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European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education


In most European countries, higher education institutions or study programmes are subject to regular external review by a quality assurance agency. The European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) is a register of such agencies, including those that substantially comply with a common set of principles for quality assurance in Europe.
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News

Register now includes 37 agencies from 18 countries

4 December 2014: The Register Committee convened in Rome on 28 and 29 November and admitted the following four new agencies to the Register:

  • A3ES - Agency for Evaluation and Accreditation of Higher Education (Portugal)
  • AQ Austria - Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria
  • CAQA - Commission for Accreditation and Quality Assurance (Serbia)
  • Unibasq - Agency for Quality of the Basque University System (Spain)

The Register Committee also decided to renew the registration of another four agencies:

  • AAC-DEVA - Andalusian Agency of Knowledge, Department of Evaluation and Accreditation (Spain)
  • ACSUG - Agency for Quality Assurance in the Galician University System (Spain)
  • CTI - Engineering Degree Commission (France)
  • IEP - Institutional Evaluation Programme

These agencies have demonstrated their substantial compliance with the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ESG) through an independent external review.

European Approach for Quality Assurance of Joint Programmes

28 November 2014. The Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG) endorsed the proposal for a European Approach for Quality Assurance of Joint ProgrammesEHEA ministers are invited to approve the proposal at their Yerevan Conference, in May 2015, together with the revised version of the ESG.

Joint programmes are a hallmark of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). The European Approach has been developed to ease external quality assurance of these programmes: it sets standards that are based on the agreed tools of the EHEA, without applying additional national criteria. More ...

RIQAA Final Conference/EQAR Members' Dialogue

21/22 October 2014. The final results of the RIQAA project (Recognising International Quality Assurance Activity in the EHEA) were presented and discussed at the RIQAA Final Conference and EQAR Members' Dialogue organised in Palermo (Italy). The conference aimed to inform policy makers about the current level of recognition of quality assurance agency results and decisions and to enable higher education institutions to make an informed choice to work with internationally active quality assurance agencies adapted to their specific mission and profile.

More information about the event (presentations, project report, photos)

19 September 2014: BFUG endorses revised ESG (European Standards and Guidelines) The Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG) endorsed the proposal for the revised version of the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG).

19 September 2014: BFUG endorses revised ESG (European Standards and Guidelines)

The revised version can be used by higher education institutions, quality assurance agencies and other stakeholders to prepare the necessary changes. The revised ESG are subject to final approval by the EHEA Ministerial Conference in May 2015 in Yerevan (Armenia).

The EQAR Register Committee adopted a policy on transition to the revised ESG concerning registration of quality assurance agencies. The policy aims to ensure that by 2020 all agencies on the Register will have been reviewed against the revised ESG.

Revised Version of the ESG [PDF, proposal endorsed by BFUG]
EQAR Policy on Transition to the Revised ESG [PDF]
More information on the revision process

27 May 2014: Two new agencies admitted to the Register At its meeting on 22 and 23 May 2014 in Kaunas (Lithuania), the Register Committee admitted two quality assurance agencies to the Register:

27 May 2014: Two new agencies admitted to the Register

The Register Committee also decided to renew the registration of the Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance (ARACIS) and the Polish Accreditation Committee (PKA). Provisional registration was granted to the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC), following a merger of previously-registered FINHEEC with two evaluation bodies responsible for other education sectors.

The Register now features 32 agencies that have demonstrated their substantial compliance with the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ESG) through an independent external review.

EQAR Annual Report 2013 

EQAR Annual Report 2013

Highlights of the year 2013 included the launch of the RIQAA project, the admission of quality assurance agencies to the Register from three countries with no agencies on the Register before (Estonia, Slovenia and United Kingdom), and the publication of the Register Committee's full decisions since the beginning of 2013.

Read the Annual Report 2013 [PDF, web version] [printable A4 version]

20 May 2014: EU Council Calls for Cross-Border Quality Assurance The Education, Youth, Culture and Sport meeting of the Council of the European Union called for "opening up opportunities for quality assurance agencies to offer cross-border quality assurance through [EQAR]" so as to "stimulate a European dimension in quality assurance and to facilitate cross-border evaluation and simpler procedures for joint programmes".

20 May 2014: EU Council Calls for Cross-Border Quality Assurance

In their conclusions, Ministers underlined that quality assurance "increases transparency and underpins trust in the relevance and quality of knowledge, skills, competences, and qualifications" and stressed that "cross-border cooperation in quality assurance has a vital role to play in building trust and raising quality standards". Ministers further suggested "allowing EQAR-registered agencies to evaluate institutions offering cross-border and franchised provision" in Europe.

EQAR has been analysing legal frameworks and current experience in cross-border QA in its RIQAA project. EQAR is also actively contributing to the work on a European Approach for Quality Assurance of Joint Programmes, which has recently been endorsed in principle by the Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG).

Council Conclusions on Quality Assurance [PDF]

29/30 April 2014: QAA Seminar held in Bayreuth, Germany EQAR organised a two-day Seminar on Cross-Border External Quality Assurance in the German town of Bayreuth. Fifty participants, mostly representatives from QA agencies, gathered to discuss their experiences of carrying out QA reviews across border.

