QA in Europe

External QA activities in line with the ESG

EQAR gathers data on external QA activities both via the database but also through the annual monitoring of the registered agencies’ external QA activities e.g. evaluation, accreditation, audit.

Using these data EQAR prepared a Policy Brief on the topic of external QA activities in line with the ESG along with an accompanying interactive tool allowing a personalised search i.e. by country, QA agency and type of review. The Brief reflects on the latest trends and changes in the external quality assurance of higher education systems across and beyond the EHEA, including on the implementation of key commitments within the EHEA, cross-border quality assurance and European Approach for QA of Joint Programmes.

Some key take aways from the Policy Brief

Policy Brief

  • The year 2019 saw the highest number of external QA activities carried out by registered agencies.
  • In 2019, registered agencies carried out more cross-border external QA activities outside the territories and countries of the EHEA than within, signalling an increasing demand for ESG type of external QA activities to be carried out for higher institutions beyond the EHEA.
  • A small number of QA agencies have recorded either a continuous decrease in their activities for the past four years (A3ES, ACSUG, AKKORK and QAA) or a continuous increase (AQ Austria, NVAO, and QQI) signaling a change in their procedures but also a possible change within the higher education system(s) where they carry out external QA activities.
  • The portfolio of EQAR-registered agencies includes over 300 types of external QA activities comprising of all forms of accreditations, evaluations, certification, assessments, audits or reviews within the scope of the ESG, signaling a diversified picture of external QA activities within the scope of the ESG.
Annual updates on the external QA activities of EQAR-registered agencies

The update provides a regular overview of the scope and volume of EQAR-registered quality assurance agencies’ activities, at home and across borders.

Registered agencies have been requested to provide an annual update on the number of reviews completed, broken down by countries since 2015.

Overview of external QA activities between 2014-2019

In 2019, the 49 EQAR-registered QA agencies carried out a total of 11312 reviews, of which 5% at institutional level, 94% at programme level and 0.6% at joint programme level. The external QA activities were carried out in 67 higher education systems, of which 34 within the European Higher Education Area.

In 2018, the 46 EQAR-registered QA agencies carried out a total of 8929 reviews, of which 7.8% at institutional level, 91,8% at programme level and 0.3% at joint programme level. The external QA activities were carried out in 66 higher education systems, of which 38 within the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).

In 2017, the 45 EQAR-registered QA agencies carried out a total of 10325 external QA activities of which 5,5% at institutional level, 94,3% at programme level and 0.2% at joint programme level. The external quality assurance activities took place in 67 different higher education systems, 39 of which in the European Higher Education Area.

In 2016, 44 EQAR-registered QA agencies carried out a total of 9 764 external QA activities of which 6% at institutional, 93% at programme level and 0.3% at joint programme level. These reviews were spread across 30 EHEA and 20 non-EHEA countries or territories.

In 2015, the 42 EQAR-registered QA agencies carried out a total of 9 591 external quality assurance activities of which 94% at programme level 5,2% at institutional level and 0,7% at joint programme level. These activities were spread across 33 EHEA and 17 non-EHEA countries or territories.

In 2014, the 35 (of a total of 36) EQAR-registered QA agencies carried out 9 125 external quality assurance activities, of which 90% at programme, 8,2% at institutional level and 1.2% at joint programme level. These activities were spread across 29 EHEA member states and several non-EHEA countries and territories.

Use the select option in the Tableau menu for detailed information about target country, type of review or agency.