Launched in 1999 by the Ministers of Education and university leaders of 29 countries, the Bologna Process aims to create a European Higher Education Area (EHEA); it has further developed into a major reform encompassing 46 countries. Taking part in the Bologna Process is a voluntary decision made by each country and its higher education community to endorse the principles underlined in the European Higher Education Area.
The Bologna Process does not aim to harmonise national educational systems but rather to provide tools to connect them. The intention is to allow the diversity of national systems and universities to be maintained while the European Higher Education Area improves transparency between higher education systems, as well as implements tools to facilitate recognition of degrees and academic qualifications, mobility, and exchanges between institutions. The reforms are based on ten simple objectives which governments and institutions are currently implementing. Most importantly, all participating countries have agreed on a comparable three cycle degree system for undergraduates (Bachelor degrees) and graduates (Master and PhD degrees).
Many participating countries have made substantial changes to their systems in response to the Bologna Process. Introducing the new degrees has required a tremendous effort in reviewing curricula and expectations toward students. Already over half of European universities have reviewed their curricula entirely, using the Bologna reforms to implement a more student-focused approach and new quality procedures.