EQAR NEWSLETTER - DECEMBER 2016
News: Latest decisions of Register Committee | EQAR Members' Dialogue in Oslo | Luxembourg's new legal framework on cross border QA | Ministers of education agree on new legal basis for accreditation in Germany | Season's Greetings
Latest decisions of Register Committee
At its most recent meeting in Lyon on 2-3 December, the Register Committee reviewed a number of applications, most of them renewals and also started discussions on a possible policy document on consultancy activities of QAAs.
Newly admitted to the Register:
- ACPUA - Aragon Agency for Quality Assurance and Strategic Foresight in Higher Education (Spain)
ACPUA is the second agency that was admitted based on the ESG 2015, following MusiQuE on 6 June 2016.
Approved renewal applications (the first renewals based on the ESG 2015):
- AAQ - Swiss Agency of Accreditation and Quality Assurance
- ACQUIN - Accreditation, Certification and Quality Assurance Institute (Germany)
- AI - The Danish Accreditation Institution
- ZEvA - Central Evaluation and Accreditation Agency (Germany)
EQAR Members' Dialogue in Oslo
The sixth edition of the Members’ Dialogue was hosted by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. The event focused on two important discussions initiated by the self-evaluation of EQAR: the possible database of Higher Education Institutions/quality-assured programmes, and clarifying the strategic leadership of EQAR by changing from a rotating presidency to an elected president from mid-2017.
Database of quality assurance results and decisions
Following up on EQAR’s Strategic Plan and current Work Plan, the EQAR Secretariat prepared a Report and Operational Model of a Database of External Quality Assurance Results. The data in the report were based on surveys sent out in 2016 to potential users, as well as a dialogue with existing initiatives. The report was presented and discussed at the EQAR Members' Dialogue. Further steps will be considered taking into account these discussions.
Within the event, members also discussed the European Approach for Quality Assurance of Joint Programmes, Key Consideration for Cross-Border QA and learned about the new developments in the automatic recognition of qualifications in Western Balkans, the quality assurance of transnational higher education as well as developments within the national legal frameworks for external quality assurance in Switzerland, Netherlands and the Belgium–Flemish Community.
Luxembourg's new legal framework on cross-border QA
The new provision that came into force on 15 September 2016 recognises the activity of EQAR-registered agencies that carry out accreditation procedures of private and foreign higher education institutions (i.e. transnational higher education provision) in Luxembourg.
The EQAR-registered agency is selected by the Ministry and it has to follow the accreditation criteria set out in the Regulation of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (e.g. organisation, strategy and sustainability of the higher education institution, goals and objectives of the curriculum, the process of admission, evaluation, certification, research activities, internal quality assurance).
Based on the result of the accreditation procedure the Ministry takes a decision on accrediting or not the concerned programme or higher education institution.
The requirement of the new law does not apply to the University of Luxembourg, which is a public higher education institution with 'self-accrediting power' .
- Law of 23 July 2016 amending the Law on Higher Education of 19 June 2009 (in French) and
- the Regulation of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg of 24 August 2016 (in French)
Ministers of education agree on new legal basis for accreditation in Germany
The Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (KMK) agreed on a draft treaty on accreditation in higher education. The new treaty became necessary after a ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court, which required changes in the legal basis and organisation of the external quality assurance system.
The new treaty is expected to become effective by 1 January 2018 at the latest. It upholds the general approach to external quality assurance: accreditation based on peer review, involving the perspectives of academics, students and professional practicioners.
While recognised external quality assurance agencies continue to organise the peer review process, all accreditation decisions will be taken by the Accreditation Council (GAC) in the future, on the basis of an agency's report. The recognition of external quality assurance agencies will be simplified on the basis of registration on EQAR, according to the draft treaty agreed by KMK.
A press release by KMK is available at their website. Further details about the organisation and functioning of the new framework are to be defined in secondary legislation and will become known during 2017.
*** Season’s Greetings ***
After another eventful and busy year, the EQAR Secretariat is ready to slow down (just a notch) for the holidays.
We wish you, your family, friends and other loved ones, a peaceful and pleasant holiday season and a healthy, happy and harmonious 2017!
The EQAR office will be closed from 26-30 December.