Furtherance of Bologna Promotion in Croatia
Background of the project
Background of the project
The need for Bologna promotion occurs on three different levels: European Higher Education Area (EHEA), Croatian national level and the university level.
1. The Bologna Declaration was signed by EU Countries in 1999. To insure the achievement of Bologna goals the Bologna Follow-Up group was formed. This group promotes the European concept of High Education (HE) and networking. At the end of year 2004 national Bologna Promotion Teams were established and started with the Bologna promotion activities.
2. In May 2001 Croatia signed the Prague declaration and by this Croatian HE institutions have been officially included into the Bologna process.
Croatian Parliament adopted the new Act on Higher Education and Research in Croatia in 2003. The Act is based on Bologna Declaration and it promotes European dimension of HE and we highlight three innovations related to the Bologna process:
- The implementation of Bologna process in Croatia becomes a legal obligation, the deadline for the introduction of the appropriate study scheme being the academic year 2005/2006.
- The development of binary system (with vocational studies organized separately by higher schools and polytechnics) has to be completed by 2010.
- The development of the QA including the Agency for HE, and the national network of QA offices and committees at HEIs.
In December 2004, Croatian Bologna Promotion Team was established and with the significant help of the SCM Tempus project Cro4Bolgna promoted different aspects of Bologna process in Croatia. During last year 4 seminars on different Croatian universities were held and around 550 participants were attending these seminars. Besides that, two publications – booklets on mentioned Bologna related questions were edited.
The aspects that were covered in abovementioned project life cycle were: Bologna cycle system, quality assurance (QA) in HEIs, role of students, possibilities of joint degrees, mobility etc. The primary target groups were: academics, students, ministry staff and authorities, journalists and at the end the whole community.
In this academic year all Croatian HEIs were renovating their curricula according to the requirements of Bologna process and national Act. The activities of Bologna Promotion Team played a significant role in the process of transformation. Nevertheless, after the analysis of last year activities and collecting opinions of different stakeholders, connected to Bologna reform, some new aspects of Bologna process that have to be covered, were identified: postgraduate studies, research policy at university and its connection to teaching, socio-economic and cultural aspects of Bologna reform, QA system, recognition of diplomas, qualification framework, employability, mobility in European programs, assessment of ECTS etc.
Furthermore, there is a great need to turn more towards the target groups outside academic community, such as professional organizations, employers, future students. At the same time we will not neglect academic teachers, staff and students.
In general, all abovementioned points contribute to the QA in HE, as well as, to putting the HE in Croatia in its economic and social context and EHEA.
In September 2005, Croatia started the negotiating phase for joining EU and in this process the chapter for Education and Research was the first to be analyzed. The special emphasis is made on successful Bologna reform and introduction of European HE standards, QA in HE as well as in connecting the HE sector to industry and labor market in general.
3. The Croatian universities show different stages of progress towards Bologna, but generally the first phase of introducing the Bologna system has been started at all of them. Now is a proper time for making a shift in focus of Bologna process, since until this year the reform was concerned mainly with ECTS and structure of the study and just sporadically taking into account qualitative side of the reform. Because of all these facts, systematic activities (seminars, individual consultations, round tables and promotion through electronic media and newspapers) of Bologna Promotion Team together with joint promotion work with employers can influence attitude toward the Bologna process in general community and speed-up quality changes. Actions provided by this project are complementary to objectives of Tempus UM_JEP-18094-2003: Moving Ahead with the Bologna Process in Croatia.
The proposed project meets Croatian SCM Tempus priorities in both points: Introduction of QA in HE and General introduction of the ECTS system.
With this project address the following needs:
• Croatia joining EHEA and successfully integrating in EU during the negotiating phase
• Croatian HE is connected to the labor market and contributes to economic competitiveness
• Staff development for Bologna reform at the Croatian HE institutions
• Capacity building for QA at all levels at Croatian HEIs
• Engaging the professional organizations, employers and other stakeholders in evaluating
and influencing Bologna process in Croatia
• Benchmarking and networking Croatian HEI with their EU partners.
The short-term intervention available within Tempus SCM can help in solving the above-mentioned needs and further financial and logistic support of the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sport will assure sustainability of work of the Team after the Tempus support stops.