What is the EHEA? - Open University of Catalonia (UOC)

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Bologna process (EHEA)
European Higher Education Area

What is the EHEA?

Bologna Process

In June 1999, the Ministers of higher education of 29 European countries signed the Bologna Declaration, which lays down the fundamental principles in order to create the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).

The EHEA mobilises a change in teaching methods which focus on the student’s learning process and it promotes improvement in the quality and international competitiveness of higher education in Europe, so that European university degrees may increase in mobility and recognition.

With a view to creating skilled and competent professionals, a programme or degree in the new EHEA framework is not only defined according to a prescriptive list of core, optional and free-elective subjects that have to be studied. Now the degree is established as an education project of the university that proposes it.

There are currently 46 European states, participating in the EHEA. Apart from EU member states, these also include countries from the European Free Trade Association and countries from Eastern and Central Europe.

Principles of the EHEA

The Bologna Declaration lays down the fundamental principles in order to create the European Higher Education Area, divided into four principles as follows:


  • Quality. Criteria and methodologies which are comparable among countries are established to evaluate quality in order to ensure the quality of the studies and degrees issued by the different European education institutions. Sharing criteria and methods promote mutual trust between institutions and it facilitates degree recognition.


  • Mobility. The aim is to remove barriers and make it easier for students, teachers and administration staff in European universities and higher education institutions to perform their academic and professional activity in other education institutions and in other countries.
  • Diversity. This does not involve implementing a unique, uniform and homogenous education system in the whole of Europe; it is to make the systems of the different countries transparent and comparable.
  • Competitiveness. European citizens will have to be able to receive a higher education that makes them competent in their profession while allowing them to be competitive in the labour market of a globalised world, taking into account the level currently offered by countries outside of Europe, such as the United States.