Spain to adopt Bologna model

November 2, 2001

Spanish rectors aim to reform the structure of university degrees to bring them in line with the Bologna declaration. In future, first degrees should take three to four years to complete and postgraduate degrees one to two years.

Spanish university rectors meeting at Barcelona University last week agreed on an issue that has caused fierce debate across Europe. "We have to abandon the old system to move towards the British or American model," said Eugenio Domínguez, rector of Córdoba University.

The Bologna process aims to build a common European higher education system by 2010.

Spain's three kinds of first degree - a three-year diploma and longer-cycle degrees or technical degrees that can take up to six years - will be standardised to produce a single qualification.

The rectors want to bring order to the postgraduate sector. While doctorates are regulated by the state, there is no exact definition of a masters degree.

"Right now, it's a real jungle with exorbitant prices, uninformed students and the final value of the qualifications is not clear," said Domingo Docampo, rector of Vigo University.

Progress towards Bologna is under way in other areas: Valencia's Technical University and Deusto University are running pilot schemes testing the diploma supplement, which includes individual graduate personal achievement and a "transparent" description of the national higher education system in which the qualification was awarded.

Fifteen universities are doing the same with the European credit, which places more emphasis on the student's personal work than does the credit system already operating in Spain.

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