The Bologna Process in Portugal and Poland: A comparative study
We analyze the consequences of the introduction of the EU directed Bologna Process in Portuguese and Polish Universities. Specifically, we study how the Bologna Process has impacted in the employment situations of graduates in Portugal and Poland. Concerning methodology, we use available official data on the implementation of the Bologna Process in Poland and Portugal. We have found that the investment in Higher Education (HE) stalled in both countries in the years since the implementation of the Bologna Process due to massive budgetary restrictions. Nevertheless, the stock of HE graduates increased massively, seemingly because the authorities thought that the free market should lead the HE market in the two countries. Employment prospects, unemployment prospects and wages of graduates continued to be much higher than those of non-graduates. But an unexpected divide appeared between graduates and Masters/PhDs, with important social consequences. While the first “saved” themselves and prospered going into high skilled jobs, the later had to endure minimum wage and underskilled occupations. The low payment for these youngsters was also justified because the supply of HE with Bologna increased but the demand by companies did not match. In fact, both Portugal and Poland have stronger needs in the demand side of the market than in the supply side. Finally, both markets continue to be essentially public and the experiences of privatization did not succeed to much. In terms of social implications, the Bologna Process faces in both countries the massive and decisive challenge of eliminating youth unemployment and emigration but this can only be done with the cooperation of companies that should create high paid and high skilled jobs. Only when this occurs the Bologna Process will achieve its ultimate goal of transforming Portugal and Poland in high skilled equibriuns. Let us hope it happens, for the good of the two countries and particularly for the good of their youths. In terms of originality, this study is important because it shows a new explanation for troubled life of European young workers at the beginning of the 21st century.
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