ERG SES H 06, Policies and Education
In the past decades, the European integration and the Bologna process have established a framework in the Hungarian higher education scheme by which institutions define their strategic internationalizing objectives and activities. Since the launching of the Bologna process in 1999, internationalization has become one of the main policies in higher education in the European countries (Hrubos, 2010). Besides the Bologna process, the European integration, the higher education reforms of the European Union developed new policy solutions in the European Higher Education scheme. The history of the Bologna Process and the European Union has been closely connected, especially since the introduction of the Lisbon Strategy in 2001 (Halász, 2012). Since its inception, the central element of the Bologna model has been the strengthening of international student mobility, and the focus also has been on bringing higher education institutions together in Europe and beyond (Hrubos, 2010).
Since Hungary signed the Bologna Declaration in 1999, the country is an active member country of the process (www.ehea.info). From the beginning of the 2000s, there have been significant policy interest to adopt the Bologna model in Hungarian higher education scheme (Hrubos, 2010). The introduction of a common qualification framework (3-cycle system), the European Credit Transfer System, the student-centered teaching and learning principles, and the quality management system have brought new challenges for institutions of higher education. In Hungary, the introduction of the Bologna model and the massification in higher education occurred in this same period which had a decisive influence on Hungarian universities (Hrubos, 2010). As a result of the developments of the last decades, Hungarian universities have faced major structural and strategic challenges. These changes have resulted in significant transformations in the governance, the organization, and the scope of the higher education institutions’ international and national, domestic missions and activities (Kováts-Temesi, 2018).
The paper shows the goals and central elements of the transnational policies which have had a decisive influence on higher education in Hungary in the last decades. The presentation will examine the history of the Bologna process and its implementation within the Hungarian higher education scheme. The paper will focus on student and teaching staff mobility which have had the central element of the Bologna process from the beginning. In 2009, the Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve Communiqué – declared by Ministerial Conference and adopted by Bologna countries since 2012 – defined a new strategic goal related to student and staff mobility (www.ehea.info). The goal aimed to increase mobility with a specific target: by 2020, at least 20 percent of those graduating in Bologna countries would have pursued higher education abroad. This goal was adopted by Hungary as well (www.ehea.info).
The research questions addressed in this paper will be:
• What are the goals and central elements of the Bologna Process?
• What are the main steps of its implementation in Hungary? Is there a shift of emphasis over this period, especially in the last years?
• What challenges could be identified in the implementation of the Bologna Process, especially in the adoption of Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve Communiqué in Hungary?
The paper shows the results of one of the main stages of the doctoral research project. The aim of the doctoral research is to examine how international and national initiatives, programs concerning internationalization can influence the policies and practices on the institutional level in Hungary. The research phase addressed in the paper presentation used qualitative methods for data collection. Besides the review of literature about the Bologna process and the recent higher education reforms in Europe, the research examines policy documents produced by the Bologna process by the qualitative research methods such as document analysis (Bowen 2009) and discourse analysis (Bacchi, 2012). The discourse analysis used the approach of interpretive policy analysis by Bacchi (2012). The research perspective focuses on the question of what problems are represented in a specific policy, on the way policies represent policy ʻproblemsʼ and what the main characteristics of the representation of the problems. The methodology consists of six questions: 1. “What is the problem represented to be in a specific policy?” 2. “What presuppositions or assumptions underlie this representation of the problem?” 3. “How has this representation of the problem come about?” 4. “What is left unproblematic in this problem representation? Where are the silences? Can the problem be thought about differently?” 5. “What effects are produced by this representation of the problem?” 6. “How/where has this representation of the problem been produced, disseminated and defended? How could it be questioned, disrupted and replaced?” (Bacchi, 2012) The Bacchi’s approach to policy analysis supports the researcher to pay greater critical attention to the transnational policies in the higher education settings. The approach applied in analyzing the role of transnational policies in adult education (Milana, 2012). The policy documents analyzed in the research: • the policy documents produced by ministerial conferences, • policy documents produced by Bologna Policy Forums, Bologna Follow-up, and Board Meetings, • Bologna Process implementation reports and Bologna Process Stocktaking Reports, and • National reports. The policy documents are available on the website of the European Higher Education Area (www.ehea.info).
The study argues that the Bologna Process is essential in defining the strategic goals and activities of institutions of higher education in Europe and beyond. Comparing the national approaches to the implementation of the Bologna model helps to understand the differences and similarities between nations in the adoption of the model. The paper gives insights into the implementation of related national, Hungarian policies, the impact of these policies on the universities’ strategies and activities and the factors that affect these processes. The study illustrates how the Bologna process could react to the various problems identified on the international and national level over a period of time. The research identifies the key problems relating to student and staff mobility based on the policy documents produced by the Bologna Process. The student and staff mobility were selected for two reasons: first, the student mobility has been the central element since the inception of the Bologna process, and second, the international student and staff mobility is a well-documented phenomenon on the various levels.
Bacchi, Carol (2012). Introducing the ‘What’s the Problem Represented to be?’ approach. Bletsas, Angelique and Beasley, Chris (ed.): Engaging with Carol Bacchi: Strategic Interventions and Exchanges. Retrieved from: https://www.adelaide.edu.au/press/titles/engaging/engaging-ebook.pdf Bowen, G.A. (2009). Document Analysis as a Qualitative Research Method, Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 9(2): 27-40. Halász, Gábor (2012). Az oktatás az Európai Unióban - Tanulás és együttműködés. [Education in the European Union – Learning and Collaboration] Budapest, Új Mandátum Könyvkiadó. Hrubos Ildikó (2010). Bologna folytatódik. Educatio. 2010. 3. 19 – 33. Kováts, Gergely & Temesi, József (2018). A magyar felsőoktatás egy évtizede. 2008-2017. Nemzetközi Felsőoktatási Kutatások Központja, 2018, Budapest. Milana, Marcella (2012). Globalisation, Transnational Policies and Adult Education, International Review of Education, 58. 777 – 797.
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