Quality assurance and internationalisation: state of play and perspectives for the future

Internationalisation of higher education is at the heart of the history and development of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). The common tools and frameworks, to be implemented in all signatory countries, aim to support mobility, recognition and cross-border cooperation. The European quality assurance framework is key to facilitating internationalisation as a basis for trust and transparency in higher education institutions, their learning and teaching activities, and the resulting qualifications awarded to students.

This paper explores the state of implementation of the various quality assurance tools that support internationalisation, discuss how current quality assurance arrangements both support and inhibit international activities of higher education institutions, and reflect on how these challenges might be addressed, including through the upcoming revision of the ESG. As such, the paper provides input for further discussion. The material for the paper draws on the results of recent surveys to map activities and perceptions in the field of quality assurance across national authorities, quality assurance agencies, higher education institutions and students. The research was conducted as part of the QA-FIT project (Quality Assurance Fit for the Future) and is supplemented by other information and data held by the contributing organisations. The paper focuses on internationalisation in the sense of cross-border activities of institutions and agencies within the EHEA, rather than other approaches, such as internationalisation at home, inclusion of foreign experts in internal and external quality assurance processes, and participation in international networks, projects and partnerships.

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