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An Example of Best Practice in Transnational Cooperation in the Field of Engineering Education: the European Thematic Networks


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Title: An Example of Best Practice in Transnational Cooperation in the Field of Engineering Education: the European Thematic Networks

An Example of Best Practice in Transnational
Cooperation in the Field of Engineering
Education the European Thematic Networks
Prof. Iacint MANOLIU Technical University of
Civil Engineering, Bucharest, Romania Chairman of
EUCEET II Management Committee
International Conference on Engineering Education
Gliwice, July 25 -29, Gliwice
SOCRATES European Community programme in the
field of education First phase 1995 1999,
budget 0.9 billion EURO Second phase 2000
2006, budget 1.4 billion EURO ERASMUS Higher
education component of SOCRATES, aimed at -
enhancing the quality of higher education -
encouraging transnational cooperation among
universities - boosting European mobility of
students and teachers - improving the
transparency and full academic recognition of
studies and qualifications
Thematic Networks a sub-action of the Erasmus
Action, initiated in 1996
Main aim of Thematic Networks
- to enhance quality and to define and develop a
European dimension within a given academic
discipline or study area, or as regards a topic
of an interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary nature,
or in other matters of common interest, which is
achieved by means of cooperation between
universities, university faculties or
Other partners in Thematic Networks, beside
academic associations, learned societies,
professional bodies, other partners of
socio-economic importance in the public or
private sector
Two major kinds of Thematic Networks
Vertical Networks
  • Economic, Social and Human Sciences archeology,
    arts, law, teachers training, management,
    languages, literature, political science,
    communication science, sports.
  • Sciences and Technologies biology, dentistry,
    chemistry, engineering, civil engineering,
    computer science, medicine, veterinary medicine,
    physics, agriculture and food sciences.

Transversal Networks
  • philosophy and human science, ethics, open and
    distance learning, continuing education,
    university management and administration

EUCEET - Thematic Network in the Field of Civil
  • EUCEET (European Civil Engineering Education and
  • initiated by the Technical University of Civil
    Engineering of Bucharest
  • coordinated by the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et
    Chaussées France
  • EUCEET I 1 September 1998 31 August 2001
  • Dissemination year 1 September 2001 30
    September 2002
  • EUCEET II 1 October 2002 31 December 2005

EUCEET partnership
Number of partners Number of partners Number of partners Number of partners Number of partners Number of partners Number of partners
SOCRATES CODE 1998/ 1999 1999/ 2000 2000/ 2001 2001/ 2002 2002/ 2003 2003/ 2004 2005
EDU.4 43 50 59 66 97 100 101
ASS.1 7 8 13 13 14 14 14
ASS.2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1
ASS.3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
RES 5 5 5 5 6 6 6
SER 7 9 9
Total 58 66 80 87 126 131 132
Total (20) (24) (25) (25) (29) (29) (29)
Codes significance EDU.4 Higher education
institution ASS.1 Non-profit association
(national) ASS.2 Non-profit association
(international) ASS.3 Association of
Universities RES Research institute SER
Private company (services). In parenthesis is
the number of countries represented.
  • Six themes were tackled during the first phase of
    the Project
  • 'Curricula in European Civil Engineering
    Education at Undergraduate Level'
  • 'Accreditation and Quality Assessment in Civil
    Engineering Education'
  • 'Synergies between Universities, Research,
    Industry and Public Authorities in the
    Construction Sector of Europe'
  • 'Postgraduate Programmes and Continuing
    Professional Development in Civil Engineering
  • 'Balance and Change in Civil Engineering
  • 'Demands of the Economic and Professional
    Environments in Europe with Respect to Civil
    Engineering Education'

