Analytic Quality Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-21, Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 18 June, 2021 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2021.


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Bruges-Copenhagen Process

core definition

The Bruges-Copenhagen Process is the development of European co-operation to enhance vocational education and training.

explanatory context

The Bruges-Copenhagen Process in vocational education parallels the Bologna process in higher education. According to the UK Europe Unit (undated):

Education Ministers from 31 European countries and the European Commission signed a declaration in Copenhagen in 2002 on work towards creating a knowledge-based Europe and ensuring that the European labour market is open to everyone. This was preceded in 2001 by the Bruges meeting of Directors General in Education which laid the political foundations for transparency and cooperation in VET.

The Process seeks to help European citizens meet the demands of the European labour market by allowing them to pursue their training needs between differing levels of education, and different occupations, sectors and countries. It will also play a key role in achieving the Lisbon Strategy goal of making the EU the world’s most dynamic, knowledge-based economy by 2010.

The work of the Bruges-Copenhagen Process is currently focusing on quality assurance and the transparency and recognition of qualifications.

analytical review

Europe Unit (undated) states:

The Bruges-Copenhagen Process aims to enhance cooperation in vocational education and training (VET) in Europe.

Deutscher Bildungs Server (2011) refers to it as the Copenhagen Process :

The expression “Copenhagen-process” refers to a conference of the European Ministers of Education in Kopenhagen in 2002. There it was decided to enhance the European cooperation in the vocational education sector which was established in the Copenhagen declaration. Aspects are transparency with regard to vocational qualifications within the national systems, instruments for quality ensurance, validation of informal qualfications, a European qualification frame (EQF) and a credit point system (ECVET).
This unification attempt is sometimes called “Bruges-process” or “Bruges-Copenhagen-process” following the so called Bologna-process, the standardisation of higher education structures in Europe.

The European Commission, Education and Training (2008) Glossary, :

The Copenhagen Process on Enhanced European Cooperation in Vocational Education and Training (VET) was launched as a European strategy to improve the overall performance, quality and attractiveness of VET in Europe. National and European priorites have been identified to guide the reform and modernisation of the VET systems Since 2002, the process has significantly contributed to raising the visibility and profile of VET in the participating countries. The process is fully embedded into the Education and Training 2010 work programme and contributes directly to the objectives of the Lisbon strategy.
In their Helsinki Communiqué (December 2006), the ministers of the 32 countries now participating in the process, the European social partners, and the European Commission agreed to pay more attention to the image, status and attractiveness of VET. More emphasis is placed on quality and good governance of VET systems and providers in delivering the VET agenda. The development and implementation of common European tools for enhancing the transparency and recognition of competences and qualifications is continuing in order to pave the way towards a European area of VET, to support the competitiveness of the European labour market, and to facilitate mobility of learners and workers. The active involvement of all stakeholders in the work is being reinforced as the Copenhagen process moves towards its implementation phase, and a more systematic approach to strengthen mutual learning will be fostered by improving the scope, precision and reliability of VET statistics.

associated issues

related areas

See also

Bologna process

Bruges process


Deutscher Bildungs Server, 2011, European cooperation in vocational education (Copenhagen process), available at, accessed 7 February 2112, still available 31 December 2016.

European Commission, Education and Training, The Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013, 2008, Glossary, available at last update: 11 April 2008, accessed 7 February 2012, page not available 31 December 2016.

Europe Unit [UK] undated, Vocational education—The Bruges-Copenhagen Process, available at, accessed 9 February 2011, page not available 31 December 2016 .

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2021

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