In the London Communiqué (May 2007), the Ministers responsible for Higher Education in the countries participating in the Bologna Process decided to focus on a limited number of areas for action, among which was the mobility of staff, students and graduates. Mobility is considered as one of the core elements of the Bologna Process because of its several beneficial impacts, such as “creating opportunities for personal growth, developing international cooperation between individuals and institutions, enhancing the quality of higher education and research, and giving substance to the European dimension”. The Ministers agreed on the need to promote “mobility for both staff and students” through the development of more flexible curricula and of joint programmes.
Joint programmes are study programmes jointly developed by several partners from different countries. These programmes are a direct result of the developments entailed by the Bologna Declaration process: without the reforms brought by Bologna (e.g. the introduction of the 3-cycle structure in all European countries and the ECTS credit point system), joint programmes would have been very difficult (if not impossible) to establish in Europe.
The AEC sees joint programmes (one of the first clearly visible results of Bologna) as an important opportunity for the further development of higher music education in Europe and has produced a practical handbook to support conservatoires that are planning to jointly develop a (Masters) study programme with several European partners.
AEC Handbook How to develop a Joint Programme in Music
This handbook illustrates the unique opportunity joint programmes provide to share expertise and resources, and to develop programmes of high quality that have the capacity to attract the good students and teachers. The handbook deals with issues such as the preparatory phase, the funding application to the European Union, working methods, management and finances, curriculum development, quality assurance, testing and evaluation, dissemination and information sources.
Joint Programmes in Music Quick Reference Guide for Developing Joint Programmes in Europe
Because of the dynamic development in Joint Degrees, and the persistence of certain structural issues affecting comparability of standards, accreditation of programmes and sustainability (beyond the lifetime of project-based support) for student and staff mobility, this question was re-examined by the Mobility Working Group of the thrid cycle of the 'Polifonia' project (2011-2014). The work develped by the working group led to the production of a short guide to develop joint programmes in Music in Europe, published short after the end of the project.