29/30 April 2014: QAA Seminar held in Bayreuth, Germany

The seminar was part of the RIQAA project, co-financed with help from the European Commission's Lifelong Learning Programme, and hosted by ACQUIN (Accreditation Certification and Quality Assurance Institute).

Based on their experiences in cross-border QA, participants discussed the rationale behind the internationally activity of QAAs, EQAR's role in enhancing international trust and how to contribute to the recognition of quality assurance agencies' results and decisions in line with the EHEA Ministers' commitment.

Please click here to view the different presentations and seminar agenda.

8 April 2014: 8th EQAR General Assembly in Athens EQAR members convened in Athens for the 8th General Assembly of the organisation. The Annual Report 2013, including the Report of the Register Committee, was presented at the event and will be published on the EQAR website shortly.

8 April 2014: 8th EQAR General Assembly in Athens

The General Assembly approved the Work Plan 2014/215 of which the RIQAA project (Recognising International Quality Assurance Activity in the EHEA) is one of the main activities for 2014. The final dissemination conference of the project (and Members' Dialogue) will take place in Rome in September 2014.

EQAR is also planning to co-organise regional peer-learning events on cross-border quality assurance in cooperation with national ministries. Ministries interested in co-hosting such an event are kindly requested to contact the EQAR Secretariat.

The General Assembly elected the following Executive Board for a two-year mandate:

  • Fernando Galán Palomares (ESU)
  • Maria Kelo (ENQA)
  • Tia Loukkola (EUA)
  • Andreas Orphanides (EURASHE)

A special word of thanks was given to Lesley Wilson who served on the EQAR Board since its foundation as well as to the other two outgoing board members Stefan Delplace and Allan Päll.

Four new Register Committee members were approved by the General Assembly. Their two-year mandate will start on 1 July 2014. Incoming members Olav Øye, Freddy Coignoul, Anita Līce, and Tibor Szanto will replace outgoing members Anca Prisacariu, Henrik Toft Jensen, Christoph Anz and Mala Singh - these last three having served on the Register Committee since 2008.

HE stakeholder organisations present proposal for revised ESG 18 March 2014: The E4 Group (ENQA, ESU, EUA, EURASHE), in cooperation with Education International (EI), BUSINESSEUROPE and EQAR have today (18 March) published a joint proposal for a revised version of the “Standards and Guidelines for quality assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG)”.

HE stakeholder organisations present proposal for revised ESG

The proposal seeks to make the ESG clearer, reflects the recent changes in the EHEA, makes a more explicit link to the learning and teaching process in the section on internal QA and defines the relationship of QA with other Bologna Process developments that have taken place since 2005 (including those relating to Qualifications Frameworks and learning outcomes).

Read more and download the proposal

Progress in Quality Assurance in the EHEA 28 January 2014: The European Commission published its triennial Report on Progress in Quality Assurance in Higher Education, following up on the European Parliament and Council’s recommendation on quality assurance in higher education of 2006.

EQAR is pleased that the Commission will work with EU Member States to “encourage more quality assurance agencies to apply for EQAR registration; and to allow foreign EQAR-registered agencies to operate in their HE systems”, consistently with the corresponding commitment made by Ministers of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) in their Bucharest Communiqué (2012). Opening higher education institutions the possibility to choose a quality assurance agency that best suits their mission and profile may help institutions to have an external evaluation, audit or accreditation that best benefits its own internal quality assurance activities.

As the report sets out, many countries in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) yet have to take steps to implement the Bucharest Communiqué commitment. Through its current project “Recognising International Quality Assurance Activity” (2013/14), co-funded by the EU Lifelong Learning Programme, EQAR aims to contribute to advancing policy developments in that respect.

The project analyses both the existing national frameworks for enabling higher education institutions to work with foreign EQAR-registered quality assurance agencies, as well as experiences, challenges and opportunities observed by quality assurance agencies and higher education institutions in accreditation, evaluation and audit across borders.

The Report further calls to “minimise bureaucracy” in external quality assurance of joint programmes, so as to facilitate their development and growth. While ministers have already committed to “recognise quality assurance decisions of EQAR-registered agencies on joint and double degree programmes” (Bucharest Communiqué), this is not a reality yet in all EHEA countries. EQAR has been participating in discussions on a set of European principles for external quality assurance of joint programmes, as a way to promote the principle of a single review adopted in the Bucharest Communiqué.

EQAR has further been actively participating in the revision of the European Standards and Guidelines for Higher Education (ESG). By enhancing the clarity and applicability of the ESG, including clear articulation with other relevant Bologna Process tools such as qualifications frameworks, the revised ESG is expected to enhance the international trust in a coherent European framework for QA and, thus, to contribute to the recognition of quality assurance agencies' results and decisions across the EHEA.

Further information:
Press Release European Commission

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In the context of the Bologna Process EQAR has been founded by EURASHE, ENQA, EUA and ESU. / Copyright of the logos above is with the organisations.

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