ANQA calls for international experts

The Armenian National Centre for Professional Education Quality Assurance Foundation (ANQA) is inviting international experts to register for the ANQA pool of experts.

During the past few years, ANQA has been actively involved in the institutional accreditation processes of Armenian higher education institutions. As the agency is now entering a second phase where the academic programmes are going to be looked at more closely, ANQA is aiming at enlarging its international experts’ pool.

In order to become an expert, candidates should register for the experts’ preliminary pool by filling out a form at http://forms.anqa.am. During the week following the registration, ANQA specialists will review the candidate’s data and its compliance with the requirements to become an expert. In case of compliance with all the requirements, the registration will be approved. However, registration does not guarantee the involvement of the candidate in the upcoming accreditation process.

More information can be found on ANQA website. For questions, please contact ANQA at info@anqa.am.

Note from the President – 7 May 2018

The “Note from the President” is sent in order to update the membership on decisions and activities from recent Board meetings and events. The aim of these notes is to keep the agencies informed about the work of ENQA throughout the year and to enhance communication between agencies and the Board.

Please find the Note from the President of 7 May 2018 here.

Quality assurance of joint programmes presented in conference report

For those unable to attend last year’s international conference on “Single accreditation of joint programmes – turning the Bologna guideline into reality” (30-31 May 2017, Vilnius, Lithuania), the conference report is now available. The report details the accreditation practices of joint programmes in various European countries, including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, and Spain and shares European-level perspectives on the topic, such as those from the European Consortium for Accreditation (ECA) and the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR).

The report also details four fields to foster the application of the European Approach for Joint Programmes:

  • promotion, to share the European Approach with the most relevant actors working with joint programmes (ie. those in higher education institutions);
  • education, to inform the relevant actors, e.g. ministries and QA agencies, of the core principle that the European Approach calls for direct application without adaptation to national regulations or traditions;
  • analysis, to collect information on where the European Approach is in use and to analyse how its application has been allowed; and
  • exchange, to allow relevant actors to exchange their experiences using the European Approach.

The implementation of the European Approach is also the subject of the EU-funded “Facilitating implementation of the European Approach for Quality Assurance of Joint Programmes (ImpEA)” project, in which ENQA is a partner.

IIEP publishes book on flexible tools for internal quality assurance

UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) has published a book called Internal Quality Assurance: Enhancing higher education quality and graduate employability. It is a comparative study exploring effective and innovative options for internal quality assurance (IQA), which includes findings from a survey conducted with the International Association of Universities (IAU). Eight in-depth case studies with best practices from Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Chile, China, Germany, Kenya, and South Africa are presented.

Its conclusions emphasise the need for flexible and qualitative tools for IQA to be functioning alongside quantitative ones. Higher education institutions should also look for balance between academic- and employability-related tools. It is also emphasised that dialogue on quality assurance should be evidence-based, and it should involve all university stakeholders.

The book aims to serve as inspiration for higher education institutions planning to design and develop their own IQA systems, and it provides guidance for national and institutional policy-makers and quality assurance officials.

New project to assess HEIs’ performance quality in learning and teaching

ENQA member evalag (Evaluation Agency of Baden-Württemberg, Germany) is coordinating the Erasmus+ project “Sustainable Quality Enhancement in Higher Education Learning and Teaching. Integrative Core Dataset and Performance Data Analytics (SQELT)” until August 2020. The project aims to respond to the need to strengthen the role and weight of teaching and learning in international rankings by supporting further research on adequate and internationally comparable indicators for the quality of teaching, specifically by means of systematic performance (core) data, performance indicators, and learning analytics.

CYQAA focuses on distance learning during recent roundtable event

The Cyprus Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education (CYQAA) recently held a roundtable discussion on quality assurance of distance learning. Representatives of higher education institutions offering distance-learning programmes attended the event, where they were informed on external evaluation criteria, quality indicators, requirements and procedures, and on good practices including and related to the following:

  1. Establishment of a Pedagogical Planning Unit for distance learning, responsible for the support of the Distance Learning Unit and the requirements for study materials, interactive activities, and formative assessment in accordance with international standards.
  2. Feedback processes for students in relation to written assignments.
  3. Ensuring student interaction with each other, the teaching staff, and the study material.
  4. Development of teacher training programmes focusing on interaction and the specificities of distance learning.
  5. A complete assessment framework design, focusing on distance-learning methodology, including clearly defined evaluation criteria for student assignments and the final examination.
  6. Plan of a set number of expected teleconferences for presentations, discussion and question-answer sessions, and guidance.
  7. Development of a study guide for each course, fully aligned with distance-learning methodology and the need for student interaction with the material.

The discussion highlighted the pedagogical aspects of distance learning, with participants agreeing that quality is judged scientifically according to specified criteria.

Moldovan agency undergoes reorganisation

In accordance with a recent government decision in Moldova, and following the absorption of the National School Inspectorate and the National Council for Accreditation and Attestation, the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Professional Education (ANACIP) will henceforth be known as the National Council for Accreditation and Attestation National Agency for Quality Assurance in Education and Research (ANACEC), the successor of rights and obligations of the absorbed bodies. The ultimate aim of the reorganisation is to strengthen the work of the state institutions responsible for quality assurance in the educational field and to contribute to the development and quality assurance in the fields of education and research, as well as to ensure a national system for assessing these areas oriented towards international standards.

Conclusions from UNESCO’s regional event to feed into global QA conference

UNESCO’s Regional Consultation Meeting for Western Europe took place in Geneva, Switzerland, on 15-16 February 2018 under the title “The role of Quality Assurance in Higher Education: challenges, developments and trends”. Attended by 135 participants from more than 30 countries, the event was co-organised by UNESCO’s Division for Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems and the Swiss Agency of Accreditation and Quality Assurance (AAQ), with support from the Swiss National Commission for UNESCO.

The main outcomes show that, thanks to the last two decades of dialogue among stakeholders, of trust-building between QA agencies and HEIs, of effective communication on purposes and outcomes of both internal and external QA processes, finally the distinct roles of actors seem clear and broadly accepted. There is an increased consciousness of the need to ensure quality involving all stakeholders, in an ever-changing and highly diversified higher education landscape. In this context, governments need to provide HEIs and QA agencies with framework conditions that allow them the flexibility and autonomy to adapt QA processes to embrace the diversification of provisions while ensuring quality provisions for all, in accordance with UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goal 4.

The same topics will be discussed for Eastern Europe in Moscow on 23-24 April 2018. The results of these consultations, as well as the outcomes from the regional consultations taking place on other continents, will be brought to the UNESCO global conference on Quality Assurance in Higher Education, to be held in Paris on 21-23 November 2018.