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Open Access

The impact of the Bologna Process on higher education in Latin America

International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education20118:8020285

Received: 15 January 2011

Accepted: 15 June 2011

Published: 15 July 2011


The feasibility of establishing a common higher education area in Latin America, by means of a process similar to the Bologna Process or a variant thereof, is a subject of debate in the region. Despite widespread recognition of the benefits of the Bologna Process in terms of modernisation, innovation and internationalisation, the prevailing notion is that such a process would be unfeasible for Latin America. The arguments at the heart of that idea centre on the risk of homogenising all Latin America’s higher education systems, which would endanger regional diversity and distinctiveness; on the intra-regional asymmetries among those systems; and on inter-regional asymmetries, specifically the lack of a macro-level project for economic, political and social integration in Latin America, and the differences between European and Latin American higher education. This article examines the validity of those arguments and concludes that, far from having standardised Europe’s education systems, the Bologna Process has paved the way for their convergence within a common framework of reference and entailed innovation in and the modernisation of European higher education thanks to a new education model. Those aspects of the European process thus ought to be borne in mind in the current debate on how to reform Latin American higher education systems in order to bridge gaps and overcome the challenges identified in various international reports.


common higher education areahigher education reform in Latin Americainternationalisation