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.