10 years of Bologna but the same issues remain (Croatia)

It has been 10 years since the implementation of the Bologna Process in Croatian high-education system, but we still struggle with the same problems as it was at the beginning of the implementation. First of all, most of the professors apply the Bologna Process in their own way. Using a motto “I know what the Bologna Process is” most of them still use ex-cathedra ways of lecturing. Also, when examining students´ knowledge they put focus on the knowledge of the facts. Furthermore, ECTS credits are still distributed considering the “importance” of some professor rather than objective workload. In addition, there are situations when all programme subjects weight the same number of ECTS, but put very different demands on students and also have significantly different learning outcomes. Moreover, it is not rare to see that the main goal of the evaluations is not to get and implement students´ feedback, but to fulfil the formal requirements for the advancement. In addition, most of the time professors are not part of the discussions on “Bologna”. Having this in mind, it is understandable why some of them believe that colloquium is integrated part of the Bologna Process. Also, they do not know how to transfer learning outcomes of the programme to the learning outcomes of the subject. And also, they are not able to write an annual plan of the subject. There is also a problem with the regulations on students` rights and obligations. Legislation is not written for some specific cases and because of that lots of students have to take extra credits, extend their studies, etc. Furthermore, there is no connection between theoretical and practical work, meaning that students are not satisfied with the amount of their practical work. There is also a problem with the inclusion of the students˙ representatives in the process of decision making. Most of the time, they are not respected as equal members of the body. Also, these students do not get education on law and financial regulation.

These issues are impacting students in different ways. First of all, we have to keep in mind that intensity of the problems mentioned varies across different Universities and Universities˙ departments. For instance, on some integrated universities you can find departments that solved all of the problems and actively work on quality assurance and education of their employees and students. But also, it is not rare to see a department that has been working in the opposite way and they face drop-out problems. Also, when considering drop-out phenomena, it is important to say that some departments have notably decreased entrance criteria and their students often fail to finish their studies because they do not get some extra education on the topics which they lack knowledge of.

“Bologna process” is often considered to be the main culprit for all of the educational problems. Professors, in the last 10 years, have not gotten enough of education on the “Bologna”. This is especially true for specific topics such as learning outcomes, quality assurance, student-centred learning, etc.

The first step to address this would be to ensure professors are informed on all of the topics mentioned. Also, students should be more involved in the process of the internal and external evaluation. Furthermore, students should get more knowledge on the Bologna Process, and especially on how to be part of the representative bodies and be able to make a change. It seems that Universities, considering these questions, have failed to succeed.