The overarching aim of the Bologna Process is to create a European Higher Education Area (EHEA) based on international co-operation and academic exchange that is attractive to European students and staff as well as to students and staff from other parts of the world.


The envisaged European Higher Education Area will

  • facilitate mobility of students, graduates and higher education staff;
  • prepare students for their future careers and for life as active citizens in democratic societies, and support their personal development;
  • offer broad access to high-quality higher education, based on democratic principles and academic freedom.

The Bologna Process is named after the Bologna Declaration, which was signed in the Italian city of Bologna on 19 June 1999 by ministers in charge of higher education from 29 European countries. Today, the Process unites 48 countries – all party to the European Cultural Convention and committed to the goals of the European Higher Education Area. An important characteristic of the Bologna Process – and key to its success – is that it also involves European Commission, Council of Europe and UNESCO-CEPES, as well as representatives of higher education institutions, students, staff, employers and quality assurance agencies.

Bologna (2010-2013)

With the Budapest-Vienna Declaration of March, 2010 came the creation of a European Higher Education Area, designed to ensure, pre comparable, compatible and coherent systems of higher education in Europe. The creation of the EHEA meant the culmination of the main aim of the Bologna Process. Consequently, since 2010, the next decade of the Process will be aimed at consolidating the EHEA and thus the current EHEA permanent website will play a key role in this process of intense internal and external communication.

Compendium of Projects 2011-13

The compendium of National Teams of Bologna experts’ projects (2011-2013) has been published on the Executive Agency.

Ireland: Progress to date

Irish Bologna Experts

The purpose of the National Teams of Bologna Experts is to provide a pool of expertise in certain areas (Bologna action lines; Lifelong learning strategy as part of the Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs) to promote and enhance progress toward higher education reform. The National Teams will make sure that the relevant actors involved in Higher Education on a national level will benefit from the pan-European nature of these reforms.

Irish Bologna Experts (July 2011-December 2013)

  • Dr. Eileen Buckley-Dhoot, Academic Director, Dublin Business School
  • Dr. Michael Hannon, Registrar, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Frank McMahon, former Director of Academic Affairs, Dublin Institute of Technology
  • Professor Sarah Moore, Dean of Teaching and Learning, University of Limerick
  • Colm Murphy, Deputy President, Union of Students in Ireland
  • Professor Bairbre Redmond, Vice-Principal for Teaching and Learning, University College Dublin
  • Dr. Norma Ryan, Director, Quality Promotion Unit, University College Cork

International Seminar, London 18-19 November 2010

Ireland was one of six countries to participate in a UK organised seminar on the theme of “Recognition and the Bologna Process through engagement with Employers” held in Croydon, London in November 2010.

The Seminar is one of a series of Actions funded by the European Commission to bring together Erasmus National Agencies and Bologna Experts from a number of countries to discuss, in depth, themes arising from the Bologna Process, to increase understanding and to assist dissemination, not only in the Higher Education sector but in the wider community.

This Seminar focused on ‘Recognition’, which is a central theme within the Bologna Process. It explored relations and interaction between Higher Education and employers in order

  • to develop greater mutual understanding and more effective communication;
  • to identify significant differences as well as shared objectives in the development of curricula
  • to promote a more explicit approach to the articulation of learning outcomes, skills and competences
  • to improve the information provided about these to a wider public.


Participants came from six countries – Estonia, Germany, Finland, Ireland, Slovenia, and the UK – and consisted of Bologna Experts, employers’ organisations, students, representatives of National Agencies and NARICs. In total there were 28 participants.

Diploma Supplement

The Europass Diploma Supplement is issued to graduates of higher education institutions along with their parchment and transcripts of results. The Diploma Supplement provides additional information regarding the award which is not available on the official certificate such as the skills and competences acquired, the level of the qualification and the results gained, and entry requirements and access opportunities to the next level of education etc. This makes it more easily understood, especially for employers and institutions outside the issuing country. The Europass Diploma Supplement was developed jointly by UNESCO and the Council of Europe.

EQF Newsletter


QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland) is a state agency established by the Quality Assurance and Qualifications (Education and Training) Act 2012 with a board appointed by the Minister for Education and Skills.

Its functions are an almagamation of those previously carried out by the Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC); the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC); the Irish Universities Quality Board (IUQB) and the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI).

These include, but are not limited to:

  • The maintainance of the ten-level NFQ (National Framework of Qualifications).
  • Functioning as the awarding body and set standards for awards we make in the NFQ.
  • Validating education and training programmes and making extensive awards in the Further Education and Training sector, including in the Education and Training Boards.
  • Providing advice on the recognition of foreign qualifications in Ireland and on the recognition of Irish qualifications abroad.
  • Reviewing the effectiveness of quality assurance in further and higher education providers in Ireland.
  • Acting as the authorising body for the use of an International Education Mark (IEM) for providers.

Weblink: Quality and Qualifications Ireland

Qualifications Frameworks


NAIRTL – the National Academy for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning is a SIF funded collaborative project between University College Cork (lead partner), Cork Institute of Technology, National University of Ireland Galway, Trinity College Dublin and Waterford Institute of Technology

The National Academy works with Irish higher education institutions to develop and implement policy and practices aimed at enhancing the student learning experience at both undergraduate and graduate level. The Academy supports institutions through investigation and dissemination of national and international examples and models of good practice.