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European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education

Welcome to EQAR

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, listing those that substantially comply with a common set of principles for quality assurance in Europe.


28 June 2016: Survey on potential database of external QA reports

EQAR is currently studying the feasibility of a European database of higher education institutions and programmes that have been subject to quality assurance by EQAR-registered agencies, allowing easy access to the corresponding reports and decisions.

In order to establish the relevance and usefulness of such a database, EQAR  launched two surveys. One survey was public and addressed to all potential users, while the second survey addressed the registered quality assurance agencies. The survey has been closed since 1 August 2016.

Towards the end of November, EQAR will be discussing with European governments and stakeholder organisations how relevant such a database would be for the EHEA, and how it could be realised. To enrich this discussion, feedback will be needed from as many potential users as possible.


15 June 2016: First Agency Registered Based on ESG 2015 Register Committee members gathered in Lisbon on 5/6 June 2016 for their bi-annual meeting, hosted by the Lisbon School of Nursing (ESEL).

15 June 2016: First Agency Registered Based on ESG 2015

Since the adoption of the 2015 version of the ESG by ministers in Yerevan one year before, the Committee considered and approved the first application for inclusion on the Register based on the ESG 2015, by MusiQuE (Music Quality Enhancement). The Register now includes 43 quality assurance agencies.

Other topics discussed during the meeting were the eligibility process, questions of principle and the annual monitoring of registered agencies.

The Register Committee also received and considered a number of Substantive Change Reports. Registered agencies are expected to notify EQAR about changes to their legal form and status, amendments to their statutes and substantial changes in their process or methodology. Under the new Procedures for Applications, the Substantive Change Reports are also published in full.

The next Register Committee meeting will take place in the beginning of December. Review documents for initial applications must be submitted before 15 September. More about the application process.

9 June 2016: Training material on the ESG 2015 - EQUIP 

9 June 2016: Training material on the ESG 2015 - EQUIP

On 6-7 June, the EQUIP project organised its final training workshop on the ESG 2015. The workshop took place in Lisbon, directly after the Register Committee meeting.

Altogether there were five events, three workshops and two webinars, organised by the EQUIP Project in the first six months of this year. In different formats and covering various (sub) topics they addressed the changes in external quality assurance as a result of the ESG 2015, among which:

  • the implications of the new focus on learning and teaching in the ESG 2015;
  • student-centred learning;
  • admission, progression, recognition and certification in view of the ESG 2015;
  • new modes of delivery, including e-learning and dual education programmes;
  • the enhancement of programmes by connecting internal and external quality assurance.

The project now moves on to the analysis and study of implementation challenges, good practices, and proposed approaches to solving these challenges. The project partners invite all stakeholders to submit examples of good practice through the open call here.

In 2017, several focus groups will be organised by the project partners. EQAR will organise the focus group addressed to ministries, which will take place in the autumn of 2017.

A wide range of training material on the ESG 2015 is now available on the project website here. Next to the ESG 2015, a comparative analysis of the ESG 2015 and ESG 2005 is also available, as well as all contributions to the workshops and webinars: presentations and recordings. 

7 March 2016: General Assembly in Amsterdam EQAR's 10th General Assembly was held in Amsterdam on 7 March, hosted by the Dutch EU Presidency, in conjunction with the BFUG meeting on 7-8 March.

7 March 2016: General Assembly in Amsterdam

Representatives of 38 EQAR members convened to review and adopt, among others, the EQAR Self-Evaluation Report as well as a number of recommendations directly resulting from the self-evaluation process.

Apart from recommendations on how to further improve or expand current practices, two distinct objectives came out of the self-evaluation exercise and were directly taken forward into the Work Plan:

  • To study the feasibility of a database of higher education institutions and programmes that have been subject to quality assurance by registered agencies.
  • To establish or clarify the position of a president in order to raise the visibility of EQAR and to enhance stability and leadership internally.

EQAR will prepare concrete, operational proposals on both topics which will then be discussed at the Members Dialogue in Oslo in November 2016.

