The Berlin Conference 2003

The key issue of the Conference in Berlin on 19 September 2003 was higher education as a public good.

 The social aspect of the Bologna Process was reaffirmed. Ministers emphasised the fact that in international academic cooperation, academic values should prevail. Ministers agreed that efforts should be made to secure closer links and synergies between the European Higher Education area and the European research area in each country to strengthen the basis of the Europe of Knowledge.  The conference dealt with several issues: progress was registered and future prospects were outlined.

Objectives of the 2003 Berlin Conference

The main objectives summarised in the final communiqué of the Berlin Conference were:

  • the realisation by 2005 of national Quality Assurance  systems
  • the adoption in all European Union countries of the two cycle system
  • promotion of mobility and of the portability of national grants
  • ensuring that ECTS credits become not merely a transfer system, but also an accumulation system
  • students graduating as from 2005 should receive the Diploma Supplement automatically and free of charge
  • student participation at different decision levels and appropriate studying and living conditions for students
  • promotion of the European dimension in higher education in order to promote the development of integrated study programmes and joint degrees at first, second and third level
  • promoting the attractiveness of the European Higher Education Area for non-European students (also though scholarships)
  • Implementing Lifelong Learning programmes

As can be seen there are a lot of issues to tackle and despite the progress registered the obstacles to the achievement of the objectives fixed in the declaration in 1999 are often difficult to overcome.  For this reason there is a need for constant monitoring and unremitting efforts to achieve the scheduled goal of 2010.
The next meeting will be in Bergen in 2005.
The journey begun inBologna some years ago continues.