January 2010

  • Send
  • Subscribe


Bologna 2010. And then what?

Josep Anton Ferré Vidal - Director of AQU Catalunya

Since the Act on the Universities of Catalunya (2003) was approved, the Catalan university system has been fully immersed in the process of adapting itself to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). Now that the transition is coming to an end, we can say that the adaptation of our degree standards to the EHEA has been basically marked by three anomalies.

The first one is that it has been sought to take advantage of this impetus to tackle other educational reforms which, aside from whether or not they are more or less appropriate or expedient, do not really form part of what we have called the Bologna Process. Other countries that are not in Europe have carried them out and some countries that are located geographically in Europe have not done so. It's not that we shouldn't have introduced these educational and methodological reforms, but rather that we had too much work to do at one time. Allow me to compare this situation to a personal experience: at home we had to change an old bathtub, something which could be finished quickly enough, but while we were at it, we decided to take advantage to change the wall tiles, which we didn't like... so now we have had the tile layers at our house for three whole weeks!

The second anomaly, which I may describe with a proverb, is that we were invited to put the cart before the horse, that is to say, to programme the first master's degree standards before the bachelor's degree standards. The ensuing chaos has been overcome with more or less success, depending on the skill shown by the persons in charge of the degree standards on facing this challenge. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that, generally speaking, a good job has been done on the design of the new degree standards, even though we will have to wait for the natural flow of the new graduates towards the master's degrees to see which of these degrees will prove attractive enough to continue to form part of the universities' offering.

The third anomaly, which still exists, is Decree 1393/2007 on the planning of official university studies, which limited the authority of AQU Catalunya in the degree standard verification phase. Even though I believe that the most important phase in the quality assurance of degree standards is the monitoring of the process, it is surprising – and it adds complexity to the traceability and monitoring of degree standards – that an agency such as AQU Catalunya, which is not only internationally acknowledged but which had already carried out the verification of degree standards with great success, cannot carry out this function with the normality that would be desirable. We hope that this dysfunction will be resolved as soon as possible.

So now what will we do? AQU Catalunya is working on the revision of the Plan of activities 2010 with the aim to focus it along six lines of action: the quality assurance of teaching, the quality assurance of teaching staff, proactivity in the generation of knowledge in the field of the quality of the universities, internationalisation, the strengthening of the strategic management of quality processes and the suitable adaptation of their internal organisation so as better to serve these objectives. The Agency has the mission of anticipating the new scenarios that are being considered and of playing a dynamising role in all that is addressed to the improvement of the Catalan university system. AQU Catalunya must become an even more useful agency, one that meets the needs of its immediate area and that is likewise internationally significant. Training, research and innovation are motors of growth of a country, and in times of crisis they are even more necessary. The Agency stands and will continue to stand beside the institutions of higher education for the purpose of promoting the quality of the Catalan university system.


Generalitat de Catalunya

Via Laietana, 28, 5a planta 08003 Barcelona. Spain. Tel.: +34 93 268 89 50

© 2010 AQU Catalunya - Legal number B-21.910-2008