The General Assembly elected the following Executive Board for a two-year mandate as per 1 April 2016. According to the agreed annual rotation, the Executive Board will assume the following functions:

  • Re-elected: Tia Loukkola (EUA) - President
  • Re-elected: Fernando Galán Palomares (ESU) - Vice-President
  • Re-elected: Maria Kelo (ENQA)   - Vice-President
  • Newly elected: Johan Cloet (EURASHE) - Treasurer

EQAR Annual Report 2015 [PDF, 3MB]
Self-Evaluation Report [PDF, 2MB]

7 December 2015: Enhancing Quality through innovative Policy & Practice (EQUIP) 

7 December 2015: Enhancing Quality through innovative Policy & Practice (EQUIP)

EQAR is organising five events, with colleagues of the EQUIP project (EURASHE, ENQA, EUA, ESU, EI, UiO, CCISP), on the use of the ESG 2015 as a tool for change in European higher education in the first semester of 2016.

Free-of-charge registrations for these events are now open here.

Join us in our workshops and webinars:

  • Webinar on 17 February 2016*
  • Workshop in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on 14-15 March 2016
  • Webinar on 13 April 2016**
  • Workshop in Vienna, Austria on 9-10 May 2016
  • Workshop in Lisbon, Portugal on 6-7 June 2016

During these workshops and webinars you will have the opportunity to exchange with peers and all stakeholders of higher education on the changes in the ESG 2015 and specific themes, including the importance of student-centred learning.

* To look at the status of external quality assurance in the EHEA and the challenges that quality assurance agencies may face in adapting their processes in light of the ESG 2015.

**To explore the emphasis that the ESG 2015 puts on the link between institutional quality assurance and the academic quality of higher education and the resulting focus on student-centred learning and the need to support teachers in adopting a new approach to their work.

As workshop places are limited we encourage you to register as soon as possible. Full information on the programme, speakers as well as practicalities will follow soon.

26-27 November 2015: EQAR Members' Dialogue - Sofia This year's Members' Dialogue was held in Sofia, hosted by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science.

26-27 November 2015: EQAR Members' Dialogue - Sofia

EQAR Members' Dialogue in Sofia 

The Members' Dialogue brings together EQAR Governmental Members, stakeholder organisations, permanent observers and statutory bodies in an informal setting to allow for lively discussions on recent policy developments in quality assurance.

This year topics included the new developments in QA since Yerevan, the challenges brought by the ESG 2015, the automatic recognition of degrees, examples of legal frameworks for the revised ESG and on cross-border EQA and the implementation of the European Approach for QA of Joint programmes. Participants were also asked for their input on the EQAR self-evaluation.

To download presentations, the agenda and photos, click here.

11 June 2015: Four Agencies Newly Registered - Policy on Use and Interpretation of the ESG Register Committee members convened in Dublin on 4-5 June to discuss various (renewal) applications and the transition to the revised ESG.

11 June 2015: Four Agencies Newly Registered - Policy on Use and Interpretation of the ESG

St. Patrick's College, Dublin 

The following agencies were newly admitted to the Register:

  • BAC - British Accreditation Council for Independent Further and Higher Education
  • fmdi - Fundación para el Conocimiento Madridmasd
  • KAA - Kosovo Accreditation Agency
  • QQI - Quality and Qualifications Ireland

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

  • ACSUCYL – Agency for the University System in Castilla y Léon
  • AHPGS - Accreditation Agency in Health and Social Science
  • evalag – Evaluation Agency Baden-Würrtemberg

With regard to the transition to the revised European Standards and Guidelines, the Register Committee adopted a new policy document providing an ex ante transparency of the official EQAR interpretation of the ESG. The new policy “Use and Interpretations of the ESG” aims to increase transparency, understanding and consistency within the decision-making process of the Register Committee.

The main target groups of the policy on the Use and Interpretation of the ESG are the quality assurance agencies, the external review coordinators and the external review panels.

The Register Committee also updated the Procedures for Applications. We are currently updating the Guide for Applicants and additional information for applicant quality assurance agencies.

