The Bologna Process

The Bologna Process was a Europe-wide movement involving 48 national higher education systems, including Ireland. The process was designed to enhance the quality of higher education across Europe, the mobility of students, and the employability of graduates. The process started in 1999 and ended formally in 2010, resulting in the creation of the “European Higher Education Area”.

For an overview of the Bologna Process and all associated conferences, publications, declarations, etc., please see

The main areas of impact in Ireland over this period, and which remain important for innovation and quality in learning and teaching, include:

  • The introduction and implementation of a National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ);
  • The Irish NFQ is referenced to an overarching European Qualifications Framework so that Irish qualifications can be recognised internationally for the purposes of further study and employment;
  • Curriculum and assessment reforms, including the widespread use of a “learning outcomes approach”. Rather than focus on the inputs to the learning and teaching process, this approach focuses on what the student is expected to know, understand and be able to demonstrate after completing a process of learning. For examples of recent work by the Irish universities in this area, please see the publications by the IUA/NQAI Framework Implementation Network;
  • Quality assurance and enhancement;
  • Enhanced access, transfer and progression for students within the Irish education and training system including international mobility.