(No Transcript)
Six themes were included in the working plan of
EUCEET II, each of them having one or several
Specific Projects. Theme A 'Curricula issues and
developments in civil engineering', with four
Specific Projects SP.1 Studies and
recommendations on core curricula for various
degree programmes SP.2 Practical placements as
part of the civil engineering curricula
SP.3 Environmental and sustainable development
matters in civil engineering education SP.4
Non-technical subjects in civil engineering
education Theme B 'Development of the teaching
environment in civil engineering education', with
two Specific Projects SP.5 Problem-oriented,
projects-based education in civil
engineering SP.6 Use of ICT in civil engineering
Theme C 'Promoting the European dimension in
civil engineering education', with two Specific
Projects SP.7 Harmonization of European
construction codes and regulations SP.8 Synergies
between TN EUCEET and other activities under the
Socrates Erasmus programme and European research
Networks in civil engineering Theme D 'Enhancing
the attractiveness of civil engineering
profession', with one Specific Project bearing
the same title (SP.9) Theme E 'Recognition of
academic and professional civil engineering
qualifications', with two Specific Projects SP.10
Specialised knowledge and abilities of graduates
of civil engineering programmes SP.11 Academic
and professional recognition and mobility of
European civil engineers
Theme F 'Lifelong learning in civil
engineering', with one Specific Project bearing
the same title (SP.12) By the time of the writing
of this paper, most of the reports for the 12
Specific Projects are either completed or in an
advanced stage of preparation. They will
represent the substance of two more EUCEET
volumes. An additional activity undertaken by
the Project, which was in some way a follow-up of
the work carried out within the Themes A and D of
the first phase, was to collect and to publish
under a separate volume 4 a number of 26
reports on civil engineering education in 26
European countries, from which 25 countries
partners in EUCEET, plus Russia.
In 'The Bologna Declaration on the European
Higher Education Area' signed on June 19th,
1999, by Ministers of Education from 29
countries 15 EU countries (AT, BE, DE, DK, FI,
countries (IS, NO) 11 accession and candidate
countries (BG, CZ, EE, HU, LV,LT, PL, RO,SK, SI,
MT) and Switzerland, six main action lines were
defined 1. Adoption of a system of easily
readable and comparable degrees 2. Adoption of a
system essentially based on two cycles 3.
Establishment of a system of credits 4. Promotion
of mobility 5. Promotion of European co-operation
in quality assurance 6. Promotion of the European
dimension in higher education
The next meeting of the Ministers of Higher
Education took place in Prague, on May 19th,
2001. The Communiqué issued on that occasion
"Towards the European Higher Education Area" had
33 signatory countries (29 Bologna signatory
countries, plus Cyprus, Turkey, Liechtenstein,
Croatia). To the 6 action lines from Bologna, 3
more action lines were added 7. Lifelong
learning 8. Higher education institutions and
students 9. Promoting the attractiveness of the
European Higher Education Area In Berlin, on
September 19th, 2003, the number of signatory
countries of the Communiqué "Realising the
European Higher Education Area" reached 40 33
Prague signatory countries, plus 4 Tempus-Cards
(Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, FYR Macedonia,
Serbia-Montenegro), 1 Tempus Tacis - the Russian
Federation and Andorra and The Holly See. To the
9 Bologna and Prague action lines, one more was
added 10. Doctoral level (third cycle) included
in the Bologna process
In 2005, higher education ministers from 45
countries met in Bergen, Norway, on 19-20 May.
Five new countries have joined the process
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and
Ukraine. The Bergen Communiqué, entitled "The
European Higher Education Area - Achieving the
Goals", includes a new action line 11. The
attractiveness of the EHEA and cooperation with
other parts of the world It is worth to quote
here the full text of this new action line 'The
European Higher Education Area must be open and
should be attractive to other parts of the world.
Our contribution to achieving education for all
should be based on the principle sustainable
development and be in accordance with the ongoing
international work on developing guidelines for
quality provision of cross-border higher
education. We reiterate in international academic
cooperation, academic values should prevail.
We see the European Higher Education Area as a
partner of higher education system in other
regions of the world, stimulating balanced
student and staff exchange and cooperation
between higher education institutions. We
underline the importance of intercultural
understanding and respect. We look forward to
enhancing the understanding of the Bologna
Process in other continents by sharing our
experiences of reform processes with neighbour
regions. We stress the need for dialogue on
issues of mutual interest. We see the need to
identify partner regions and intensify the
exchange of ideas and experiences with those
regions. We ask the Follow-up Group to elaborate
and agree on a strategy for the external
EUCEET and the BOLOGNA Process
  • EUCEET survey in 1999 2000
  • the continental system

