22 SES 05 A, Higher Education Governance and the Bologna Process
The Bologna declaration signed in 1999 and its implementation in the different countries during the first decade of the 21st century generated profound transformations, regarding the structure of the degrees offered within higher education institutions as well as its links with social and economical dynamics. These trends might be transversal to the different countries but assume various configurations considering the diversity of European higher education. In the case of southern European countries, it must be remarked that the final stage of Bologna is being reached when the debt crisis has emerged and introduced profound changes in the economical and political contexts of at least certain areas of Europe.
Within this context, this paper’s overall goal is to contribute to deepen knowledge and reflection about the changes taking place in European higher education following the Bologna reform. Being so, the papers’ focus is on student transitions and graduate employability in Portugal, drawing mainly on data from a specific public university in Lisbon. Additionally, trends identified at national and European levels, described in research literature and in reports from international organizations (Eurydice, 2014; OECD, 2013), are also taken into account.
It should be noticed, on the one hand, that a significant concern with the employability of higher education graduates has been identified as central in the Bologna script (Stiwen & Alves, 2010). On the other hand, changes in the degree structure introduced following the implementation of the Bologna reform configure a different context to the transition of graduates between education and work (Alves, 2013). These issues are quite emphasized within the public and policy debates about higher education in Portugal, as well as in other European countries.
In fact, it is generally recognized in contemporary societies that transitions between the education system and the labor market are increasingly common in different stages of the life cycle of individuals, as well as it is not uncommon that these transition become uncertain and unexpected. According to authors such as Jarvis (2009) and Bélanger (2011) transitions are currently far from being fixed and exceptional, since they occur more frequently and at different times, framing biographies that are becoming a succession of life transitions
Therefore, the paper’s general intention is to understand which changes can be observed in the transitions between university and work after the Bologna implementation. More precisely the following research questions will guide the analysis: Do higher education graduates enroll in post-graduation degrees more frequently after the Bologna reform? What types of employability patterns are observable comparing the graduates’ trajectories that have finished their degrees before and after the Bologna reform? Do higher education students tend to work while studying more frequently after the Bologna reform? Are there variations in the trends identified according to the level of the degree, namely whether graduates have finished a first-degree, a master or a PhD?
Alves, M. G. (2013). Higher Education and Work - Transitions framed by time and space. In J. Seified, & E. (. Wutke, Transitions in Vocational Education (pp. 223-242). Opladen, Berlin, Toronto: Barbara Budrich. Bélanger, P. (2011). Theories in Adult Learning and Education. Opladen & Farmington Hills: Barbara Budrich Publishers. Routledge. European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice (2014). Modernisation of Higher Education in Europe: Access, Retention and Employability 2014. Eurydice Report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Jarvis, P. (2009). Learning to Be a Person in Society. London and New York: Routledge. OCDE (2013). How successful are students in moving from education to work? In Education at a Glance 2013: Highlights. OECD Publishing Stiwne, E. E., & Alves, M. G. (2010). Higher Education and Employability of Graduates: will Bologna make a difference? European Educational Research Journal , 9 (1), 32-44.
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