ENQA In A Nutshell
ENQA was first established as the European Network for Quality Assurance in Higher Education in 2000 to promote European cooperation in the field of quality assurance (QA) in higher education. In 2004 it became the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education. Since then, the mission of ENQA has been to contribute significantly to the maintenance and enhancement of the quality of European higher education, and to act as a major driving force for the development of quality assurance across all the Bologna Process signatory countries.
What is ENQA
ENQA is a membership association which represents its members at the European level and internationally. ENQA members are quality assurance organisations from the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) that operate in the field of higher education. The membership criteria of ENQA encompass Part III of the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) and some additional requirements and guidelines. Bodies that do not wish to, or for whatever reason are unable to, apply to become members of ENQA may request affiliate status within ENQA. Affiliates are bona fide organisations or agencies with a demonstrable interest in the quality assurance of higher education.
What does ENQA do?
ENQA’s purposes are essentially threefold:
- to represent its members at the European level and internationally, especially in political decision making processes and in co-operations with stakeholder organisations;
- to function as a think tank for developing quality assurance processes and systems further in the EHEA, and beyond;
- to function as a communication platform for sharing and disseminating information and expertise in quality assurance among members and other interested parties, and towards stakeholders.
To achieve its objectives, ENQA disseminates information on experience, good practice and new developments in the field of quality assurance in higher education to a wide range of stakeholders: public authorities, higher education institutions, students, and quality assurance agencies. ENQA’s activities comprise events such as conferences, workshops and seminars as well as international quality assurance projects and cooperation activities with stakeholders.
ENQA’s website is a rich source of information QA in Europe. In addition, ENQA produces regularly publications dealing with developments in European quality assurance, such as workshop reports, occasional papers, and a number of statements and position papers (all available free of charge on the website).
How does ENQA work?
ENQA is organised in three bodies. The General Assembly, composed of the representatives of the ENQA member agencies, with affiliates, and stakeholders attending as observers, is the main decision-making body of the Association. As the executive body of ENQA, the Board ensures an effective management of the issues between the annual GA meetings, and is entrusted with the implementation of the ENQA annual work plan together with the Secretariat. The Secretariat takes care of the day-to-day operation and administration of the Association, including its financial management, and implements the Association’s work plan together with the Board.
ENQA works closely with its key European partner organisations: European University Association (EUA), European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE), European Students’ Union (ESU), BusinessEurope and Education International. ENQA is a member of the E4 Group together with EUA, EURASHE and ESU.
ENQA is one of the founding members of EQAR, the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education, which was established in 2008 to increase the transparency of quality assurance in higher education across Europe and which publishes and manages a register of quality assurance agencies that substantially comply with the ESG.
What does ENQA believe in?
ENQA acknowledges that the primary responsibility for quality rests with higher education institutions. External quality assurance, for which QA agencies are responsible, fulfils a different need: at its best it combines both accountability for the reassurance of the public and an objective and developmental role for enhancing quality in institutions.
ENQA is committed to respect the fitness for purpose principle (purpose-process alignment) that is at the core of the European dimension of quality assurance.
ENQA is also firmly committed to a continuing cooperation with other quality assurance networks, such as the Central and Eastern European QA Network, the European Consortium for Accreditation, the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE), the Nordic Quality Assurance Network in Higher Education (NOQA), the Arab Network for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ANQAHE) and the Asia-Pacific Quality Network (APQN).
ENQA respects the diversity of European higher education, the diversity of quality assurance and enhancement approaches and measures and the diversity of approaches to setting-up national quality assurance systems.