VoxEu has a new post by Fernando Alexandre, Ana Rute Cardoso, Miguel Portela, and Carla Sá titled Implementing the Bologna process.
Shortening the first cycle in higher education studies is one of the most controversial aspects of the Bologna reforms. Recent research suggests students are voting-with-their-feet in support of this reform as study programs adopting the Bologna principles have seen a rise in demand.
The main advantages of moving to shorter degree programs:
First, a two-tier system reduces the cost of wrong choices made by students. Secondly, a two-tier system promotes a more flexible progression into postgraduate studies by allowing students to enter the labor market earlier and to find out what competencies they should develop when they eventually go back to university to obtain a master's degree. Thirdly, students can complete their studies earlier.
...new curricula are compressed versions of longer programs, and that there will not be enough time for assimilation, reflection, and a critical approach to learning, which will undermine the quality of the degree. Under these circumstances, the employability of the new graduates might be reduced...
Study programs that have adopted the Bologna principles have benefited from an increase in demand, which is indicative of students’ support for the shorter first degree. Nevertheless, their receptiveness to the curricula changes varied across fields of study and with program size.