Quality Assurance in Higher Education The European Quality Assurance Dimension Bruno CURVALE Responsible for the international activities at AÉRES Agence d’évaluation de la recherche et de l’enseignement supérieur, France ENQA Vice President European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education Bologna expert French national team
The Bologna process • Quality assurance in the EHEA • The European framework for quality assurance • In concrete terms • Consequences for the HEis • Consequences for the QA agencies • Consequences for the States • In brief (a daring rundown) Appendixes • List of the signatory countries of the Bologna process • ENQA in the landscape of QA in Europe • European Standards for Quality Assurance in the EHEA
1. The Bologna process • A pan European process that associates 46 countries to carry out two main goals : • The development of mobility in Europe • The strengthening of the attractiveness of the European higher education • National higher education systems undergoing change • Development of increased capacities for interactions and relations (BMD, ECTS, general implementation of the diploma supplement, …) • Initiatives in favour of the recognition of educations and qualifications (EQF, NQF, …) • … • The process goes forward by taking into account the consensus reached by the ministries or actors mandated by the Ministers. • The main actors: the ministries, EUA, EURASHE, ESIB, ENQA - (E4), … • The follow-up: the BFUG • The steps: La Sorbonne (1998), Bologna (1999), Prague (2001), Berlin (2003), Bergen (2005), London (2007), …, 2010
2. Quality assurance in the EHEA • The Bologna process includes a set of activities dedicated to quality. The objectives of this part of the process are to: • Give a framework and objectives for the development of the quality in the HEIs and in the QA agencies • Supply all the actors, partners, stakeholders with well-founded and useful information for the decisions they have to take in terms of policies, management, guidance, … • The quality policies (quality management), the processes and procedures (quality assurance) are part of the thinking about the consequences of : • The globalisation • The making of the European Union (Lisbon strategy) • The building of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) • The democratisation of higher education • Key words • attractivity/cooperation/competition/progress/adaptation/innovation
3. The framework of the European Quality Assurance The main directions were given at the Berlin conference in September 2003. “ The quality of higher education has proven to be at the heart of the setting up of a European Higher Education Area. Ministers commit themselves to supporting further development of quality assurance at institutional, national and European level. They stress the need to develop mutually shared criteria and methodologies on quality assurance. They also stress that consistent with the principle of institutional autonomy, the primary responsibility for quality assurance in higher education lies with each institution itself and this provides the basis for real accountability of the academic system within the national quality framework. “ “Realising the European Higher Education Area” Communiqué of the Conference of Ministers responsible for Higher Education, Berlin, on 19 September 2003
3. The framework of the European Quality Assurance The objectives decided in Berlin in September 2003 were: “ Therefore, they [the Ministers] agree that by 2005 national quality assurance systems should include: • A definition of the responsibilities of the bodies and institutions involved. • Evaluation of programmes or institutions, including internal assessment,external review, participation of students and the publication of results. • A system of accreditation, certification or comparable procedures. • International participation, co-operation and networking. ” “Realising the European Higher Education Area” Communiqué of the Conference of Ministers responsible for Higher Education, Berlin, on 19 September 2003
3. The framework of the European Quality Assurance The commission and the actors were: “ At the European level, Ministers call upon ENQA through its members, in co-operation with the EUA, EURASHE and ESIB, to develop an agreed set of standards, procedures and guidelines on quality assurance, to explore ways of ensuring an adequate peer review system for quality assurance and/or accreditation agencies or bodies, and to report back through the Follow-up Group to Ministers in 2005. Due account will be taken of the expertise of other quality assurance associations and networks. ” “Realising the European Higher Education Area” Communiqué of the Conference of Ministers responsible for Higher Education, Berlin, on 19 September 2003
3. The framework of the European Quality Assurance In Bergen in May 2005, the ministers took stoke of the achievements and set the objectives of the next step: “ Almost all countries have made provision for a quality assurance system based on the criteria set out in the Berlin Communiqué and with a high degree of cooperation and networking. However, there is still progress to be made, in particular as regards student involvement and international cooperation. Furthermore, we urge higher education institutions to continue their efforts to enhance the quality of their activities through the systematic introduction of internal mechanisms and their direct correlation to external quality assurance. ” “The European Higher Education Area - Achieving the Goals” Communiqué of the Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Higher Education, Bergen, 19-20 May 2005
3. The framework of the European Quality Assurance In Bergen in May 2005, the ministers took stoke of the achievements and set the objectives of the next step: “ We adopt the standards and guidelines for quality assurance in the European Higher Education Area as proposed by ENQA. We commit ourselves to introducing the proposed model for peer review of quality assurance agencies on a national basis, while respecting the commonly accepted guidelines and criteria. We welcome the principle of a European register of quality assurance agencies based on national review. We ask that the practicalities of implementation be further developed by ENQA in cooperation with EUA, EURASHE and ESIB with a report back to us through the Follow-up Group. We underline the importance of cooperation between nationally recognised agencies with a view to enhancing the mutual recognition of accreditation or quality assurance decisions. ” “The European Higher Education Area - Achieving the Goals” Communiqué of the Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Higher Education, Bergen, 19-20 May 2005
4. In concrete terms … • The internal evaluation is the corner stone of quality assurance in higher education. • The external evaluation is a condition of the credibility of the results of the internal evaluation. • External evaluators are accountable for the quality of their activities. • ENQA membership. A positive external evaluation is one of the condition for being recognised as a full member (cyclical evaluation). • A European register of the trustable QA agencies will be set up. • A tool for : facilitating recognition ; acting against bogus HEIs and QA agencies ; increasing trust, … (adopted in London 2007) • A European Consultative Forum for Quality Assurance in Higher Education will be set up. • First meeting “Embedding quality culture in higher education”, 23-25 November 2006, Munich • Second meeting “Implementing and Using Quality Assurance: Strategy and Practice”, 15-17 November 2007, Roma Standards and guidelines for quality assurance were adopted by the ministers of 46 countries .
