a given country (Grek 2009). The European Bologna Process has become a model for change in other countries and regions of the world beyond Europe, including Africa, (World Education News and Reviews (2007) from which lessons are learned, and templates borrowed (Crosier and Parveva 2013). This could probably explain why the Bologna Process has been referred to as a global phenomenon (EDSLR 2008) and considered the “most extensive and successful example of policy transfer in education ever” (Dale and Robertson 2012). This paper examines the adaptation of the Bologna Process bachelor’s masters and PhD degree structure and the credit system in the Cameroonian higher education system. It is worth stating here that Cameroon is adapting the Bologna Process under the LMD system which in French means license, master et doctorat).
Cameroon provides an interesting case to study how the Bologna Process is informing reforms in other countries outside of Europe. Known as the republic of Cameroon, Cameroon is located between West and Central Africa. The country is divided into 10 regions, eight and two of which are French and English speaking respectively. The bilingualism of Cameroon is informed by its colonial past; its dual colonization by the French and the British. Upon independence, the country retains both French and English as its official languages and the French and English traditions are visible in its educational system, as seen in its dual degree structure and grading system (Doh 2007, 2008). Prior to the Bologna Process; there were attempts to harmonize the dual degree structure of the Cameroonian higher education system in favour of the Anglo-Saxon bachelors, master’s and PHD without success (ibid). This study shows the conflict and the power struggle that a bilingual system of education can undergo when confronted with policies or models from a single tradition.
The specific questions to be answered are
1. How is the Bologna Process degree structure adapted in the Cameroonian higher education system and what factors inform the adaptation?
2. How is the Bologna Process credit system adapted in the Cameroonian higher education system and what factors inform the adaptation?
3. Do the traditions on which the universities are built influence the adaptation of the degree structure and the credit system?
4. What kind of interpretations do the adaptation of the degree structure and the credit system lend themselves to in the Cameroonian higher education system?
This paper uses educational policy borrowing as its theoretical framework to show that educational policy borrowing is not all about learning and understanding and making a direct copy and implementation of models and policies that work elsewhere in education (Phillips and Ochs 2003, Steiner-Kamsi 2002, 2004) but it is also about a reinterpretation and adaptation of the borrowed model to suit the local realties of the borrower country (Steiner Khamsi 2002, phillips and Ochs 2003). This means that educational systems have a level of consciousness in terms of the major practices, models and opportunities in the world and they try to find a way to interpret them in their local contexts. The implementation of a borrowed model reveals the transformations and adaptations borrowed policies undergo within the context of the borrower country which can depend on a number of contextual factor (ibid). Thus, this study is an attempt to examine some of those contextual factors that inform the adaptation of Bologna Process degree structure and the credit system in the Cameroonian higher education system.
Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in Psychology. Qualitative research in Psychology, 3, 77-101. Crosier, David and Parveva, Teodora (2013). The Bologna Process: Its impact on higher education development in Europe and beyond. Paris: UNESCO: International Institute for Educational Planning. Retrieved on January 27, 2013 from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002206/220649e.pdf Dale, R., and S.L. Robertson. (2012). Towards a critical grammar of education policy movements. In Steiner-Khamsi, G. and F. Waldow, eds. Policy borrowing and lending in education. USA and Canada: Routledge. Doh, Pascal. (2007). Harmonisation in higher education: Case of the French and British bicultural system in Cameroon. Master’s Thesis in Higher Education. Institute for Educational Research, University of Oslo. Doh, Pascal. (2008). Global integration policies versus institutional dynamics of higher education. European Education, 40(1): 78–96. EDSLR. (2008). The Bologna Process in Africa: A case of aspiration, inspiration, or both? Retrieved at http://globalhighered.wordpress.com/2008/05/25/the-bologna-process-a-case-of-aspiration-and-inspiration-in-africa/ Grek, Sotiria. (2009). Governing by numbers: The PISA ‘effects’ in Europe. Journal of Education Policy 24 (1), 23-37. Holstein, J. and Gubrium, J. (2004). The active interview. In Silverman, D. (ed.), Qualitative research theory, methods and practice. London,SAGE publications. Libreville Declaration. (2005). Creation of the CEMAC space for Higher Education, Research and Professional Training. Libreville, Gabon. Phillips, D. and K. Ochs. (2003). Processes of policy borrowing in education: Some explanatory and analytical devices. Comparative Education, 39(4): 451–461. Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2002). Re-framing educational borrowing as a policy strategy. In M. Caruso, ed. Internationalisierung: Semantik und Bildungssystem in Vergleichender Perspektive. Frankfurt/M: Peter Lang, 57–89. Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2004). Globalization in education: Real or imagined? In G. Steiner-Khamsi, ed. The Global Politics of Educational Borrowing and Lending, 1–6. New York: Teachers College Press. World Education News and Reviews. (2007).The Bologna Process beyond Europe, Part 1. Retrieved from http://www.wes.org/ewenr/07apr/feature.htm. Yin, R.K. (1989). Case study research: Design and methods. Newbury Park Ca: Sage Publication.
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