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Formal and Informal Implementation of Quality Assurance System in Bulgarian Higher Education

Open Panel

Abstract

According to neo-institutional theories developed by North and Federowicz formal institutions need to transform in parallel with informal ones to cause a real institutional change. This could be difficult when formal rules are created at the supranational level, e.g. Bologna Process, but local, academic context is not ready to implement them because more basic problems have not been solved yet. It could lead to ineffective solutions at the both levels. The paper reports results of studies on the informal dimension of QA implementation in Bulgarian Higher Education. This dimension was identified as academics knowledge, opinions and expectations towards QA system and Bologna Process in general. Relevant data were collected through in-depth interviews in which great emphasis was also placed on the key problems of Bulgarian higher education. Additionaly the paper briefly describes peculiarity of formal implementation. The study shows that the gap between formal and informal institutions is the factor which hinder Europeanisation of higher education in Bulgaria, which could be a common phenomenon in South-Eastern Europe. It also presents relationships between different Bulgarian stakeholders (state, students, scholars, labour market, economy) from academics’ poit of view, which result from changes in higher education.