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Wednesday, 28 September 2005

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Joseph Haslam

The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice has referred to Belarus as the "last true dictatorship in Europe.”

The President Alexander Lukashenko is an authortarian former farm manager who rose to power on an anti corruption platform. The 3,700 word biographical profile on the presidential website includes “reform of education” as one of his aims.

Pavel Kudrautsau returned to Minsk following his IMBA in 2004. He told me that he is “the only representative of the Johnson&Johnson Medical division in Belarus”. Rather my job than his.

Juan Freire

Unfortunately, the "Bologna effect" will be restricted due to differences among countries in the intensity of the transformation. For many countries, Bologna is becoming only a formal change but not a real one: thay adapt their structure to the bachelor+master model and make a transformation from "hours" to ECTS, but they don't change the teaching philosophy to the Bologna model.

At least, this small change will favour mobility of students (and I hope this will increase competition among countries and inside countries).

The only cosmentic change is more evident in sothern Europe probably because heavy bureaucreacies of public universities are reluctant to real changes, and funding (always too low) is becoming the main excuse.

Rafael Mompo

I agree with Bologna. We need a common model in Europe for higher education. It is better to have a not very good model than to not have any model. The university community of each university should now compete for being considered in the top positions of the universities rankings. The questions are , where are these rankings? How can quality or contribution to social welfare be measured? In fact this is the only thing that seems to have not been deeply addressed. That is, if a university does not offer quality, why is the reason to transfer public funding to it? European competition rules should be applied to the higher education market.

Alfonso Hidalgo de Calcerrada

Bologna is a great opportunity that, as Juan points out, we will probably miss in Spain. The only significant change for us is that the masters degree will be official, but the incumbent university lobby has managed to keep an excess of 4-year bachelors which will not leave space to truly specialised masters. Will the current focus on theoretical knowledge be moved towards another where the students' competence is more relevant? Let's wait and see...

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