Work programme of the Bologna Follow-Up Group 2003-2005

Conference on Public Responsibility for Higher Education and Research

Bologna Seminar Strasbourg, France 23/09/2004 - 24/09/2004

Approximately 80 participants from 36 countries and a number of organisations participated in this seminar organised by the Council of Europe. General Rapporteur was IAU Secretary General Eva Egron Polak.

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Recommendations were addressed to public authorities in States Party to the European Cultural Convention and some directly to Ministers in Bergen:

Public responsibility for higher education and research should be understood as a multidimensional concept that includes the establishment and maintenance of the required legal infrastructure, elaboration of policy, provision of funds and the further development of the social dimension, to meet current and future needs of the Knowledge Society.

Public responsibilities should be exercised throughout the European Higher Education Area with due regard for the need of higher education and research institutions and systems to act freely and efficiently in the pursuit of their mission.

For universities to meet society’s requirements for research and respond to public interests, public authorities must provide adequate funds and, together with the research community, design policies to regulate conditions under which private resources can best be used.

To respond to increased pressure for cost-sharing in higher education, public authorities should stimulate further research and debate on the impact of different instruments such as tuition fees, student grants, bursaries and loans etc. on aspects such as equality of opportunity, system efficiency, social cohesion and public funding as a basis for future action.

Public authorities should ensure that appropriate bridges exist between higher education and the world of work. Such bridging includes a coherent qualifications framework at national and European levels, transparent mechanisms for recognition of qualifications and quality assurance, and two-way information flows between the labour market and higher education.

Public authorities should establish cost-effective quality assessment mechanisms that are built on trust, give due regard to internal quality development processes, have the right to independent decision-making and abide by agreed-upon principles.

Recommendations to the Bergen Ministerial Conference:

  • Ministers were asked to affirm their commitment to making equal opportunity in higher education a fundamental building block of the European Higher Education Area. They were asked to undertake actions that will allow the development of systemic and institutional responses to enable all individuals to realise their full potential.
  • Ministers were also asked to acknowledge that funding, motivating and stimulating the development of higher education and research is as important a part of public responsibility. Ministers were asked to stimulate a comprehensive analysis of various approaches that would lead to increased funds for higher education and research, meeting equity, effectiveness and efficiency objectives as well as those of quality and autonomy.

Building a Knowledge Society that is democratic, inclusive, equitable and competitive is a shared responsibility in which an examination of the responsibilities of public authorities must be completed by an analysis of the public responsibility of all other stakeholders. Participants urged that such corresponding analyses be undertaken as well.

Source: General Report to the Bologna Follow-Up Group to the Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Higher Education - Bergen 19/20 May 2005
Bologna Process between Berlin and Bergen

Related documents

Public Responsibility for Higher Education and Research - Strasbourg 2004

  • Recommendations

Presentations, in order of appearance

  • The public responsibility for higher education and research, Professor Luc Weber
  • The public responsibility for higher education and research: a review of the economic literature, Professor Alain Schönenberger
  • The context – trends in society and reflections on public responsibility, Dr. Aleksander Shishlov
  • Preparation for the labour market, Guy Haug, European Commission
  • Public responsibility for information on higher education, Johan Almqvist, President of ESIB
  • The contribution of higher education and research to the knowledge society, Professor Paolo Blasi
  • Public responsibility for research and access to research results, Professor Jaak Aaviksoo
  • New trends in higher education, including new providers, Professor Stephen Adam
  • Framework/quality/provision vs. regulation, Professor Roderick Floud
  • Equal opportunities, Professor Júlio Pedrosa
  • Financing, Dr Carlo Salerno
  • Higher education for a democratic culture – the public responsibility, Professor Pavel Zgaga

Other documents

  • Programme in English
  • Programme in French
  • Collection of synopses of presentations at the conference
  • "Are Higher Education and Academic Research a Public Good or of Public Responsibility? - Review of the Economic Literature", by Alain M. Schoenenberger
Published: 23/09/2004 - Last modified: 20/10/2016
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