Bologna and Beyond: A Critical Reflection on the Ends and Means of the Bologna Process

Zovko, Marie-Élise (2011) Bologna and Beyond: A Critical Reflection on the Ends and Means of the Bologna Process. In: Fortschritt? Studia Philosophica Iaderensia. Wehrhahn Verlag, Hannover, pp. 195-232.

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A closer examination of EU policy on research and higher education ("education and training" ) reveals that it is built upon certain unquestioned assumptions, assumptions which appear to be not only inconsistent, but directly at odds with both the convictions and principles set out in the Magna Charta Universitatum and the original tenets of any democratic reform. A critical reflection on these assumptions and the unexplored issues they raise is indispensable for an intelligent appraisal of the ends of the Bologna Process and the means by which they are to be achieved. Three inherent weaknesses of EU policy on education and research, fundamental to the success or failure of the Bologna Process, are considered: neglect of the humanities by EU policy on education, training, and research ; absence of effective writing practice and instruction from EU strategy ; loss of perspective regarding the purpose and usefulness of credit hour as an instrument of measurement and standardisation of academic achievement. The study, interdisciplinary study and cultivation of human values, the humanist tradition and hence of the humanities is shown nevertheless to be vital to the formulation of effective policy on education and research, if these are not to fall into the circulus vituosis of pursuit of competitiveness for the sake of competitiveness (economic gain) alone – a goal not only self-contradictory in itself, but also not in keeping with the human rights and values. Writing is shown to be the basis the basis not only of civilisation and culture itself, but also of complex problem-solving and argumentative ability, and hence of advanced learning ability as a whole, advancement of knowledge, and innovation, as well as of civil governance, participatory democracy, peaceful conflict resolution, and, ultimately, social cohesion and quality of life. Finally, it is argued that the ECTS, by its tendency to become an end in itself, in its purely quantitative capacity, is threatening to stifle genuine educational reform, by inhibiting and/or prohibiting ongoing revision of the structure and content of programs of study, as well as the individualisation, interdisciplinarity, cooperation, and innovation essential to the advancement of knowledge and the participatory nature of the democratic process itself. In its attempt to quantify aspects of learning which in themselves are not quantifiable or measurable, the ECTS effects a transformation of the original meaning of the credit-hour which is not justifiable, since it disregards qualitative differences of individuals, denying them the recognition and nurturing of their unique abilities and their individual human dignity which is their basic human right. Both the unique abilities and the dignity of every human individual must be taken into account, however, if highest standards of excellence in the advancement of knowledge and research achieved

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Depositing User: Maja Šoštarić
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2014 11:04
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2021 11:47

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