Bologna and the Social Dimension

The Bologna Follow-Up Group published the 2015 Bologna Process Implementation Report.
It explains the stage of implementation of the “Bologna”-style degrees and qualifications as well as the progress achieved in recognition and Quality Assurance Systems in comparison between countries. Chapter 4 is dedicated to the Social Dimension: Gender and migration background as well as parental education background are mentioned as categories for which most countries can offer data. In addition, the policies of widening access and participation are compared, recognition of prior learning, alternative access routes and student services are explained for the EHEA as well as the current fees and financial support structures. The following chapters are dedicated to Lifelong Learning Policies, Effective Outcome and Employability as well as Internationalisation and Mobility.

I am happy to see that e.g. in Internationalisation and Mobility, the social dimension is mentioned as a criteria to describe what the countries do e.g. in supporting ALL students to have an international experience. However, I wonder if we should not take the term “Social Dimension” more seriously and, instead of dedicating a chapter to this issue, dedicate a chapter in each of the other sectors: How is the Social Dimension implemented in Quality Assurance processes? What role does it play in Lifelong Learning (and shouldn’t that be related to the whole Access and Participation discussion?). Even more important: Do we gain the same outcomes and employability effects for all our students, or does the Social Dimension play an unsavory role?

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