4. In concrete terms … For the higher education institutions: • The standards deal with the education activities of the HEIs. They are demanding as regard the objectives to be reach. They are not normative as regard the tools, the procedures and the organisation. It is up to each institution to develop its own quality culture and to put in place the policies, the strategies and the systems adapted to its situation and ambition. • The HEIs’ quality assurance mechanisms have to satisfay their proper needs but also the expectations of their partners, communities and stakeholders. The first set of standards clarifies the goals. The guidelines clarify the philosophy of the standards, and where appropriate, suggest good practices.
4. In concrete terms … For the agencies: • The agencies have to verify the HEIs’ achievements as regard the European standards and guidelines for internal quality assurance (first set of standards). • The agencies have to use procedures that comply with the European standards and guidelines for the external quality assurance of higher education (second set of standards). • The agencies in order to be recognised as trustworthy have to prove that they fulfil the requirements of the European standards for external quality assurance agencies (third set of standard).
4. In concrete terms … For the States: The consequences follow from: “ We adopt the standards and guidelines for quality assurance in the European Higher Education Area as proposed by ENQA. We commit ourselves to introducing the proposed model for peer review of quality assurance agencies on a national basis, while respecting the commonly accepted guidelines and criteria.” “The European Higher Education Area - Achieving the Goals” Communiqué of the Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Higher Education, Bergen, 19-20 May 2005
5. In brief (a daring rundown) The directions of the Bologna process as regards QA • Responsibility of the HEIs • Internal quality assurance mechanisms • Protection and improvement of the quality of the educational offer • Fair information • Quality culture • Responsibility of the States • National quality framework • Responsibility of the external evaluators • Independence, transparency, relevance • Quality as a co-production • … through the interactions of a plurality of legitimate actors (Cf. Quality Convergence Study, ENQA Occasional Papers, 2005)
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Appendix 1 Signatory countries of the Bologna process 1999 Allemagne, Autriche, Belgique, Bulgarie, Danemark, Espagne, Estonie, Finlande, France, Grèce, Hongrie, Islande, Irlande, Italie, Lettonie, Lituanie, Luxembourg, Malte, Norvège, Pays-Bas, Pologne, Portugal, République Slovaque, République tchèque, Roumanie, Royaume-Uni, Slovénie, Suède, Suisse. 2001 Croatie, Liechtenstein, Turquie. 2003 Albanie, Principauté d’Andorre, Bosnie-Herzégovine, « ex-République yougoslave de Macédoine », Russie, Saint Siège, Serbie-Monténegro. 2005 Arménie, Azerbaïdjan, Géorgie, Moldavie, Ukraine. 2007 Monténégro. 3 10
Appendix 2 ENQA in the landscape of QA in Europe The European Network for Quality Assurance in Higher Education was established in 2000 to promote European co-operation in the field of quality assurance. In November 2004 the General Assembly transformed the Network into the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA). The idea for the association originates from the European Pilot Project for Evaluating Quality in Higher Education (1994-95) which demonstrated the value of sharing and developing experience in the area of quality assurance. Subsequently, the idea was given momentum by the Recommendation of theCouncil of Europe (98/561/EC of 24 September 1998) on European co-operation in quality assurance in higher education and by the Bologna Declaration of 1999. ENQA disseminates information, experiences and good practices in the field of quality assurance (QA) in higher education to European QA agencies, public authorities and higher education institutions. ENQA tends to be an leading organisation with which other organisations can cooperate and disseminate the results of their activities or projects, for example: - the European Consortium for Accreditation (ECA) ; - the Central and Eastern European Network (CEE Network) ; - the Nordic Quality Assurance Network in Higher Education (NOQA). ENQA is a consultative member of the BFUG since Bergen 2005. 3
Appendix 3 The corner stone of quality assurance in HE … “They [the Ministers] also stress that consistent with the principle of institutional autonomy, the primary responsibility for quality assurance in higher education lies with each institution itself and this provides the basis for real accountability of the academic system within the national quality framework.“ … “Realising the European Higher Education Area” Communiqué of the Conference of Ministers responsible for Higher Education, Berlin, on 19 September 2003 10
