Newsletter – December 2014
Register Now Includes 37 Agencies from 18 Countries
The Register Committee convened in Rome on 28/29 November 2014 and admitted the following four new agencies to the Register:
- A3ES – Agency for Evaluation and Accreditation of Higher Education (Portugal)
- AQ Austria – Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria
- CAQA – Commission for Accreditation and Quality Assurance (Serbia)
- Unibasq – Agency for Quality of the Basque University System (Spain)
These agencies have demonstrated their substantial compliance with the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ESG) through an independent external review. The Register now includes 37 agencies from 18 European countries.
The Register Committee also decided to renew the registration of AAC-DEVA (Andalusian Agency of Knowledge, Department of Evaluation and Accreditation, Spain), ACSUG (Agency for Quality Assurance in the Galician University System, Spain), CTI (Engineering Degree Commission, France) and IEP (Institutional Evaluation Programme). These agencies have demonstrated through an external review that they continue to substantially complay with the ESG.
Final Report: Recognising International Quality Assurance Activity (RIQAA)
The final report of EQAR's project on Recognising International Quality Assurance Activity in the EHEA (RIQAA) is now available for download. The RIQAA project revealed that quality assurance agencies have rapidly expanded their international activities, while higher education institutions are keen to take advantage from the opportunities of a cross-border external review.
Institutions consider as main benefits the development of an international profile, a review that best suits their needs, and enhanced recognition of their degrees. Even though cross-border reviews are a reality in almost all EHEA member countries, only a small number of countries, however, allow their higher education institutions to work with a suitable quality assurance agency from abroad. International evaluations or accreditations in these countries often happens in addition and parallel to the national, mandatory external quality assurance, rather than being recognised as part of it.
The project has resulted in a number of recommendations to enhance cross-border external quality assurance and to promote the European dimension in quality assurance. These will be the basis for EQAR's input to the upcoming EHEA Ministerial Conference in May 2015 in Yerevan.
BFUG Endorses Revised European Standards and Guidelines
The Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG) endorsed the proposal for the revised version of the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG). The revised version can be used by higher education institutions, quality assurance agencies and other stakeholders to prepare the necessary changes. The revised ESG are subject to final approval by the EHEA Ministerial Conference in May 2015 in Yerevan (Armenia).
The EQAR Register Committee adopted a policy on transition to the revised ESG concerning registration of quality assurance agencies. The policy aims to ensure that by 2020 all agencies on the Register will have been reviewed against the revised ESG.
European Approach for Quality Assurance of Joint Programmes
The Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG) endorsed the proposal for a European Approach for Quality Assurance of Joint Programmes. EHEA ministers are invited to approve the proposal at their Yerevan Conference, in May 2015, together with the revised version of the ESG.
Joint programmes are a hallmark of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). The European Approach has been developed to ease external quality assurance of these programmes: it sets standards that are based on the agreed tools of the EHEA, without applying additional national criteria.
RIQAA Final Conference/EQAR Members' Dialogue
21/22 October 2014, Palermo (Italy)
The results of the RIQAA project were presented and discussed at a conference hosted by the University of Palermo (Italy), gathering nearly 100 participants representing governments, quality assurance agencies and other stakeholders from 35 countries.
The conference informed policy makers about the current level of recognition of quality assurance agencies' results and decisions across borders, and the experiences of quality assurance agencies and higher education institutions in working together internationally. The conclusions and recommendations are reflected in the RIQAA Final Report (see above).
We wish you and your loved ones a joyful holiday season and a happy New Year.
Your EQAR Secretariat