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Quality Assurance in Higher Education

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Quality Assurance in Higher Education

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  1. Quality Assurance in Higher Education • Flanders in a European Context Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  2. Joke Claeys • Ghent University • Department of Educational Affairs • Division of Quality Management Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  3. Contents • - Evolution of the notion of quality • The history of Quality Assurance in • higher education • First generation of external QA • Accreditation and it’s • consequences Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  4. Quality has several definitions (Green, 1994) • Excellence • ‘Fitness for purpose’: ~ the aims of • the institutions • Meet some basic standars • Efficacy of realising the aims • Meet the needs and expectations of • the clients Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  5. Quality as excellence • - Popular notion amongst professors • and chancellors,… • Quality assurance (QA) is focused • upon the input Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  6. Quality= fitness for purpose • The notion is less absolute • Central issue: the aims of a • program/institution • QA is focused upon the processes • realising the aims • The function of improvement is the • most important Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  7. Quality: meeting basic standards • Reaction upon the relativism of the • preceding • Basic standards have to be met • Link with accreditation • QA is focused upon the output Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  8. Quality : Meet the needs and expectations of the clients • The point of reference is outside the • institutions: students, stakeholders, • society • Quality: a means of satisfying • external expectations • - QA is focused upon the output Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  9. History • 80ties and first half of the 90ties: • transition from ‘excellence ‘ to • ‘fitness for purpose’ • Second half of the 90ties: criticism; • introduction of ‘basic standards’ Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  10. QA in European Higher Education • Before the 80ties: individual • initiatives, no real general policy • Some historic factors: • More students in higher education • Economic crisis; less governmental financing • Governments want to control the use of financing Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  11. QA in European Higher Education • External factors have exercised the • strongest influence • Pioneering countries: The United • Kingdom, The Netherlands, Denmark • Countries as Belgium followed these • models (esp. The Netherlands) Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  12. Functions of QA in Education • Improvement and warrant of quality: ‘peers’ evaluate • the program and give recommendations • Accountability towards the government and the clients • (students, parents, employers) • Regulation and adaptation of the educational system: • QA indicators can influence rationalisation decisions,.. Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  13. QA has different subjects • Research: exists in the Netherlands • A study program (e.g. physics); all • institutions at the same time • A cluster of similar programs (future • development) • A whole institution (e.g. EUA in • Macedonia) Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  14. Internal and external QA • Internal: for use in the institution: • e.g. student questionnaires • External: the final judgement on a • program is made by an external • commission Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  15. QA in Flanders • Central element in the startup: • Decree on universities (June 12th, 1991) • Art 122 Imposes a continuous monitoring of the quality of education: internal and external QA are mentioned Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  16. Realisations: • Internal QA: student questionnaires • External QA: visitation (peer • review): first generation Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  17. External QA: Visitations (peer review) • 8 year cycle • A panel of experts judges the program • Result: • - a public report on all the important issues • - a related score list (comparison between • institutions is possible) • - recommendations for improvement Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  18. External QA: Visitations (peer review) • Phases in the process: • 1 .The program writes a self • assessment report. Professors, • assistant professors, students, • alumni,… are all involved. • A manual with guidelines is strictly • followed. Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  19. External QA: Visitations (peer review) • 2. - A commission of experts is • composed, on the proposal of the • programs involved. They act on a • completely independant base. • - Experts in the subject matter; 5 • persons, 1 president, 1 didactical • expert Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  20. External QA: Visitations (peer review) • 3. The commission reads the self • assessment report. • 4. - Site visit: 2,5 days • - meetings with professors, assistant • professors, other personnel involved in • education, students, alumni, study • guidance,… Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  21. External QA: Visitations (peer review) • 5. The commission writes a report • containing their evaluation of the • program, recommendations, good • practices,… • The different programs are also • compared. Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  22. External QA: Visitations (peer review) • 6. - The report is published and can • be consulted by future students, • newspapers, other institutions,… • - The Minister of Education gets a • report. • 7. The programs react upon the • recommendations and can make • adaptations to the study program. Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  23. Accreditation: a second generation of external QA • Antecedents: societal evolutions • Internationalisation: cooperation; • mobility of professors and students • Globalisation: a market for research • and study programs emerges • Liberalisation: commercial suppliers can • can organise education • - Evolution towards a knowledge society Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  24. Accreditation: definition • A formal, public judgement made by an independant body, based upon an evaluation of quality, guaranteeing that basic standards are met Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  25. Internationalisation: Bologna • BOLOGNA: (19/6/99), signed by 29 • European countries • Goal: create a European space for • higher education in order to enhance the • employability and mobility of citizens and • to increase the international competitiveness of • European higher education Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  26. Bologna: specific goals (1) • adopt a system of easily readable and • comparable degrees, (also through the • implementation of the Diploma Suppl.) • adopt a system with 2 main cycles • (undergraduate and graduate), with first • degrees no shorter than 3 years and • relevant to the labour market Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  27. Bologna: specific goals (2) • establish an system of credits (such as ECTS) • also covering lifelong learning activities • promote European co-operation in quality • assurance, (aiming at comparable criteria and • methods) • promote mobility by overcoming legal • recognition and administrative obstacles (for • students and teachers) Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  28. Realisations in the QA area • ENQA: European Association for Quality • Assurance: ° 2000; www.enqa.net • Spreads information, ‘good practices’ • about QA in higher education to • European quality agencies, authorities • and higher education institutions Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  29. EUA: European University • Association; www.eua.be/ • had several projects about QA • procedures, QA culture, comparing • different countries • Accreditation is implemented in several • countries (e.g. Spain, The Netherlands, • Flanders, through new legislation) Tempus Workshop Zagreb

  30. Functions of accreditation • Guarantee a certain basic quality of • institutions or programs • Reinforce the existing forms of QA e.g. by • strenghtening their sanctioning capacity • Create more standardisation of norms, • procedures and criteria, to enhance • comparability • Improve the public responsibility function of QA • by giving transparant info to students, parents,… Tempus Workshop Zagreb