Appendix 4 Part 1. ESG for internal quality assurance within HEIs • 1.1 Policy and procedures for quality assurance: Institutions should have a policy and associated procedures for the assurance of the quality and standards of their programmes and awards. They should also commit themselves explicitly to the development of a culture which recognises the importance of quality, and quality assurance, in their work. To achieve this, institutions should develop and implement a strategy for the continuous enhancement of quality. The strategy, policy and procedures should have a formal status and be publicly available. They should also include a role for students and other stakeholders. • 1.2 Approval, monitoring and periodic review of programmes and awards: Institutions should have formal mechanisms for the approval, periodic review and monitoring of their programmes and awards. • 1.3 Assessment of students: Students should be assessed using published criteria, regulations and procedures which are applied consistently. • 1.4 Quality assurance of teaching staff: Institutions should have ways of satisfying themselves that staff involved with the teaching of students are qualified and competent to do so. They should be available to those undertaking external reviews, and commented upon in reports. • 1.5 Learning resources and student support: Institutions should ensure that the resources available for the support of student learning are adequate and appropriate for each programme offered. • 1.6 Information systems: Institutions should ensure that they collect, analyse and use relevant information for the effective management of their programmes of study and other activities. • 1.7 Public information: Institutions should regularly publish up to date, impartial and objective information, both quantitative and qualitative, about the programmes and awards they are offering. 11
Appendix 4 Part 2. ESG for the external quality assurance of higher education • 2.1 Use of internal quality assurance procedures: External quality assurance procedures should take into account the effectiveness of the internal quality assurance processes described in Part 1 of the European Standards and Guidelines. • 2.2 Development of external quality assurance processes: The aims and objectives of quality assurance processes should be determined before the processes themselves are developed, by all those responsible (including higher education institutions) and should be published with a description of the procedures to be used. • 2.3 Criteria for decisions: Any formal decisions made as a result of an external quality assurance activity should be based on explicit published criteria that are applied consistently. • 2.4 Processes fit for purpose: All external quality assurance processes should be designed specifically to ensure their fitness to achieve the aims and objectives set for them. • 2.5 Reporting: Reports should be published and should be written in a style, which is clear and readily accessible to its intended readership. Any decisions, commendations or recommendations contained in reports should be easy for a reader to find. • 2.6 Follow-up procedures: Quality assurance processes which contain recommendations for action or which require a subsequent action plan, should have a predetermined follow-up procedure which is implemented consistently. • 2.7 Periodic reviews: External quality assurance of institutions and/or programmes should be under taken on a cyclical basis. The length of the cycle and the review procedures to be used should be clearly defined and published in advance. • 2.8 System-wide analyses: Quality assurance agencies should produce from time to time summary reports describing and analysing the general findings of their reviews, evaluations, assessments etc. 12
Appendix 4 Part 3. ESG for external quality assurance agencies • 3.1 Use of external quality assurance procedures for higher education: The external quality assurance of agencies should take into account the presence and effectiveness of the external quality assurance processes described in Part 2 of the European Standards and Guidelines. • 3.2 Official status: Agencies should be formally recognised by competent public authorities in the European Higher Education Area as agencies with responsibilities for external quality assurance and should have an established legal basis. They should comply with any requirements of the legislative jurisdictions within which they operate. • 3.3 Activities: Agencies should undertake external quality assurance activities (at institutional or programme level) on a regular basis. • 3.4 Resources: Agencies should have adequate and proportional resources, both human and financial, to enable them to organise and run their external quality assurance process(es) in an effective and efficient manner, with appropriate provision for the development of their processes and procedures. • 3.5 Mission statement: Agencies should have clear and explicit goals and objectives for their work, contained in a publicly available statement. • 3.6 Independence: Agencies should be independent to the extent both that they have autonomous responsibility for their operations and that the conclusions and recommendations made in their reports cannot be influenced by third parties such as higher education institutions, ministries or other stakeholders. • 3.7 External quality assurance criteria and processes used by the agencies: The processes, criteria and procedures used by agencies should be pre-defined and publicly available. These processes will normally be expected to include: • • a self-assessment or equivalent procedure by the subject of the quality assurance process; • • an external assessment by a group of experts, including, as appropriate, (a) student member(s), and site visits as decided by the agency; • • publication of a report, including any decisions, recommendations or other formal outcomes; • • a follow-up procedure to review actions taken by the subject of the quality assurance process in the light of any recommendations contained in the report. • 3.8 Accountability procedures: Agencies should have in place procedures for their own accountability. 12