IMINQA

“Implementation and Innovation in QA through peer learning” (IMINQA) is an umbrella project to support the work of the Bologna Thematic Peer Group C on Quality Assurance. The project will focus not only on quality assurance in the broad sense and thereby work on the implementation of the key commitment in all EHEA countries while making use of the peer support method, but also dive into some specific themes with an innovative focus.

Apart from the organisation of six TPG meetings (over three years), there are two other packages in the project that are open to all participants in the TPG and that support the overall working structure of the group:

Staff Mobility programme

The Thematic Peer Group C on Quality Assurance was established with the aim of fostering peer support among countries. Accordingly, a staff mobility scheme was created to facilitate mobilities across Europe with the aim of sharing expertise in the field.

Within the IMINQA project, supporting the Bologna Thematic Peer Group C on Quality Assurance, funding is available for staff mobilities among the partner countries of the group. As these mobilities are organised on individual basis or in small groups, the specific needs for learning can be addressed in a very effective way. A matchmaking committee guides the process of the staff mobility scheme.

The first call was published in May 2022 and the second one in March 2023. The first staff mobility round included applications mostly by QA agencies (34), followed by ministries (4) and stakeholder organisations (3). For the second round the Matchmaking Committee reviewed 29 applications for staff mobility and approved 31 mobilities, expected to take place between June 2023 and February 2024.

Three Peer Learning Activities (PLAs)

Three Peer Learning Activities (PLAs) are organised on EHEA policy priorities in quality assurance. These activities aim to catalyse exchange between national authorities and stakeholders on effective approaches to implement these agreed policies in their national/local QA systems.

The policy priorities addressed by the PLAs are aligned with the priorities identified by the Rome Ministerial Communiqué (2020):

  • Aligning the legal framework with the ESG (i.e. EHEA key commitment)
  • Cross-border QA (CBQA) and QA of transnational education (TNE)
  • European Approach for QA of Joint Programmes

To enable a productive exchange, each PLA will be informed by a thematic preparatory note based on existing analyses, data and reports, complemented by additional analysis (e.g. surveys, focus groups) where required.

End objective: based on all three PLAs, a cross-cutting policy brief will inform the preparations of the Tirana Ministerial Conference 2024.

The PLAs were open to members of the TPG C on QA.

Next to this, three thematic topics are addressed:

Working Group on the QA of Micro-credentials

Aim: to create practical tools for QA of micro-credentials as a follow-up of the MICROBOL project.

The Working Group on the QA of Micro-credentials will create practical tools for QA of micro-credentials as a follow-up of the MICROBOL project (2019-2021). The task of the working group is specifically to address the recommendations of the MICROBOL project related to internal and external quality assurance.

Another recommendation of the Microbol project was to “ensure the inclusion of micro-credential providers in DEQAR, based on quality assurance in line with the ESG”.

The first step into achieving that was to develop a data model for alternative (now referred to as “other”) providers and micro credentials in DEQAR. This task became part of the IMINQA QA of Micro-credential working group. EQAR organised/undertook the following activities within this working group:

  • At a Peer Learning Activity in Brussels in February (2023), EQAR presented a mock-up of a data model for alternative (now referred to as “other”) providers and micro credentials and collected feedback from the participants on how to best present this in DEQAR.
  • Taking the proposal of the data model forward, EQAR was to ensure a clear distinction between alternative providers and higher education institutions, but also to add specific data to describe micro-credentials and other Life Long Learning provisions (or any other short learning programme not leading to a full degree).
  • At the IMINQA Working Group meeting on the QA of micro-credentials in September (2023), EQAR presented the first results in the database after four EQAR registered agencies had tested the new system (ACQUIN, IAAR, ECTE and ZEvA). Participants provided valuable feedback on the remaining dilemmas, such as the use of trustworthy national databases of education providers and the terminology used in the database.
  • The first public showcase of the visual solution for inclusion of alternative (non-higher education institution) providers in DEQAR took place at the EQAR Members’ Dialogue* in Prague. Participants were again asked for feedback (as was done at every stage of the project).
    Check out the presentation here
  • In February 2024, EQAR presented the newest expansion of the DEQAR database during a webinar* targeted at all EQAR registered agencies. Nearly 100 participants of 39 registered agencies attended the webinar. After the presentation on the new section in DEQAR on “other providers and micro credentials evaluated through methodologies aligned with the ESG”, agencies were invited to start testing the system for a period of two weeks & submit feedback.
    See the presentation here

*These last two events were not technically part of the IMINQA project, but continued the work started on the topic of other providers and micro credentials in DEQAR.

Participating countries/organisations in the Working group:
Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium/Flemish Community, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, EQAR, ESU, EUA, European Commission, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Malta, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK/Scotland

Working Group on the QA of European Universities

The Working Group on the QA of European Universities involves national authorities, QA agencies and of course European Universities. The main work of the group is focused on the follow up of the EUniQ framework for the QA of European Universities.

As the development of (QA of) European Universities has just started, peer learning activities will be carried out to increase mutual awareness and understanding of QA expectations between the different stakeholders. Equally, or even more important, is the necessity of bringing together national authorities to discuss the legal obstacles.

Participating countries/organisations:
Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium/Flemish Community, Croatia, Cyprus, ESU, ETUCE, EUA, European Commission, EQAR, Finland, France, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden. 

Digitalisation of QA processes

Aims:

  • Map the situation of QA systems in EHEA countries from the perspective of digitalisation (including changes triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic) as well as data management and sharing.
  • Reflect on a medium-term vision for enhancing QA processes and procedures based on technology.
  • Synergies will be eventually built to the QA-FIT project so that the outcomes of this (umbrella) project can feed into the future vision for QA to be put forward by the QA-FIT project. Other new studies and initiatives will also be taken up during the time-frame of the activity.
Click here for more information on the project (EHEA page)