Bologna process and new opportunities for cooperation

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1 Bologna process and new opportunities for cooperation Riitta Pyykkö Professor, Chair of the Finnish Higher Education Evaluation Council Saint Petersburg 6 February 2008

2 Bologna Process in Finland (1) Finland signed the declaration in Bologna 1999 not the first and definitely not the last reform facing Finnish HEIs, but implementation of the process differed from previous reforms the situation in Finland in the beginning of the reform: already familiar with the two-cycle (Bachelor-Master) degree structure and a credit system > were able to utilize the process in many other ways 2

3 Bologna Process in Finland (2) the Ministry of Education concentrated on the preparation on legislation, changes required by the Universities Act and the new Government Decree on University Degrees practical implementation work was delegated to the universities a natural division of labour; encouraged the universities to commit themselves to the reform work 3

4 Bologna Process in Finland (3) the Ministry allocated project funding for the process practical implementation was organised in national field-of-study-specific coordination projects the Ministry named the coordinators, who had free hands to organise their own projects > projects of different size, operation models differed from each other 4

5 Bologna Process in Finland (4) starting point: not merely a structural reform in order to be meaningful for the universities, a structural reform requires a reform of curricula (in Finland no State standards!), and implementing a reform of curricula requires pedagogical reform functions of the field-specific task forces: 1) to prepare and formulate the new degree system and, 2) to support the development of curricula in the faculties 5

6 Bologna in Humanities task force formed of members (12) with as varied expertise as possible: represented one university each, but also different disciplines and post categories; two student members meetings at each university in turn for the teachers and students: presentation and discussion three national thematic seminars dissemination of information: progress report December 2003, final report December 2004 (recommendations to the faculties) open and comprehensive discussion at all stages 6

7 Bologna Process in Finland (5) from 1 August 2005: a new degree structure ( ) and new curricula transition period for the students who have started their education before 2005: until the end of July 2008 (in some fields: 2010) The Bologna reform has been a huge challenge and an opportunity for the development of the general formulation of curricula and for reforms that should have been implemented in any case. 7

8 Challenges and opportunities in the Finnish-Russian Cooperation: Different but Equal? the national context in general in Finland the HE system is quite stable (although a structural development process going on) all universities (so far) government-run no fees, universities select their own students, annual intake quotas a national higher education and innovation policy traditionally a society of mutual trust, universities responsible for their activities 8

9 Different but equal? (2) the degree structure in Finland: Bachelor (180 ECTS, 3 years) Master (120 ECTS, 2 years) Doctor (4 years) curriculum development: in Finland faculties responsible, no State Educational Standards degrees mostly discipline based: major discipline minors + language and communication studies from 2004 also separate Master Degree Programmes (about 125 programmes, mostly thematic, multidisciplinary, taught in English) 9

10 Different but equal? (3) the credit system from Finnish marks to euros : a national credit system from the end of 1970s ( study week = 40 hours of student work load) ECTS = 1/60 of the annual input of 1600 hours of work by the student = 27 hours Credits based on learning outcomes and/or student workload? EQF and/or National qualifications frameworks? 10

11 Different but equal? (4) starting new education university has the right to start new education in the fields mentioned in the appendix to the Government Decree on University Degrees for starting to offer it in other fields, the university has to apply to the Ministry for changes in the education responsibility for starting a separate Master Degree Programme, the university submits a proposal to the Ministry the Ministry gives annually an amendment to the Decree on Master s Degree Programmes most new openings now in the form of MDPs 11

12 Different but equal? (5) quality assurance of HE in Finland universities by law responsible for the quality of their work; must evaluate their education and other activities and their effectiveness universities shall take part in external evaluations; findings of evaluations must be published evaluation policy based on development and improvement approach the steering system also highlights the role of evaluation HEIs now building QA systems that cover all their activities; will be audited by FINHEEC 12

13 The Finnish Higher Education Evaluation Council (FINHEEC) the national quality assurance agency an independent expert body assists universities, polytechnics and the Ministry of Education in matters relating to evaluation governed by a Government Decree (1995) 12 members, appointed by the Ministry member of ENQA organises audits of quality work, institutional, programme and thematic evaluations; provides advisory and consultant services; develops evaluation methodology; disseminates good Finnish and international practices 13

14 Different but equal? (6) Why auditing (not accreditation)? promotes the independence and diversity of the HEIs is a flexible evaluation tool shows confidence in the HEIs own operation Aims of audits to evaluate how the HEI s QA system works as a quality management and improvement tool to evaluate the QA system with regard to the audit criteria (Audit manual in line with ESG, Bergen 2005; see to highlight strengths and good practices to give development recommendations 14

15 From challenges to opportunities there are differences in the national context and the national solutions between the Bologna countries we need mutual recognition of the quality of our partner institutions better knowledge of the HE systems in other countries is a prerequisite of improving the comparability and recognition, of common understanding and mutual trust) 15

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