ERIC Number: EJ910031
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Qualifications Frameworks: The Avenue towards the Convergence of European Higher Education?
Karseth, Berit; Solbrekke, Tone Dyrdal
European Journal of Education, v45 n4 p563-576 Dec 2010
This article analyses one of the most important aspects of the journey towards the vision of a European Higher Education Area, namely the development of a "new architecture" in which compatible qualifications frameworks are one of the main building blocks. The overall question addressed concerns how and whether signatory countries of the Bologna process, although committed to this "new architecture," share the same understanding of the intentions of the qualifications frameworks. The article shows that, while the main policy documents of the Bologna process cling to the saga of successfulness with regard to the implementation of compatible qualifications frameworks at national levels, our analysis demonstrates major shortcomings which cannot be explained within a rational approach. Rather, our study indicates that the shortcomings are better understood as the lack of a shared epistemic as well as cultural understanding of the aim of a qualifications framework. By employing a theoretical lens based upon different perspectives on institutionalism and governmentality, we argue that qualifications frameworks can be understood as part of a rapidly-expanding myth of rationality which offers global scripts to follow. On the other hand, the translation process of the qualifications frameworks shows that there are different "windows of opportunities" which offer the different countries a space to manifest national mindsets and institutional practices. This becomes evident when looking into the self-certifications reports on national qualifications framework of three countries. Finally, to understand what is at stake, the issue of power needs to be taken into account. As we suggest, it comes as no surprise that the countries in the "leading group" of introducing national qualifications frameworks are all "well-established" members of the European Union.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Higher Education, Qualifications, Academic Standards, Educational Policy, Policy Analysis, National Standards, International Cooperation, International Education, Comparative Education, Educational Environment, Politics of Education, Educational Change, Political Power
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A