ENQA Workshop on Quality Assurance and Qualifications Frameworks, 7-8 June 2007, Dublin, Ireland (01. Jan. 2007)
The ENQA Workshop on Quality Assurance and Qualifications Frameworks was hosted by the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC).
The European Standards and Guidelines (ESG) call for quality assurance to pay attention to the learning outcomes of programmes. The Bologna qualifications framework calls for the specification of higher education programmes in terms of learning outcomes.
The Bologna Framework of Qualifications is an overarching framework enabling national frameworks of qualifications to be related to each other. Every EHEA member-state is committed to developing a national framework of qualifications. The alignment of these national frameworks to the overarching Bologna frameworks has to be verified by 2010. This verification is to be self-certified nationally according to a set of criteria adopted in Bergen.
One of the seven criteria is that the national quality assurance system for higher education refers to the national framework for higher education qualifications and is consistent with the Berlin Communiqué and any subsequent Ministerial Communiqués in the Bologna Process [this latter clause anticipates the adoption of the ESG in Bergen].
Moreover, the procedures for self-certification require that the self-certification process shall include the stated agreement of the quality assurance bodies of the country in question recognised through the Bologna Process.
So far there have been two initial national self-certifications, in Ireland and Scotland. These bore out the importance of quality assurance in agencies and in higher education institutions in the implementation of the national framework of qualifications.
It was noted from these initial self-certifications that both countries had demonstrated a commitment to implement the ESG and that this commitment is included in the verification reports. At the same time it was not possible for this to be fully tested at this stage, for example requiring all quality assurance agencies to have undergone an external review. In due course, though, perhaps by 2010, countries may be expected to have demonstrated compliance with the European standards in agencies and HEIs.