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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 the official register of such agencies, listing those that work in line with an agreed common framework to ensure the quality of higher education institutions and study programmes.

EQAR launched the Database of External Quality Assurance Results (DEQAR) in 2018 to ensure direct access to the reports and decisions of EQAR-registered agencies.

EQAR's vision, mission and values

EQAR’s vision is a coherent quality assurance framework for the European Higher Education Area..

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in which higher education institutions have the freedom to turn to a suitable EQAR-registered agency for their external quality assurance reviews, and in which qualifications are thus universally recognised.

Mission Statement

  • EQAR’s mission is to further the development of the European Higher Education Area by increasing the transparency of quality assurance, and thus enhancing trust and confidence in European higher education.
  • EQAR seeks to provide clear and reliable information on quality assurance provision in Europe, thus improving trust among agencies.
  • EQAR seeks to facilitate the mutual acceptance of quality assurance decisions and to improve trust among higher education institutions, thus promoting mobility and recognition.
  • EQAR seeks to reduce opportunities for “accreditation mills” to gain credibility in Europe, thus further enhancing the confidence of students, institutions, the labour market and society more generally in the quality of higher education provision in Europe.
  • To achieve its mission EQAR, through its independent Register Committee, manages a register of quality assurance agencies operating in Europe that substantially comply with the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ESG).

Values

  • EQAR recognises the diversity of approaches to external quality assurance and is therefore open to all agencies, whether operating at programme or institutional level, and whether providing accreditation, evaluation or audit services.
  • EQAR is committed to the principles on which the ESG are based: external quality assurance should recognise the central responsibility of higher education institutions for quality development and should be carried out by independent quality assurance agencies in a transparent, objective and responsible manner, involving their stakeholders and leading to substantiated results based on well-defined procedures and criteria.
  • EQAR acts independently from other organisations and is committed to taking proportionate, consistent, fair and objective decisions.
  • EQAR makes transparent its mode of operation and its procedures while ensuring necessary confidentiality.
  • EQAR is committed to continuously improving the quality of its work.

DEQAR

Rationale and principles of the Database of External Quality Assurance Results

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DEQAR is the Database of External Quality Assurance Results on activities performed by EQAR-registered quality assurance agencies.

DEQAR enables a broad range of users to satisfy their information needs and support different types of decisions (e.g. recognition of degrees, mobility of students, portability of grants/loans).

While all EQAR-registered QA agencies publish reports and decisions on their own websites (as stipulated by the ESG), users had difficulties finding and accessing such information, especially from other countries.

  • All information in DEQAR is presented in the same readable and consistent manner, independently from the country of origin, with the possibility of refining searches via a variety of criteria.
  • DEQAR not only collects their reports and decisions but also helps to understand reports in their context by describing the national QA frameworks of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) countries.
  • All EQAR-registered agencies have the right (but not the obligation) to upload their reports and decisions to the database. Only institutions and programmes that were quality-assured by agencies participating in DEQAR can be found in the database, with the number of agencies participating growing slowly but steadily.
  • Through this database EQAR contributes to the transparency of external quality assurance in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).

Explore the database
DEQAR explained in words
DEQAR explained in images (1,5 minute video)

Criteria for inclusion

Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area

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The agreed common framework to ensure the quality of higher education institutions and study programmes is known as theStandards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG)

  • Quality assurance agencies that wish to be included on the Register need to demonstrate that they operate in substantial compliance with the ESG.
  • All EQAR-registered agencies have the right to include their reports and decisions in the DEQAR database. You can recognise those EQAR-registered agencies that publish their QA results on DEQAR by the orange buttons next to their entry on the list of registered agencies, e.g: View 4711 reports on 11 institutions

The criteria and principles of EQAR registration
How to apply for registration

History

EQAR is the only official organisation to be established directly as a result of the Bologna Process

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and forms a key part of the European Higher Education Area infrastructure.

Bergen 2005
The concept of a European register of quality assurance agencies was initially welcomed by the ministers of the Bologna signatory countries in 2005 at their Bergen summit.

After the Bergen summit, a first proposal for a register was presented to the ministers in the report Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area prepared by the E4* organisations. Back then ministers adopted the Standards and Guidelines as a common European reference point for internal and external quality assurance of higher education.

London 2007
At their summit in London in May 2007 ministers “welcome[d] the establishment of a register by the E4 group, working in partnership, based on their proposed operational model” in their Communiqué. The E4 Group presented the operational model to ministers in the Report to the London Conference of Ministers on a European Register of Quality Assurance Agencies.

Brussels 2008
Following the ministers’ mandate, the aforementioned model was implemented in practice and the EQAR Association was founded on 4 March 2008 as an independent organisation in charge of establishing and managing a register of quality assurance agencies. The objectives of EQAR were:

  • Promote student mobility by providing a basis for the increase of trust among higher education institutions.
  • Reduce opportunities for “accreditation mills” to gain credibility.
  • Provide a basis for governments to authorise higher education institutions to choose any agency from the Register, if that is compatible with national arrangements.
  • Provide a means for higher education institutions to choose between different agencies, if that is compatible with national arrangements.
  • Serve as an instrument to improve the quality of agencies and to promote mutual trust among them.

*The E4 Group are the main stakeholder organisations in the field of higher education and the founding members of EQAR:

  • European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA)
  • European Students Union (ESU)
  • European University Association (EUA)
  • European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE)

Apart from founding members, EQAR also has social partner members (BUSINESSEUROPE and Education International) and governmental members. More about EQAR membership as well as the list of governmental members here.