EQAR Newsletter May 2016
News: Annual Report 2015 l EQAR General Assembly and Self-Evaluation Report | Country Information Updates on EQAR Website | Croatian project: Removing Obstacles for Cross-border Cooperation (ROCCO) l New cross-border regulations on the recognition of foreign QA agencies l EQUIP l EQAF 2016 Call for Contributions | Map of registered agencies as of May 2016 l Upcoming events
EQAR Annual Report 2015
The year 2015 was another stimulating year for EQAR, culminating in the adoption of the ESG 2015 and of the European Approach for Joint Programmes by the Ministerial Conference in Yerevan. Since the ESG form the basis of the work of the Register Committee (RC), this revision significantly influenced the work and work-flow of the RC. This resulted in the following:
- Publication of the Use and Interpretation of the ESG 2015
- Update of the Policy on Transition of the Revised ESG
- Amended version of the EQAR Procedures for Applications
- Only one application round in 2015
The Self Evaluation Process similarly took up a large part of the resources in 2015: meetings of the self-evaluation group, setting up and analysis of surveys, desktop research, discussions at the Members’ Dialogue and last but not least, the drafting of the Self-Evaluation Report (see hereunder).
EQAR General Assembly and the EQAR Self Evaluation Report
EQAR's 10th General Assembly was held on 7 March, hosted by the Dutch EU Presidency in the impressive Europe Building in Amsterdam.
Representatives of 38 EQAR members got together to review and adopt, among others, the EQAR Self-Evaluation Report. Apart from recommendations on how to further improve or expand current practices, two distinct objectives - that will be further discussed at the Members' Dialogue in November - came out of the self-evaluation exercise:
- To study the feasibility of a database of higher education institutions and programmes that have been subject to quality assurance by registered agencies.
- To establish or clarify the position of a president in order to raise the visibility of EQAR and to enhance stability and leadership internally.
Country Information Updates on the EQAR Website
In line with its Work Plan, EQAR maintains a knowledge base of different national legal frameworks for recognition of external quality assurance carried out by EQAR-registered agencies across borders. This includes an overview of the general national quality assurance requirements in place across the EHEA.
The EQAR Website has recently been updated to include such information for each country. The updates are based on the national stocktaking reports of EHEA countries and other further documentation at EQAR's disposal (e.g. national legislation, regulations).
The new feature includes an interactive map giving access to information for each EHEA higher education system on information such as the legal framework and specific regulations that would allow the higher education institution to choose a suitable EQAR-registered QA agencies for their mandatory external quality assurance or whether they can use the European Approach for the quality assurance of their joint programmes.
Additional information is provided on the higher education system's focus on external quality assurance, EQAR registered QA agency(-ies) based in that country (if the case) as well as any other foreign EQAR registered agencies that have carried out external QA procedures within the country (if the case).
Since 2015 EQAR also collects information on the number of external quality assurance activities (evaluation, accreditation, audit) carried out by registered agencies within their home based countries and across borders. The aggregated data showing the actitivy of EQAR-registered agencies per each country can be accessed here.
Croatian Project Removing Obstacles for Cross-border Cooperation (ROCCO)
by Marina Crnčić Sokol, Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic Croatia
The Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic Croatia implemented the project Removing Obstacles for Cross-border Cooperation (ROCCO). The project was funded under the programme ERASMUS+ KA3 Support to Policy Reform, Support to the implementation of EHEA reforms 2014-2015.
The project activities were focused on two fundamental outcomes: the improvement of the national legal framework for the accreditation and implementation of joint programmes, and the promotion and facilitation of cross-border cooperation in higher education. Within the project, the minister of science, education and sports of the Republic Croatia appointed a Working Group to draft regulations on joint programmes and cross-border cooperation in higher education and to prepare guidelines for higher education institutions with basic information and advice for the development, accreditation and delivery of joint programmes.
More detailed information about the project activities are available on the website of the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic Croatia.
The Croatian Guidelines for the development, accreditation and implementation of joint programmes are available in English at: http://public.mzos.hr/fgs.axd?id=24668
New cross-border regulations on the recognition of foreign QA agencies
At the end of 2015 both Cyprus and Switzerland introduced legal provisions that would allow their higher education institutions to fulfil their external QA obligations by using a suitable EQAR-registered agency from abroad.
QA agencies listed in EQAR that wish to carry out external QA procedures in Switzerland will have to make an application to the Swiss Accreditation Council. The agency will have to ensure its accreditation procedures are aligned with the HEdA Accreditation Guidelines or alternatively to use the Accreditation Guide of the Swiss Agency of Accreditation and Quality Assurance (AAQ). The agency further has to agree to the fee regulations of the Accreditation Council.
Cypriot higher education institutions may choose an EQAR-registered agency under the term that their first evaluation will be conducted by the Cyprus Agency of Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education. For further information check out our country information updates.
Enhancing Quality through Innovative Policy & Practice
Since the start of this year two webinars and two workshops have been organised to promote and spread knowledge on the ESG. The most recent EQUIP workshop took place in Vienna on 9-10 May and gatherered 85 QAA practitioners .
The next and last workshop will take place in Lisbon on 6-7 June. Although registrations are closed, last-minute registrations might still be accepted. Please send an email to email@example.com.
In 2017, five focus groups addressing different stakeholders will verify and further consolidate the evidence collected through previous project activities about the implementation challenges, share good practice and discuss the proposed approaches to solving these challenges and their applicability in different contexts. EQAR will organise the focus group addressed to (around 20) representatives of ministries of education. More information on the focus groups will be available at a later stage.
Click here to download the presentations of the previous workshops and to listen to recordings of the webinars.
EQAF 2016 Call for Contributions
The 11th edition of the European Quality Assurance Forum (EQAF) will be hosted this year by the Slovenian Student Union and the University of Ljubljana on 17-19 November in the capital of Slovenia. The theme of the event ‘Quality in context – embedding improvement’ will explore different QA approaches in specific disciplinary, institutional and national context and culture.
EQAF gathers each year academics, students and QA staff from higher education institutions, QA agencies, and othe stakeholders and researchers working on higher education or the QA field.
The Forum opened a call for contributions for papers or workshops for QA practitioners in higher education institutions and quality assurance agencies, students, academic staf or researchers to present current practices or other relevant research in connection to this year's theme that could elicit the interest from a variety of stakeholders.The deadline to submit contributions is 25 July 2016.
Map of registered agencies as of May 2016
- EQAR Register Committee Meeting - for Register Committee members and observers - Lisbon, 5&6 June
- EQUIP Workshop (see above) - Lisbon, 6&7 June
- EQAF (see above) - Ljubljana, 17-19 November
- EQAR Members’ Dialogue - for governmental and stakeholder members - Oslo, 24&25 November