University of Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN19 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 5196-5204
ISBN: 978-84-09-12031-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2019.1283
Conference name: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2019
Location: Palma, Spain
One of the flagships of the Bologna declaration (1999) and consequently of the creation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) was the aim of increasing (students and staff) mobility, comparability and intergovernmental and inter-institutional cooperation in order to promote European higher education (HE) internationalisation and modernization of (COM 2015). However, and although the literature referring to the Bologna process has been fruitful, it is still challenging to find consensus on how these processes, (staff) mobility, intergovernmental and institutional cooperation, have been developing and on its impact on the internationalization, globalization and even modernization of HE. Moreover, despite these buzzwords, often used interchangeably, have been addressed in the literature, there are several interpretations on their meaning. This paper attempts to enrich this discussion through a systematic literature review, showing how these processes have been approached in the literature under the Bologna process umbrella.

Which major political achievements are identified as being implemented in the EHEA? Which countries has the literature featured more in terms of (comparative) policy implementation in these last 20 years? Has the process triggered similar HE reforms in other countries besides the EHEA members? By other words, being the participation and cooperation of the signatory countries voluntary, which (political) mechanisms did the Bologna process used during these 2 decades that made it so visible and attractive at the global level? The authors aim to reflect upon these questions based on a systematic literature review using peer-reviewed-only material extracted from the Elsevier’s Scopus database. The choice to search only on this database, instead of broadening the search to the Thomson Reuters Web of Science (WoS, eg) database, lays on the fact that Scopus is the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature and it contains the most important journals in terms of our research topic (iit indexes 50% more journals in the social sciences than WoS, Carvalho & Queirós 2019). Moreover, focusing only in this database allows to simplify and tune the focus of our work, as previous research in both databases (Diogo 2016) evidenced the challenge to aggregate and make sense of the literature in this domain. We searched then combined expressions always attached with the term ‘Bologna process’, namely ‘policy implementation’; ‘HE modernization’; ‘intergovernmental cooperation’; ‘institutional cooperation’; ‘staff mobility’; ‘HE reform’ in articles and chapters on the “Social Sciences”, “Business, Management and Accounting” and “Arts and Humanities” areas. From the documents obtained, the literature was analyzed by identifying which other issues were discussed within the “Bologna umbrella” and how these have been approached. With respect to policy implementation, some references are made to the use of the Open Method of Coordination as a mechanism to promote coordination and commitment among the signatory countries plus multilateral conferences. Curiously, few results pop up using the expression ‘intergovernmental cooperation’ (only 4), and the focus range from legal aspects (Garben 2010) to challenges and opportunities associated with the internationalisation of education (Lebedeva 2017). Additionally, the literature also evidences a substantial increase in the popularisation of the process in non-EU countries
Bologna process, EHEA, intergovernmental cooperation, policy implementation, Higher Education.