Looking back at the first year of SEQA-ESG 2: the experience of peer-counselling visits

Alexis Fábregas Almirall, Project and Reviews Officer at ENQA

In February 2024, ENQA conducted the last peer-counselling visit as part of the SEQA-ESG 2 project, thus concluding the first activity stream of this project. The project aims to support agencies in meeting the expectations of the ESG.

Five visits have taken place between April 2023 and February 2024, one for each of the project partners in Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Ukraine. These visits have convened approximately 140 participants in total, comprising representatives from the local QA agency, the ministry in charge of higher education, higher education institutions, students, and other relevant stakeholders. Additionally, experts from ENQA and EQAR were actively engaged in these visits.

In collaboration with ENQA, the participating QA agencies (AHERS, HEA, NAQA, NEAQA and TKTA) developed visit programmes according to their specific needs. Various topics were addressed, including stakeholder involvement, agency independence, thematic analysis, peer-review experts, and cross-border QA. The overarching aim was to raise awareness and facilitate a comprehensive dialogue regarding actions required to align with the ESG. This aspect of the visit was underscored by participants as being particularly beneficial, as expressed by a representative from HEA (Bosnia and Herzegovina): “We were able to delve deeper into the extent of ESG compliance and pinpoint areas for enhancement.” Moreover, the visits were instrumental in clarifying task distribution within the country’s QA system.

Each peer-counselling visit was attended by two experts from QA agencies that are compliant with the ESG. The experts shared experience, insights and practices from their respective agencies, addressed queries from participants, and further contributed to a lively discussion. The active involvement of ENQA experts garnered positive feedback from participants, as articulated by a representative from TKTA (Azerbaijan): “It was useful in sharing insights and experiences related to aligning legal frameworks with ESG compliance […] challenges, successful strategies, and lessons learned from other countries”.

Building on the conclusions of the peer-counselling visit, each participating QA agency is currently drafting a system action plan aimed at addressing the remaining obstacles at system level on the road towards ESG-compliance. These plans are expected to be published in the second half of 2024 and partners will be encouraged to disseminate the information on it in their national context. However, this does not mark the end of the project. Representatives from the participating QA agencies will convene for four peer-learning workshops this year, fostering dialogue to address common challenges, share good practices, and further build links between their respective agencies. Moreover, in summer 2024, a programme of staff mobilities will be initiated, enabling project participants to visit other QA agencies within the EHEA, with hosts selected according to the needs of each visiting agency. This initiative aims to provide participants with insights into specific topics related to ESG compliance, further enhancing collaboration and knowledge exchange.

SEQA-ESG 2 is a flagship project coordinated by ENQA, funded by the European Commission, to support quality assurance agencies on their pathway to ESG compliance. This is the second round of the project, which builds on first round involving agencies from Albania, the Czech Republic, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, and Slovakia, Further information about the SEQA-ESG 2 project, including an introductory video, is available here.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Read More