The House of Commons Education and Skills Committee gives a cautious welcome, but sounds concern about, the Bologna Process.
In its Report issued on 30th April 2007 the Committee noted the benefits to UK institutions of participating in the creation of a European Higher Education Area (EHEA) by 2010 by developing a framework to enable comparability of higher education qualifications.
However there is concern that comparability and compatibility will turn into standardisation of higher education systems and that some distinctive UK features, particularly the 1 year master's and the integrated 4 years master's degrees will be at risk.
There is less concern about the UK doctorate.
In its submission to the Committee the RAS noted that the introduction across most of Europe of a standardised Bachelor / Master structure with a duration of five years may disadvantage graduates in the UK system, where many Masters level degrees are completed after four years of study.The RAS was also concerned that the shorter duration of UK PhD training could undermine the ability of UK PhD graduates in physics and astronomy to compete scientifically with their peers from other countries.
The Committee's report appears just before the next Bologna Process Ministerial meeting in London in May.