Bologna process: Recognition of qualifications must go hand in hand with academic freedom and institutional autonomy


At the upcoming Ministerial Conference of the Bologna Process countries, which will be held on 19 November 2020 in Rome, 48 ministers will adopt the Rome Communiqué which sets the main goals and challenges of the Bologna Process for the next decade.  In preparation of the ministerial meeting, ETUCE which is a consultative member of the Bologna Follow-up Group, the promoter of the Bologna Process, interviewed high-level representatives and experts of higher education and research trade unions on their views on the Bologna Process.   

Alessandro Arienzo (FLC-CGIL Italy) represents ETUCE in the Working Group on the Lisbon Recognition Convention, established by the Bologna Follow-up Group. In the interview he underlines the key role of the Lisbon Recognition Convention within the Bologna Process and the importance of the recognition to guarantee academic freedom and institutional autonomy in higher education.The Lisbon Recognition Convention was established in 1997 by the Council of Europe and the UNESCO to assure the recognition of qualifications among different European states and enhance the integration of the education systems. The Lisbon Recognition Convention was signed by 57 countries, and it works to establish policies and the legislative framework for the mutual recognition of qualifications.   

While significant progress has been made to enhance cooperation among countries, the European Union should enhance this cooperation process and provide tools and support to speed up the recognition of the higher education degrees. From a trade union perspective, academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and the discrepancy between recognition of titles and the learning outcomes are important issues to be tackled.