The project is framed by the 2012 Bucharest ministerial communiqué which stated: “We commit to both maintaining the public responsibility for quality assurance and to actively involve a wide range of stakeholders in this development.” In the 2018 Paris Communiqué, the ministers of education stated that “fulfilling our commitments depends on the concerted efforts of national policy-makers, public authorities, institutions, staff, students and other stakeholders as well as coordination at EHEA level.”
The Bologna Implementation Report concludes: “there is still improvement to be made to meet the Bologna Process commitment to full student engagement. [Concerning employers, in 19 out of 48 countries,] there are no formal requirements with regard to the involvement of employers.”
In addition, the Thematic Peer Group C on Quality Assurance (TPG C on QA) of BFUG identified the theme “Role and engagement of stakeholders in internal and external quality assurance” as one in which work is further needed.
The ESQA project aims to support the activity of the Peer Group C on stakeholders’ involvement in external quality assurance (EQA). It will explore various categories of stakeholder engagement and expectations stakeholders have towards EQA with the aim to make this engagement effective and diversified. Recommendations will be provided to the national authorities and QA agencies in terms of stakeholders’ involvement, regarding ways to strengthen dialogue and cooperation, as well for their effective involvement in QA processes. A Study and a Guideline on stakeholders’ involvement will be developed, and respectively peer-learning activities will be organised with the participation of the TPG C on QA members.
ENQA is in charge of coordinating and developing a Study on stakeholder involvement in external QA as well as supporting and playing an active role in other project activities such as organisation of peer-learning activities, the development of Guide on stakeholder involvement in EQA, and providing feedback on other project outputs.
The consortium is led by the Romanian Ministry of National Education and includes five QA agencies (the Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education, ARACIS; the High Council for the evaluation of Research and Higher education, Hcéres; the National Evaluation and Accreditation Agency, NEAA; the Danish Accreditation Institution, AI; and the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Education and Research, ANACEC; as well as European stakeholder organisations representing QA agencies (the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education, ENQA), HEIs (the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education, EURASHE) and students (the European Students’ Union, ESU).
ESQA is funded by Erasmus+ KA3 Support to Policy Reform – Support to the implementation of EHEA reforms – 2018-2020. The project runs from 1 May 2019 – 30 April 2021 (24 months).