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Bologna Accord - not a bunch of baloney

Whaaat?! I can't get a job after I graduate?

"Starting this year, undergraduate degrees in the Philippines will no longer be recognized in most European countries. Jobs in most European countries that require undergraduate degrees will no longer be open to Filipinos who went to school in the Philippines" according
to educator, Isagani Cruz

As someone about to graduate I am appalled upon learning that the our tertiary education system does not meet up to global standards and could mean not being able to get a job in most European countries. This is due to the educational reform set up in 1999, popularly known as the Bologna Accord (
pronounced as bo-LO-nya) wherein 29 European countries signed a document agreeing to reform higher education to achieve the following aims:
  • create a system of comparable and understandable degrees throughout the European Union
  • establish a clear and standard division between undergraduate and graduate studies
  • promote student mobility among different fields of study, institutions, and nations
  • develop a quality-assurance process and governing body to ensure standard qualifications and quality throughout participating countries
  • define a European focus for higher education
As of this writing, there are now 46 countries who have signed the accord which is practically the whole of Europe

One objective of Bologna is for graduates to have the same level of competencies, having undertaken the same number of units and years, same exams and so on, so that when they would be importing students they are sure that the student is as good or better than their own. Apparently our country's undergraduate courses have less than 3 years of undergraduate concentration contrary to the required 3 years concentration prescribed by Bologna, since we spend more than a year and a half on General Education subjects which poses a problem, because even though we based our education system from the US, they only spend one year for general education subjects. So even though our students spend more time in school than their European counterparts, they actually spend less time on their majors because of the extra subjects required by the school (e.g. religion subjects by Religious schools)
This would indeed be detrimental for us Filipinos since if we won't comply with their requirements, we wouldn't get hired and it would hurt our economy since there are also Filipinos who work as "foreign workers" in Europe.

Cruz suggests that for us to limit our GE subjects to one year, what we could do is to add one or two more years to our basic education before college. (One in grade school and one in high school) Our country is the only one in the world which has 10 years of basic education before college, it is explicitly required by Europeans and both the Washington Accord and the Sydney Accord to have 12 years of pre-university education while the Dublin Accord requires 11 years. We have long been pressured to act on this and the DepEd has long been recommending adding 2 more years, but our government never listens.

Another provision of the Bologna accord has to do with "practical training" and for
relying only book knowledge, examinations that rewards recall or memory and attendance inside classrooms to be considered a thing of the past. Starting 2010, students would have to do research on their own instead of disciples of their professors while universities will all be "research universities" instead of just "teaching universities"

As future Human Resource practitioners, we should be sensitive to issues such as these since it tackles Recruitment head on. We ourselves must know the basic qualifications of other countries to know what it is that is considered "world-class" and for our own sakes as well if we are to consider working abroad. In fact, I believe that it is the HR industry's responsibility to make sure that our country's educational system be amended to comply with international standards so as to produce better graduates that would be helpful to our country whether they work locally or abroad.
Let us not for the day that one of our graduates would do something as sad as this, if ever he or she can't find a job.

Source: this Philstar article and this

That's it for today, "Happy Valentines' Day and "Happy Chinese New Year" y'all from TEAM DS!


  1. Anonymous Anonymous | February 15, 2010 at 2:00 AM |  

    the shit has hit the fan.

  2. Blogger Marc Alvin Matthew Tan | February 15, 2010 at 3:02 AM |  

    ^ agree'd

  3. Anonymous Raiza | February 16, 2010 at 5:16 PM |  

    If Philippines will adopt this thing then:
    1. trisemestral schools such as DLS-CSB will have to convert their calendar and follow what is "standard"
    2. DLS-CSB should change one of their core values, UNIQUENESS to FOLLOW WHAT EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING
    3. we should have board exams on business degrees, art majors and all other programs in order to have that "standardization"

    The problem with this Bologna thing is, Europe will never get to hire intelligent people like us!

  4. Anonymous Alvin Tan | February 16, 2010 at 9:33 PM |  

    the problem is, if other nations would follow suit (since other countries doesn't seem to have a problem in complying with the requirements), then the only foreign workers we'd have are domestic helpers