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The role of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education ENQA latest developme


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Title: The role of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education ENQA latest developme

The role of the European Association for Quality
Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) latest
developments in quality assurance in Europe
  • Peter Williams
  • President
  • ENQA
  • Chief Executive
  • The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher
    Education, UK

  • The role of ENQA
  • latest developments in quality assurance in
  • The European Standards and Guidelines
  • The European Quality Assurance Register
  • The current position and longer-term needs
  • A possible trajectory for 2020 and beyond?

The Role of ENQA
  • network founded in 2000 association in 2004
  • independent umbrella organisation for European QA
  • activities meetings, workshops, conferences,
  • representative of QA agencies in Bologna Process
    (consultative member)
  • co-operation within E4 (ENQA, EUA, ESU, EURASHE)
  • structure Board, General Assembly, Secretariat

Membership of ENQA
  • ENQA membership requires external review and
    substantial compliance with ESG (cf. EQAR)
  • external reviews of ENQA member agencies by 2010
    to confirm Full membership
  • external reviews conducted by national
    authorities or by ENQA
  • review reports scrutinised by ENQA Board
  • 36 Full members, 11 Candidate members
  • associates and affiliates 192
  • ENQA Full membership is de facto accreditation of
    European QA agencies

Latest developments in quality assurance in
Current QA activities in Europe
  • Most countries now have quality assurance or
    accreditation agencies
  • Mixture of programme accreditation, institutional
    accreditation, and non-accrediting quality
    assurance reviews
  • Some countries are moving/have moved from
    programme focus to institutional focus
  • Some moving the other way
  • Current ENQA project will show the dynamic
  • Increasing use of European Standards and
    Guidelines (ESG)

European standards and guidelines (ESG)
  • drafted by ENQA in consultation with EUA, EURASHE
    and ESIB
  • approved by the Bologna ministerial conference in
    Bergen in 2005
  • consist of
  • ESG for internal QA within HEIs (Part 1)
  • ESG for the external QA of higher education (Part
  • ESG for external QA agencies (Part 3)

What are standards? What are guidelines?
  • Standards in this context are not meant to
    imply standardisation or requirements
  • standards are statements of basic good
    practice they are short and general
  • Guidelines are meant as illustrations of the
    standards in action they provide additional
    information and explain why the standards are

ESG Part 1 HEIs internal quality assurance
  • 1.1 Policy and procedures for quality assurance
  • 1.2 Approval, monitoring and periodic review of
    programmes and awards
  • 1.3 Assessment of students
  • 1.4 Quality assurance of teaching staff
  • 1.5 Learning resources and student support
  • 1.6 Information systems
  • 1.7 Public information

ESG Part 2 external quality assurance
  • 2.1 Use of internal quality assurance procedures
  • 2.2 Development of external quality assurance
  • 2.3 Criteria for decisions
  • 2.4 Processes fit for purpose
  • 2.5 Reporting
  • 2.6 Follow-up procedures
  • 2.7 Periodic reviews
  • 2.8 System-wide analyses

ESG Part 3 external quality assurance agencies
  • 3.1 Use of external quality assurance procedures
    for higher education
  • 3.2 Official status
  • 3.3 Activities
  • 3.4 Resources
  • 3.5 Mission statement
  • 3.6 Independence
  • 3.7 External quality assurance criteria and
    processes used by the agencies
  • 3.8 Accountability procedures

What the ESG ARE
  • Generic, not specific, standards and guidelines
  • A view of what should be done, not how it should
    be done
  • A source of assistance and guidance

What the ESG are NOT
  • Prescriptive
  • A checklist
  • A compendium of detailed procedures
  • A European quality assurance system

London Communiqué extracts on QA
  • …ESG have been a powerful driver of change in
  • relation to QA. All countries have started to
  • implement them and some have made substantial
  • progress. External QA in particular is much
  • developed than before … student involvement at
  • all levels has increased … Since the main
  • responsibility for quality lies with HEIs, they
  • should continue to develop their systems of QA.
  • acknowledge the progress made with regard to
  • mutual recognition of accreditation and quality
  • assurance decisions, and encourage continued
  • international cooperation amongst QA agencies.

The European Quality Assurance Register (EQAR)
  • a publicly available, web-based, information tool
    consisting of a list of QA agencies operating in
  • voluntary, entry through compliance with ESG,
    evidenced by an external review
  • information available at (first
    applications in June 2008)
  • contains basic information, such as
  • agencys name and contact information
  • QA services provided by the agency
  • Whether member of ENQA
  • country where the agency is established
  • countries in which the agency operates

EQARs purposes
  • promotes student mobility by providing a basis
    for the increase of trust among the HEIs
  • reduces opportunities for accreditation mills
    to gain credibility
  • provides a basis for governments to authorise
    HEIs to choose any agency from the Register, if
    that is compatible with national arrangements
  • provides a means for HEIs to choose between
    different agencies, if that is compatible with
    national arrangements
  • serves as an instrument to improve the quality of
    the quality assurance agencies and to promote
    mutual trust among them.

Current QA needs in Europe
  • A need for information about quality
  • A need for public confidence in providers
  • A need for reassurance about the value of
  • A need for providers confidence in what theyre
  • A need to encourage academic ownership of quality
    and standards
  • A need for a means to judge international

All of which suggest a requirement for
  • Strong internal quality cultures and associated
  • External verification of quality
  • Up to date information about quality
  • Clearly understandable standards for QA
  • A common language and vocabulary

Personal concerns
  • ESG are being given more weight than they were
    originally intended to bear
  • Too many QA agencies are fixated on processes and
    not on purposes
  • Fitness for purpose is not the predominant driver
    of external QA processes at present
  • There is a lot of information but limited
    communication in QA systems
  • Compliance approaches work against improvement
  • Ready opportunities for self delusion

European quality assurance the longer term needs
  • Common concepts
  • Common language
  • Shared understandings and values
  • A European HE quality culture?
  • Qualifications recognition
  • Comparable academic standards
  • Useful information for stakeholders
  • Improved academic professionalism
  • Better higher education
  • Cost-effective quality assurance

European quality assurance a possible trajectory
for 2020 and beyond?
  • institutions take more responsibility for their
    own quality and quality assurance
  • External national programme quality assurance/
    accreditation ultimately replaced by selective
    international accreditation and by
  • External national institutional quality assurance
  • Shared values and understandings (European
    standards and guidelines)