eISSN: 1896-9151
ISSN: 1734-1922
Archives of Medical Science
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vol. 3

Medical Education and the Bologna Process

Bernhard J. Schaller

Arch Med Sci 2007; 3, 1: 3-4
Online publish date: 2007/03/23
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The so-called Bologna process was initiated by the political agreement of ministers of education of different European countries with the objective of creating a common European area of higher education. The content of the agreement was laid down in the so-called “Declaration of Bologna”. The Bologna Process designates ongoing activities whereby the Ministers responsible for Higher Education in Europe attempt to change and harmonize fundamental aspects of all higher education in the many countries involved. This grand scheme is gaining momentum. The number of participating countries is increasing, more aspects of higher education are being included and the number of activities and projects is growing. Introduction of the two-cycle (Bachelor/Master) system represents a sensitive aspect of the implementation of the Bologna process into higher medical education. But so far, medical education has been neglected in the process and awareness of the development at medical schools has been limited. Despite lacking legal obligations, the implementation of a two-cycle system and the realisation of a general framework for study courses and graduation have gained rapid momentum. Parts of the Declaration of Bologna are without controversy, for example the promotion of mobility by overcoming obstacles to freedom of movement within the European Union. The structuring of university studies in an undergraduate and a graduate cycle (bachelor/master) may make also sense for medical studies and may open a new basis of medical education. Medicine is going to become more and more molecular and the understanding of molecular aspects of the disease is currently also important for practitioners to treat their patients. Expected research competencies should therefore be identified for each level or academic year within each programme. Based on these competencies, recommendations on how to modify the curriculum into one that would support students' acquisition and development of the skills necessary to be successful in matriculating through an evidence-based practice curriculum have to be developed. Evaluation mechanisms for the achievement of these competencies vary across the academic programmes and will include performance on capstone projects, comprehensive examinations, and programme milestones for medical students. It involves much more than courses in how-to-do research – it involves gaining an understanding of how knowledge is developed and how research...

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