EQAR NEWSLETTER - JUNE 2021
News: Policy Brief DEQAR CONNECT | Coming soon: Targeted Review | Annual Report 2020 published | Publication EQAR’s Self-Evaluation Report | General Assembly update | Call for ESU Student Experts' Pool | Call for contributions EQAF
Policy Brief DEQAR CONNECT - ESG Coverage of Higher Education Systems in Europe
One of the objectives of the DEQAR CONNECT project is to support the activities of the BFUG Thematic Peer Groups on Quality Assurance and on Recognition. To that effect EQAR committed to prepare a number of policy briefs based on the analysis of the data collected through DEQAR.
Policy briefs are Europe-wide, country specific and domain-based analyses on topics following Bologna Thematic Peer Groups’ priorities. The innovative aspect of these analyses is that they are (will be) done by extracting and combining two different datasets i.e. of DEQAR and of the European Tertiary Education Register (ETER).
The first policy brief has just been published and delves into the external quality assurance frameworks and their alignment with the ESG. It has successfully combined the two datasets to provide an extensive picture on the coverage of higher education institutions and their student population in DEQAR. The analysis also captures the diverse and evolving nature of external QA frameworks in Europe, reflecting on the aim and focus of such processes (at institutional and programme level), on the frequency of such procedures (validity of reports) and the commonalities and differences of higher education systems.
External QA coverage of higher education systems by % HEIs and % of the student population (ISCED 5-7 level)
Coming Soon: Targeted Review
EQAR, in close collaboration with ENQA, developed a proposal for a Targeted Review. We are hoping that the first targeted reviews under the new approach can be launched starting from July 2021.
A Targeted Review is a special review for EQAR-registered agencies:
- which have undergone at least two consecutive external reviews leading to EQAR (renewal) registration;
- that have duly reported all their substantive changes.
Focus of the Targeted Review:
- ESG standards that were partially compliant during the last review(s);
- ESG standards possibly affected by recent changes such as the launch of new activities;
- Enhancement component (I): the agency will be expected to reflect on its consideration of internal quality assurance (ESG 2.1);
- Enhancement component (II): the agency will be expected to reflect on one other area that is relevant to their own HE system.
Annual Report 2020 published
The year 2020 was unlike any other year that EQAR has known in its relatively short existence. The world turned on-line and EQAR with it. And, as it turns out, a lot can be done while working from home; the DEQAR CONNECT project was put in motion, three Register Committee meetings took place, the EQAR external evaluation was started and we even hired and brought up to speed two new staff members. You will find all this and more in our Annual Report here, integrated into our website for easy access and reading.
That said, teleworking was not always easy, and we can’t wait to see our members, committee members and other stakeholders in person again; to have live(ly) discussions and debates on the issues that concern us, to have a laugh and share a meal after a full day of meetings.
Publication EQAR’s Self-Evaluation Report
Honest and critical self-reflection is key to building trust, creating accountability and striving for enhancement. The EQAR Self-Evaluation Report is the result of our "soul-searching" and we are pleased to announce its publication.
The report reflects on the way EQAR is organised, how EQAR manages the Register and how EQAR contributes to the EHEA. At the end of the report, 25 conclusions are ordered in SWOT analysis style (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats), followed by possible action points. Some of the indicated areas of opportunity (summarised) are:
- Large potential lies in establishing better connectivity of DEQAR with other initiatives, especially digital credentials and study portals.
- In order to inform the EHEA activities related to the key commitments, there is a high demand for Europe-wide monitoring and analysis on their implementation. The EQAR Knowledge Base has become a widely-appreciated tool and its further development may help EQAR to consolidate its position.
- As a result of the European Universities initiative, the need to advance cross-border recognition of QA results is expected to gain relevance.
- There is a clear wish for EQAR to feed its expertise and wealth of statistical and analytical information – based on its registration processes as well as its general monitoring – in to the relevant policy debates.
EQAR members endorsed the report at the General Assembly, finding it well executed, honest and realistic. What do you think? Since the proof is in the pudding, we invite you to read the SER and find out more about its scope, authors and sources.
General Assembly update
EQAR’s 17th General Assembly, once again on-line, was held on 16 April. EQAR Members approved the accounts, the budget, the work plan, the annual report and elected a number of committee members.
Special topics under consideration were the Self-Evaluation Report and a Targeted Review (see above), which were both well received. More about the GA, the new committee members and the thematic session here.
Slide from the presentation "An analysis of Register Committee Decisions"
Call for students to join the ESU Quality Assurance Student Experts’ Pool
The ESU’s Quality Assurance Student Experts Pool has been established to promote student engagement in quality assurance and to contribute to the improvement of higher education provision in the European Higher Education Area.
High quality higher education is a constant goal for all higher education stakeholders. Quality assurance, the formal tool that helps higher education institutions (HEIs) to achieve this ambition, gathers experts from different stakeholder groups and includes students. They play an important role in both external and internal quality assurance.
Criteria for selection:
- Registered higher education student (at any level) or recently graduated (within 1 year) - only if continuing membership;
- Previous experience in various levels of quality assurance in higher education, especially participation in reviews or review-like activities;
- Demonstration of motivation to join the ESU QA Pool and contribute to promote student participation in quality assurance of higher education;
- Experience in student representation;
- Excellent command of English.
Don’t miss this opportunity to expand your horizons, learn new skills, but most of all to let the students' perspective count; submit your application until 14 June to join the ESU quality assurance student experts' pool.
Call for contributions EQAF
The 2021 European Quality Assurance Forum (EQAF) Programme Committee is inviting proposals for paper presentations and discussion starters. The 2021 EQAF will take place online on 18 and 19 November. The deadline to submit proposals is 26 July 2021.
EQAF is a landmark event in quality assurance organised annually in mid-November by EUA, ENQA, ESU, and EURASHE and regularly attracts more than 400 participants from the higher education quality assurance community in Europe and beyond.
This year’s Forum will focus on the theme of ‘Building trust and enhancement: from information to evidence’ and will explore the evidence used in external and internal quality assurance and how to improve its use and impact. The call for contributions welcomes submissions from quality assurance practitioners at higher education institutions and quality assurance agencies, students, and researchers in the field.
Further information about EQAF 2021, including the programme and registration information for the online sessions will be available in early September on the event page.