Enhancing Quality Management and Recognition in Latin American universities to underpin the Latin American Higher Education Space (EQUAM-LA)


The development of quality assurance (QA) systems in Latin American countries has been a topical issue for over a decade, both nationally and in the context of the Latin American Higher Education Space, which is now driven by ‘ENLACES’, an agreement of major university associations across the region (http://espacioenlaces.org). Many countries have either developed new QA agencies, tasked with both accreditation (Panama and Nicaragua), or have established agencies that have been reforming their models and re-defining how they engage with universities, to install a better quality culture at the institutional level (Colombia and Argentina). Despite the existing opportunities for capacity building, there remains a considerable demand to strengthen internal QA procedures within universities, especially linked to certain fields. Enhancing internal QA management and linking it to processes for recognition should improve the international stance of universities in LA, especially when geared towards standards that have been agreed internationally. In addition, it is important that QA and related structural matters such as recognition become shared endeavours of QA agencies, national authorities and universities, so that each national system with its national ‘architecture’ for QA and accreditation is recognized across borders. EQUAM-LA hence proposes to support universities and national agencies to work together to improve and reinforce internal QA management and processes and link them to specific areas, like recognition, so as to underpin regional integration.

Aims and activities

General Objective

To advance the Latin American Higher Education Space in areas such as recognition of degrees and credits across borders by reinforcing and connecting quality assurance systems for higher education, in which universities and QA agencies are key partners and drivers.

Specific Objectives

SO1: To support internal university procedures for quality management, and link them to enhanced processes for the recognition of foreign degrees and credits, with the guidance of a jointly-developed ‘QA Tool-kit’ for Partner countries in Latin America

SO2: To enhance articulation of university QA Units with international relations offices (IRO) via a training programme, in order to guarantee quality mobility and exchange predicated on mutual recognition

SO3: To align national and regional QA agency support for the development of quality units within universities, their resourcing, and the promotion and use of common tools for quality enhancement and recognition

SO4: To further promote in Latin America an understanding of European tools and standards for quality enhancement and recognition in higher education, so that LA and European QA and recognition systems can be easily related.


To reach the objectives, the following activities are foreseen in the project:

  1. Enhancing synergies and aggregating resources
  2. Developing a ‘QA tool-kit’ to facilitate recognition, and to meet international needs, national requirements and international expectations
  3. Training for QA Units and international relations offices
  4. Aligning and integrating EQA, IQA and recognition practices: Testing the Tool kit

ENQA’s role

ENQA will coordinate two activities:

  1. a study visit on international practices in QA and recognition
  2. an E+ synergies as a means to disseminate project results, to link the outputs of current E+ projects dealing with recognition, QA and mobility.

ENQA will also support other activities of the project:

  • provide expertise for the development of the QA Tool Kit
  • participate in monitoring and consultancy visits to the LA universities to test the Tool kit
  • support the dissemination of the key project outcomes and the quality management of the project


The project involves:

Universidad de Murcia (Spain), OBREAL GLOBAL (Spain), Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain), ANECA (Spain), ENQA (Belgium), Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza” (Italy), University College Cork (Ireland), CONEAU (Argentina), Universidad Nacional del Litoral (Argentina), Universidad Abierta Interamericana (Argentina), CNEA (Nicaragua), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua (Nicaragua), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua (Nicaragua), Universidad Panamá (Panamá), Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá (Panamá), Consejo Centroamericano de Acreditación de la Educación Superior (Panamá), Ministerio de Educación de Panamá (Panamá), Asociación Colombiana de Universidades (Colombia), Fundación Universitaria del Área Andina (Colombia), Universidad de Caldas (Colombia), Universidad de Santander (Colombia).

Funding and duration

The project is being held from September 2019 to August 2022 (36 months).

Contact and further information

Project website: https://www.equamla.org/

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