Estonian Quality Agency for Higher and Vocational Education (EKKA)

The review will evaluate the way in which and to what extent the Estonian Quality Agency for Higher and Vocational Education (EKKA) fulfills the criteria for ENQA membership and thus the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area. The evaluation is scheduled to finish February/March 2018.

Background and context

EKKA was established under the Universities Act in 2009 on the basis of the Estonian Higher Education Accreditation Centre (EKAK, established in 1997). From 2009 until 2015, EKKA was called “Estonian Higher Education Quality Agency”. Starting from 1 February 2015, the name was changed to “Estonian Quality Agency for Higher and Vocational Education”. EKKA is an independent structural unit of Archimedes Foundation. The Foundation is an independent legal body established 1997 by the Estonian government with the objective to coordinate and implement different international and national programmes and projects in the field of training, education and research. EKKA is independent in developing its principles and procedures for quality assessment and in adopting assessment decisions.

EKKA is comprised of the Bureau, which administers and organises EKKA’s work, and two councils: Higher Education Quality Assessment Council and Quality Assessment Council for Vocational Education and Training (VET).


  • provides institutional accreditation of higher education institutions;
  • provides quality assessment of study programme groups in higher education;
  • provides accreditation of study programme groups in vocational education and training;
  • conducts expert analyses in order to grant educational institutions the right to conduct studies;
  • analyses evaluation results and makes recommendations for improvement to educational institutions;
  • informs the general public of the outcomes of evaluations;
  • offers training for higher education institutions, VET institutions and evaluation experts;
  • participates in international networks and cooperation projects.

EKKA is a full member of International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE) and Central and Eastern European Network of Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (CEENQA) and participates in the European Quality Assurance in Vocational Education and Training (EQAVET) network. In 2014, EKKA organised the INQAAHE biannual Forum in Tallinn. In 2015, EKKA’s Director for Development and International Cooperation was elected to the Board of Directors of INQAAHE. EKKA staff members are elected to the boards of quality assurance agencies in Russia and Kazakhstan.

EKKA has been a full member of ENQA since April 2013 and is applying for renewal of ENQA membership.

EKKA has been registered on EQAR since October 2013 and is applying for renewal.

Review process

The process is designed in the light of the Guidelines for ENQA Agency Reviews and in line with the requirements of the EQAR Procedures for Applications.

The evaluation procedure consists of the following steps:

  1. Formulation of the Terms of Reference and protocol for the review;
  2. Nomination and appointment of the review panel;
  3. Self-assessment by EKKA  including the preparation of a self-assessment report;
  4. A site visit by the review panel to EKKA ;
  5. Preparation and completion of the final evaluation report by the review panel;
  6. Scrutiny of the final evaluation report by the ENQA Review Committee;
  7. Analysis of the scrutiny by the ENQA Board and their decision regarding ENQA membership;
  8. Follow-up of the panel’s and/or ENQA Board’s recommendations by the agency, including a voluntary follow-up visit.

Review panel
The panel is composed of the following members:

  • Jean Pierre Finance, Professor Emeritus, University of Lorraine, France – Chair, academic (EUA nominee)
  • Marion Coy, Higher Education Consultant and President emerita at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Ireland – Secretary, quality assurance professional (ENQA nominee)
  • Ronny Heintze, Commissioner for international affairs, Agency for Quality Assurance through Accreditation of Study Programmes (AQAS), Germany – Quality assurance professional (ENQA nominee)
  • Olena Rusnak, Student/Head of National QA Student Experts’ Pool , Ukrainian Association of Student Self-government (UASS) – Ukrainian National Union of Students, Ukraine – Student (ESU nominee)

This review is being coordinated by Lindsey Kerber.

EKKA’s self-assessment report is available here.