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A.S. García Muñiz, B. Moreno Cuartas

University of Oviedo (SPAIN)
The world higher education consists of a highly diverse set of national higher education systems. Debates about the diversity of higher education institutions and educational systems quality have increased during the last years.
In 1999, European higher education institutions accepted the challenge in constructing the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) under the fundamental principles laid down in the Bologna Magna Charta Universitatum. Since then, the ongoing reforms have had a strong impact on how European higher education relates to higher education in the world. Many universities in Europe have accepted the process of harmonization associated to EHEA as inevitable (Nóvoa, 2002, Ahola and Mesikämmen, 2003) and other world countries follow the Bologna process with attention (Pavel Zgaga, 2006).
In this work, we analyze the main features of educational systems to rate their similarity and evolution during the last years. The statistics for the monitoring of the social dimension and mobility of the Bologna Process provide by Eurostat are employed with this finality. The information about study framework, student, staff, effective outcomes and employability allows us monitoring the progress not only in EHEA countries and other world countries but along the time. A multivariate technique has been applied to systematize this information. Multidimensional scaling procedure (MSD) has been conducted in order to group the countries together in specific configurations based upon the selected educational indicators. The results of key education indicators are compared in 2001 and 2005. The multivariate outcomes show a harmonization tends in the European Higher Education Area with a three European countries groups in 2005. The differentiation is also minor for the rest of countries. A deeper explanation of obtained clusters is gathered.