Work programme of the Bologna Follow-Up Group 2001-2003

Tuning Educational structures in Europe

Logo Tuning Educational Structures in Europe

Tuning Educational structures in Europe was a pilot project with two phases (2001-2002 and 2003-2004) by and for higher education institutions supported by the European Commission in the framework of the Socrates programme.

It has developed into a Process, an approach to (re-)designing, develop, implement, evaluate and enhance quality first, second and third cycle degree programmes.

Content for Bologna Expert - 31/05/2002
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The university response to the Bologna Process through Tuning

The Bologna process addresses not only national governments, responsible for the education systems in their countries. The process also addresses the higher education sector, the individual universities, their associations and networks. Many universities have started preparing Bologna reforms in their institutions before being obliged to do so by their governments.

In fact, the European universities have declared at their Convention in Salamanca in March 2001 that:

European higher education institutions recognise that their students need and demand qualifications which they can use effectively for the purpose of their studies and careers all over Europe. The institutions and their networks and organisations acknowledge their role and responsibility in this regard, and confirm their willingness to organise themselves accordingly within the framework of autonomy.
Higher education institutions endorse the move towards a compatible qualification framework based on the main articulation in undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

In the summer of 2000, a group of universities took up the Bologna challenge collectively and designed a pilot project called "Tuning educational structures in Europe". With the help of the European University Association (EUA) and the national Conferences of Rectors, the group of participants was widened. The European Commission was asked for a grant in the framework of the Socrates programme to support the project, which was granted in the winter of 2000- 2001.
The Tuning project addresses several of the Bologna action lines and notably the adoption of a system of easily readable and comparable degrees, the adoption of a system based on two cycles and the establishment of a system of credits. The Tuning project contributes also to the realisation of the other Bologna action lines.

More specifically, the project aims at identifying points of reference for generic and subject-specific competences of first and second cycle graduates in a series of subject areas.
Learning outcomes are described in terms of competences: what a learner knows or is able to demonstrate after the completion of a learning process. This concerns both subject specific competences and generic competences, like communication skills and leadership. University staff, students and employers have been consulted on the competences they expect from graduates.
Competences are described as points of reference for curriculum design and evaluation, not as straightjackets. They allow flexibility and autonomy in the construction of curricula. At the same time, they provide a common language for describing what curricula are aiming at.

Furthermore Tuning has developed a model for designing, planning and implementing curricula offered within one institution, or, jointly, by two or more institutions.

Tuning educational structures in Europe - Executive summary
Julia González and Robert Wagenaar, Joint project co-ordinators - December 2003
Source: Tuning Educational Structures in Europe - Executive summary

The European Commission contribution (2001-2002)

Tuning is an university initiative proposed by universities, coordinated by Universities of Deusto (Spain) and Groningen (the Netherlands), and have supported through the Socrates programme (European Commission).

The Tuning project addresses several of the Bologna action lines, notably:

  • Easily readable and comparable degrees
  • Adoption of a system of two cycles
  • Credit transfer
  • Quality assurance
  • Life long learning

The European Commission is actively supporting the Bologna Process and have set out their own Action plan "from Prague to Berlin - the European contribution". It have proposed specifc measures regarding:

  • Credits for life long learning
  • European Masters
  • Quality Assurance

Tuning Educational structures in Europe : from Prague to Berlin, the EU contribution
by Viviane Reding, member of the European Commission responsible for Education and Culture
Opening address at the Tuning Closing Conference - Brussels, 31 May 2002

The goals of the initial Tuning project

Important developments are taking place in the European labour market, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the Bologna process is determining quite fundamental changes in the Higher Education sector and the educational systems at large.

Intensive debates are going on concerning the educational structures as well as the ways study contents are organised and offered, but actual exchange of opinions between foreign institutions does not really seem to take place on an issue that is of European-wide relevance.

The political decision underlying the Bologna process implies that convergence between the different educational systems in Europe will occur with the necessary adaptation of curricula in terms of structures, contents as well as the phrasing of competencies or learning outcomes as a starting point.

The ‘TUNING’ Pilot project aims at pooling together and capitalising on available experience and recent developments in several of the Member-states and a number of study areas, particularly from previous and on-going European co-operation in the context of the Socrates programme.

European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) has been facilitating mobility and recognition of study periods abroad, but there is the need to evolve towards a European credit accumulation and transfer system, which will enable to measure workload and the adaptation to the new and dynamic configurations of the labour market and its requirements in terms of learning outputs (professional profiles and needs of society).

The Pilot project aims at enabling European universities to make a joint reflection and debate on these issues, enabling comparative analysis, building upon their experience and conferring a European dimension to the undertaking. It focuses on five Pilot groups, which are representative of university studies and methodologies in general and which regard the areas of : Mathematics, Geology, Business, History and Educational Sciences.

Tuning Launching Conference - Brussels, 4th May 2001
Source: Informations about the Tuning project on the University of Valencia website

Published: 31/05/2002 - Last modified: 18/05/2016
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The Tuning Process

Initiated by european universities in the context of the Bologna Process, the Tuning objectives and methodology are now used at local or regional levels in different continents.

Official website

Phase II - Closing conference

The Tuning Education Structures in Europe - Phase II closing conference was held in Brussels on 21 May 2004.

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