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Cesaer’s statement on the bologna declarationCESAER’s Statement on the Bologna Declaration
This document expresses the views of the CESAER membership - views that are
consistent with those of most European engineering universities - on the strategic
questions surrounding implementation of the Bologna Declaration. These views
should be carefully considered by any organization involved in the
implementation process, and in particular by the European Ministers of
Education who will meet in May 2001 to determine objectives and
strategies for the next phase.
The BolognaDeclaration: Policy &Implementation
A. Recognition of European Engineering Universities in the Bologna
• The engineering universities of Europe form a sector of vital importance in
higher education that should be specifically represented in the councils that
determine the strategies and processes for the implementation of the Bologna
Declaration. Those strategies must take into account the mission, public and
professional responsibilities, and the way in which engineering universities
influence technological growth, workforce development, and ultimately the
• Engineering universities should be represented in discussions concerning
any regulations that may affect the mobility of students and graduates, and
recognition of their educational credentials. These are critical issues for
engineering universities, given their role in preparing competent and mobile
professionals for the employers and professions that are served, and ultimately for
• The process of implementation should have clear provisions for input from
the engineering universities of Europe on such issues as the level and
designation of degree programme, the competencies that graduates will possess,
selection policy, length of study, quality assurance, accreditation, and
• Budget and funding policies, at a national and European level, must
recognize engineering universities as a distinct class of institutions with
unique needs and potentials. Flexible systems and study grant regulations must
be devised to allow Bachelor’s-level graduates to continue in Master’s-level
course work, on either a full- or part-time degree basis, or to take individual
subjects for continuing professional development.
B. Considerations at the System Level
• CESAER supports the concept of undergraduate- and graduate-level
education, but it is noted that a single standard for the length of each phase
may not work in every system. The ability to compare study levels is most
important. Therefore, whatever the division of studies or names given to phases
or diplomas may be, the work should be described in a manner that permits
equivalencies and academic standards to be accurately determined.
• The concept of a standardized European Bachelor’s degree is in conflict
with the principle of academic diversity. Programme should be designed to
meet local and national needs according to international standards.
The ”Bologna” Bachelor’s degree should be viewed as part of an
continuum. Although a Bachelor’s-level graduate may choose to enter the labour
market, additional education will be required to achieve the competencies
associated with Master’s-level graduates or to meet the expectations of employers
for continuing professional education.
• Differences in national systems and secondary preparation should be
in a manner that preserves student mobility and enhances the likelihood of
academic success. The crucial pivot point lies at the conclusion of the Bachelor’s
phase; therefore, the competencies achieved at the end of that phase become more
important than entry qualifications. Rather than seeking to harmonize pre-
university preparation, the emphasis should be on producing readable and
comparable outcomes at each level.
C. Institutional Policies and Practices
• Institutional flexibility should be maintained or even encouraged.
European engineering universities should not be limited in their ability to
determine the areas of study in which Bachelor’s and Master’s programme will be
offered and the areas in which an integrated sequence leading to a Master’s
diploma is more appropriate, or in their ability to offer degree programme that
may have broad academic or more specific professional objectives. Any
designation of a Bachelor’s programme as the first part of a specific Master’s
programme should remain an institutional prerogative.
• European engineering universities should be free to determine their own
selection policies and procedures, in keeping with national, institutional, faculty
and professional standards, as well as market conditions. In turn, institutions
should ensure that students admitted to any given study programme are prepared
to achieve the level defined for a European university engineering Bachelor’s or
Master’s degree. The critical issue is that the entrance qualifications used by a
university should allow that university to provide education at such a level that
the students have a fair chance to obtain a final degree and to achieve the
competencies which are the goal of the education programme.
• CESAER views the ”European Space of Higher Education” as a
in which engineering universities should be able to freely compete for
students with all other post secondary institutions. To encourage mobility,
engineering universities should be able to enrol students who come from
Bachelor’s-level programme in higher professional schools for the second-cycle
or Master’s phase. In this scenario, an engineering university may require
additional studies, including a bridging programme, to ensure that each incoming
student is fully prepared to succeed in a university Master’s programme.
• Candidates for second-cycle, or graduate-level study programme should
present an appropriate Bachelor’s degree or documented equivalent course
work. The goal is not to obstruct, but to enable students to continue and to
succeed. In that spirit, an engineering university may have additional
requirements to overcome national or systemic differences in preparation, to
remedy individual deficiencies, or to maintain quality and meet professional
standards. CESAER notes that engineering accreditation agencies commonly
expect that students admitted to an advanced-level engineering programme will
have an acceptable engineering Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent.
D. Accreditation and Recognition
• The levels of education defined for the ”European Educational Space” must
take into account the specific needs and demands of engineering education,
including professional expectations. When defining levels, the diversity of this
sector must be recognized in terms of institutions, but more important, in terms of
the leadership roles that engineering graduates play in European business,
government and industry. CESAER supports the concept of accreditation as a
vehicle for quality assurance, cooperation and mutual recognition. Whatever
system is developed, it should respect the diversity of European engineering
education and preserve the ability of engineering institutions to respond to
• CESAER supports an outcomes-based approach to determining the quality
of study programme. European engineering universities should move toward a
approach and terminology for planning and documenting study programme, built
upon credible objectives and outcomes, assessments at the programme and course
level, and consequent efforts to improve. The need for, and feasibility of, a
diploma supplement should be investigated.
• CESAER believes that accreditation systems should be developed at a
national rather than a European level, with due regard to national educational
standards and quality assurance policies, the expectations of stakeholders, and the
exigencies of international recognition. Systems based upon shared principles
may differ in detail but still achieve the larger objectives of cooperation and
• The engineering leadership organizations of Europe must play a formal
role in any ”Bologna” discussions on accreditation. Accreditation principles
and processes for this sector must come from a cooperative effort of engineering
educators, employers and working professionals. CESAER can provide a forum
for discussion of the competencies or graduate profiles that may be translated into
• CESAER encourages further implementation of the European Credit
Transfer System (ECTS) mechanism among the engineering universities of
Europe. Using the ECTS format as a common base, faculties may need to add
information to facilitate the analysis and recognition of courses, such as course
objectives, outcomes, and the methods used for evaluation.
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