Register of quality assurance agencies
European Standards and Guidelines (2015 version) [PDF]
Comparative table: ESG 2015 vs ESG 2005 [PDF]
Use and Interpretation of the ESG for the European Register of QA Agencies [PDF]
Policy on Transition to the Revised ESG [PDF]

14/15 May 2015: Revised ESG adopted in Yerevan At the ninth EHEA Ministerial Conference, Ministers adopted the Yerevan Communiqué including the Revised Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) and the European Approach for Quality Assurance of Joint Programmes.

14/15 May 2015: Revised ESG adopted in Yerevan

The revision process started in 2012, when Ministers mandated the E4 group in cooperation with Education International, BUSINESSEUROPE and EQAR to revise the ESG in order “to improve their clarity, applicability and usefulness, including their scope” and submit their proposal to the Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG).

The EQAR Register Committee has been preparing for the adoption of the Revised ESG at various stages of the process and on different levels. In early June, a policy document on the Use and Interpretation of the ESG as well as information on the future application process will be published.

Revised Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG)

European Approach for Quality Assurance of Joint Programmes.

Annual Report 2014 In 2014, the Register extended to 37 quality assurance agencies from 18 countries.

Annual Report 2014

Cover of the Annual Report 2014

Further highlights of the year include EQAR's preparations for transition to the revised ESG and the conclusion of the RIQAA project, with a number of conclusions and policy recommendations on the development of cross-border quality assurance.

Read the Annual Report 2014 now or receive a paper copy

26 March 2015: EQAR General Assembly in Riga At EQAR’s 9th General Assembly, held in Riga on 23 March in conjunction with the BFUG meeting, six new members were welcomed and attended their first General Assembly: Azerbaijan, Finland, Lithuania, Moldova, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and the United Kingdom.

26 March 2015: EQAR General Assembly in Riga

The General Assembly reviewed and adopted the Message to the Yerevan Ministerial Conference which highlights some of EQAR’s activities as well as the main developments in cross-border quality assurance since the last ministerial meeting in 2012 (Bucharest) and offers a number of recommendations for the Yerevan Communiqué.

Members of the GA took note of the “Use and Interpretation of the ESG”, a policy document prepared by the Register Committee, based on the current "Practices and Interpretations". Likewise linked to the revised ESG, the General Assembly considered a number of amendments to the “Procedures for Applications” and approved to extend the current term of the Register Committee by one year to ensure a smooth and stable transition to the revised ESG. These documents will be published after the Yerevan Ministerial Conference in May.

The Annual Report 2014, including the Report of the Register Committee, was presented to the General Assembly and will be published shortly.

29 January 2015: Register Committee Special Session on New ESG On 23 and 24 January 2015 the Register Committee held their 14th meeting in Brussels to discuss, amongst others, the revised version of the ESG, the decision making process of the Register Committee and external reviews of quality assurance agencies.

29 January 2015: Register Committee Special Session on New ESG

VLUHR-QA (the Quality Assurance Unit of the Flemish Council of University and University Colleges), already provisionally registered by way of the EQAR Merger Policy was accepted to the Register after having demonstrated their substantial compliance with the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ESG) through an independent external review.

The main reason for convening the Register Committee meeting so soon after the last meeting in November was to discuss the Revised Version of the ESG and set up ESG Interpretation Guidelines. These Guidelines will be published after the approval of the Revised ESG by the next Ministerial Conference of the EHEA in May 2015, and are meant to:

  • increase the transparency of the Register Committee's decision-making practice;
  • help demonstrate consistency in the Committee's practices, interpretations and decisions on applications;
  • aid external review panels in understanding how the Committee has interpreted the ESG and used external review reports;
  • facilitate the understanding of the Committee's public decisions.

The ESG Interpretation Guidelines address three main target groups: quality assurance agencies seeking registration on EQAR or having to renew their registration, coordinators of external reviews that are used for registration on EQAR and external review panels undertaking a review against the ESG.

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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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