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The Bologna Declaration: Critical Notes - Part 1

COBAS UK | 29.11.2008 19:06 | Education | Repression | Social Struggles | Birmingham | World

After nearly ten yeas, the effects of the Bologna Declaration in shaping European Higher Education (HE) along neo-liberal lines are becoming evident

The Bologna Declaration: Critical Notes

An Introduction - Part 1

In so far as the Declaration affects the immeasurable tenets underpinning education at all levels “of knowledge” and personal growth, academic freedom social equality and cultural heritage and development, its effects are essentially disfiguring rather than reformatory or revolutionary in any popularly beneficial way. It uses rhetoric to blur its real focus on economic and neo-liberal ideological foundations of knowledge as opposed to the social and cultural.

Most alarmingly the declaration is an attempt at the appropriation and redefinition of education as a marketable and exchangeable commodity and a tool of capitalists. The hidden agenda of the declaration is to create an Higher Education System which enforces hegemony to an Anglo-American style European system of HE based on scientific supremacy and technology. The constituent cultures are implicated in a process of adaptation to the ruling dogma to ensure that they ‘appeal to other nations’ and thus ensure their ‘vitality’ and ‘efficiency’ are sufficiently rated according to criteria imposed by a neoliberal elite caste. It represents a truly colonial mentality towards all aspects of education; a mentality which renders education at the service of the capital colonialists who rely on the same education system to indoctrinate the masses of slaves and ensure their compliance in their own oppression.

The Declaration talks of an education system that must be reconfigured to acquire an international attraction equal to that of European and Scientific traditions. In doing so, the role of education at the root of such traditions is displaced. It is effectively reclaimed by the signatories entrusted with its control, as a system to be molded around economic needs and used to reinforce a neo-liberal cultural, economic and political hegemony across Europe.

Part 1 (to be continued)


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resistance to bolonia

30.11.2008 12:56

there is massive opposition to the bolonia process in spain. recently i was at a demo in a spanish city against it with approximately 4000 students on strike and many more demonstrations took place in other cities across spain

yet in the UK this monolithic process that will have extremely severe repercussions for students and society is practically unheard of. you turn on the radio and are told hey McDonalds qualifications have just been recognised by the state as higher education

maybe this is because many of the reforms have already been enacted up to a certain point in the uk given that the UK is leading the charge encouraged by large corporations. it is left to someone who knows more about this sort of thing to judge as i admit to being fairly ignorant of such matters. belows is translated (more or less badly) what has recently appeared in a spanish paper

reasons to revolt
1) the process is supposed to encourage students to travel to other EU states whilst at university although the institutional mechanisms are not in place to facilitate this

2) relevant qualifications will be attained after a uniform period of 3 years in an attempt to create standardized diplomas designed to cater for the needs of large corporations

3) with the time spent abroad deducted this period is likely to be reduced to 2.5 years

4) the process values the equalization of the means of and time spent studying across member states so that a years study in a german university is equivalent to that of 1 year in a french university- again a feature designed to please the corporation

5) content of courses must be standardized and made homogeneous across member states. this will reduce the autonomy of lecturers and course teams to be creative

6) the link between lecturing and research by professors and lecturers is to be severed. the teaching is to be on a purely professional basis involving the imparting of standard text to new pupils by former pupils. somewhat reminiscent of young Hexham in Dickens Our Mutual Friend who is taught the catechisms by his master and learns them so well that he can teach himself

7) universities will be split into large (where research can take place alongside teaching) and small (purely learning by rote)

8) the link between public research and public funding to also be severed. all research must be geared to benefit the private sector and so the corporation to be given a greater role in the finanacing of universities

9) private companies will establish the criteria by which universities are judged. this would enable a student who has achieved his qualification to spend the next year evaluating the universitys performance

10) the differentiation between universities of higher and lower grades will increase social inequality