S. Bendl

Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Education (CZECH REPUBLIC)
The Bologna Process can be seen as a result and a follow-up of several European conferences as well as certain political decisions leading to the creation of so called European space of tertiary education. It represents the most extensive and systemic reform effort in the field of European tertiary education. When it comes to the Bologna Process some authors write about a paradigm shift in university education.

In its introduction the paper describes aims of the Bologna Declaration and provides a brief characteristic of the Bologna Process. In the following part it deals with critical feedbacks towards the Bologna Process. Even though the scale of reservations towards the Bologna Process and its implementation into tertiary education sector is quite large, the Bologna Process also has its supporters who emphasize some of its positive aspects.

The Bologna Process is very complex and internally contradictory. It has its critics and supporters, its weak and strong points. The objective evaluation of the Bologna Process and its implementation is highly complicated, because individual participants of this process (signatory countries, universities, tertiary education institutions, academic staff members) have different motives for their involvement in this European project and they also assess its impacts on the field of tertiary education differently. The possibility of the objective evaluation of the Bologna Process is even more complicated due to the fact that it is sometimes difficult to positively determine whether the Bologna Process was actually behind some of the changes in the system of tertiary education, its organization and content of studies in individual institutions, which are usually automatically associated with the Bologna Process.

The aim of this paper is to identify controversial points in the evaluation of the Bologna process. We try to point out (sometimes) unjustified criticism of the Bologna Process, i.e. claims, opinions, wrong beliefs and such situations, in which the Bologna Process is blamed for something it is in fact not responsible for. These “controversial points in evaluation” are for the purpose of this paper organized into seven groups. Besides, it turns out that the Bologna Process works as a catalyst for other reforms of tertiary education sector which are unrelated to the Bologna Process itself. On the other hand, some positive changes in the field of tertiary education would have probably happened even without the Bologna Process.

Apparently, the Bologna Declaration and/or the Bologna Process do not in itself represent “pure evil”, but rather it depends on how individual signatory countries approach this process, and how they implement its aims and principles into their tertiary education sector. Also, it depends on whether and how they take into account specific conditions of their education systems, including traditions and financial possibilities.