EUCEET and the BOLOGNA Process
  • EUCEET survey in 1999 2000
  • the anglo-saxon system

"Action Line 2" of the Bologna Declaration
'Adoption of a system of easily readable and
comparable degrees, also through the
implementation of the Diploma Supplement, in
order to promote European citizens employability
and the international competitiveness of the
European higher education system. Adoption of a
system essentially based on two main cycles,
undergraduate and graduate. Access to the second
cycle shall require successful completion of
first cycle studies, lasting a maximum of three
years. The degree awarded after the first cycle
shall be relevant to the European labour market
as an appropriate level of qualification. The
second cycle should lead to the master and/ or
doctorate degrees as in many European countries.'
EUCEET Position on the Implementation of the
Bologna Declaration in Civil Engineering
At the EUCEET meeting of the Management Committee
of EUCEET II, which took place on 19th September
2003 in Ciudad Real, was raised for the first
time the opportunity of adopting a position
statement on the implementation of the Bologna
Declaration in civil engineering education. The
general lines of such a statement were defined
and a draft was circulated among the MC members
in the months following the Ciudad Real
meeting. At the next Management Committee
meeting, held in Paris on 16th February 2004, the
following statement was adopted with clear
majority 'EUCEET is supporting and encouraging
the application of the idea of two-tier education
system in Civil Engineering as suggested in
Bologna Declaration. The adoption of a system
based on two main cycles, whenever takes place,
must take into consideration the specificity of
the civil engineering education and profession.
Civil engineers perform and provide services to
the community with significant implications for
public safety and health.
As a consequence, the first cycle in civil
engineering education shall be relevant to the
labor market and shall ensure graduates with a
level of competences tuned to the substantial
responsibilities of the profession. A duration of
4 years (or the equivalent of 240 ECTS credits)
seems to fit that purpose. A 4-year duration of
the first cycle in civil engineering education is
aimed also at facilitating transnational
recognition of degrees and professional mobility
of European civil engineers. In this respect, due
consideration has to be given to the fact that
various alliances between engineering
organizations, such as Washington Accord and the
Engineers Mobility Forum, have established that
the required academic component of the
qualification of a professional engineer should
be 4 or 5 years full time study in
University. The existing integrated 5-year
curricula in civil engineering, leading straight
to a Master's degree, is also compatible with the
letter and spirit of the Bologna Declaration and
with the vision of a European Higher Education
Shift from the Integrated Programmes to the
Two-Tier Programmes
One of the major results of the implementation of
the Bologna process in civil engineering
education in Europe is the shift from the
integrated programmes to the two-tier
programmes. The solution preferred in most cases
is to split the existing 5-year programme by
introducing a Bachelor degree after the first 3
1 Only at the University of Architecture, Civil
Engineering and Geodesy, Sofia 2 At certain
Technical Universities 3 Only at the Norwegian
University of Science and Technology, Trondhein 4
At certain Technical Universities 5 At certain
1999 2000
2003 - 2004
2005 and beyond
Launched as a pilot action in 1996, the Thematic
Network developed in the 9 years since as a most
succesful action in favour of trans-national
cooperation in the field of higher education.
The case of EUCEET, a Thematic Network in civil
engineering, undoubtedly a major field of
engineering education, illustrates how beneficial
could be the existence of such Project in a time
when very significant transformations are
occurring, such as the ones induced in Europe by
what is known as the Bologna Process.
The European experience in networking can be a
source of inspiration for other regions of the
world. The Communiqué of the Conference of
European Ministers from 45 countries convened on
19-20 May 2005 in Bergen recognized the need to
identify partner regions of the world and to
intensify the exchange of ideas in order to
enhance the understanding of the Bologna Process
in other continents.
This brings hopes that is not too distant the
moment when Thematic Networks such as EUCEET will
bring together partners from several continents,
willing to tackle in co-operation problems of
mutual interest.