EQAR NEWSLETTER - APRIL 2022

News: Latest Register Committee decisions | External Evaluation Report | DEQAR update | Members' Dialogue | We stand with Ukraine


Latest Register Committee decisions

Two Register Committee meetings took place in the last three months, one brief online meeting on 7 February and a second, in-person meeting on 14-15 March in Porto. The Committee approved the renewal applications of three agencies:

Following up on the recommendations in the External Evaluation Report (see below), the Register Committee discussed various ways to improve the work of the Register such as introducing a complaints procedure about the review process and EQAR’s processes and various changes in the Procedures for Applications.

The Register Committee also discussed several reported substantive changes and the consequences of the Russian invasian in Ukraine (see below).

Read more about the Register Committee meeting in Porto on 14-15 March.


External Evaluation Report - results and recommendations

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes (who watches the watchers)? In EQAR's case it was an independant expert Panel appointed by the Coordinator of EQAR's external evaluation, Yehuda Elkana Center for Higher Education (CEU YECHE). We recently published their report, after an evaluation process that took almost 18 months and which included a Self-Evaluation Report, a site visit and numerous meetings.

The Panel described EQAR as “one of the most successful pan-European organisations in higher education” and concluded that EQAR is excellent in fulfilling its original mandate, as a “reliable, trustworthy, independent register that plays an important role in securing a credible QA system in the European Higher Education Area”.

There is of course always room for improvement and development. The Panel concurred with many opportunities for enhancement that had also been identified in the Self-Evaluation Report, such as further improving the application and appeals process and developing an action plan on how best to engage in the new developments in the EHEA, such as micro-credentials and new joint degrees initiatives.

These and other outcomes were discussed at the EQAR Members' Dialogue in February (see below) and will be further developed and incorporated in the Strategy or Work Plan.

The recommendations of the report should not be the only basis for improvement. Aristotle once said, “Quality is not an act, it is a habit.”. If we expect the modern version of this wisdom i.e.  “the development of a quality culture” from our agencies and the HEI community, then we should lead by example and continually strive to enhance our work, our processes and the way we work.

Find out more about the external evaluation and download the report.


DEQAR update

We have been working fervently to connect the DEQAR database with other databases, IT systems and ecosystems in the field of higher education in Europe. Our aim is to create synergies and efficient data exchange in the interest of higher education institutions and students. This has now yielded some remarkable results:

ETER - European Tertiary Education Register

EQAR and ETER have cooperated closely since the inception and launch of DEQAR (more about our cooperation here). ETER is an EU-funded initiative that collects qualitative and quantitative data on higher education institutions in Europe, including their basic characteristics, educational activities, staff, finances and research activities.

ETER now provides the number of external quality assurance procedures (excluding those with negative decisions) recorded in DEQAR for each reference year, distinguishing between institutional evaluation, program evaluation at different ISCED level, joint program evaluation and cross-border evaluation. Go to the relevant ETER page.

MusiQuE integration

MusiQuE (Music Quality Enhancement), one of our registered agencies (and also DEQAR CONNECT project partner), has successfully integrated DEQAR into their website. This API integration is available not only to our registered agencies but also to ENIC-NARICs and, although we might be prejudiced, we think it looks simply wonderful.  Check it out here.

Verifiable Credentials

EQAR has recently launched a newly-built feature to automatically issue Verifiable Credentials based on the quality assurance data available in DEQAR. They serve as a digitally-signed and tamper-proof label and can further be used to confirm an institution’s official accreditation in the EBSI ecosystem. Making accreditation credentials available automatically, EQAR supports the adoption of digital diplomas by European higher education institutions.

Generic DEQAR Verifiable Credentials can be used by all higher education institutions whenever they need digitally-signed and tamper-proof evidence of their external quality assurance being aligned with the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG). VCs can be downloaded from every single report record in DEQAR.

EBSI-compliant Verifiable Accreditations can be used by higher education institutions planning to join the EBSI ecosystem. Institutions can register their VA on the Trusted Issuers Registry (TIR) and thereby demonstrate their authorisation to issue education diplomas. Find out more here.

Other DEQAR CONNECT project news


EQAR Members’ Dialogue

The EQAR Members’ Dialogue held on 3-4 February was devoted not only to the external evaluation results, but also to the quality assurance of alternative providers and the inclusion of micro-credential providers in DEQAR. Members’ input on these last two topical subjects is crucial for both the Register and DEQAR.

The following areas (for improvement), highlighted by the expert Panel, were the topics of discussion at the EQAR Members’ Dialogue:

Check out the agenda and view the recordings of the (online) Members' Dialogue


We stand with Ukraine

EQAR is deeply shocked by the Russian forces’ unacceptable and unjustifiable attack on Ukraine (an EQAR governmental member) and has expressed solidarity to the representative of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.

EQAR’s work to further the EHEA is based on the principles of pursuit of peace, rule of law and democracy. EQAR therefore supports the statement signed by a large number of European Higher Education Area (EHEA) members and consultative members condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine as fundamental violation of the values, principles and goals of the EHEA, and of the obligations and commitments Russia has undertaken since it joined the EHEA in 2003.

Moreover:

Read our full statement here.


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