EQAR is deeply shocked by the Russian forces’ unacceptable and unjustifiable attack on Ukraine.
Ukraine is a governmental member of EQAR. In a message to the representative of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, the EQAR President and Director expressed the entire EQAR team’s solidarity and assured our colleagues that we stand with Ukraine in these difficult days.
In its decisions of 24 February 2022 and 25 February 2022, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers condemned this attack in the strongest terms, urged the Russian Federation to cease its military operations in Ukraine and considered the invasion a serious violation of the Statute of the Council of Europe; this subsequently led to the Russian Federation being expelled from the Council of Europe.
The Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG) condemned the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine and Belarus’ role in the war as fundamental violation of the values, principles and goals of the EHEA, and of the obligations and commitments undertaken since joining the EHEA. As a result, the BFUG suspended the Russian Federation’s and Belarus’ representation in all structures and activities of the EHEA.
EQAR’s work to further the EHEA is based on the same principles of pursuit of peace, rule of law and democracy; EQAR therefore supported the above decision. Moreover:
- EQAR will not initiate any contact or collaboration with any central government agency of the Russian Federation for the time of the invasion; the same applies to any other country that actively supports the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Russia is not a governmental member of EQAR.)
- EQAR encourages registered quality assurance agencies to award any possible support to Ukrainian higher education institutions where it is in their power. For example, agencies should extend/prolong validity periods of quality assurance/accreditation decisions when necessary, given that institutions evidently could not renew an accreditation in the current conditions; DEQAR records should be updated accordingly.
- EQAR recommends that registered agencies do not engage in quality assurance procedures or other work with higher education institutions from Russia unless they can assure themselves that such cooperation is based on shared European values; agencies should assess on a case-by-case basis whether it is appropriate to continue existing procedures/work at this time. The same should apply to any other country that actively supports the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
- In particular, EQAR recommends that registered agencies do not engage in any procedures or other cooperation with higher education institutions whose leaders signed the Russian Union of Rectors’ (RUR) statement (in Russian), as said statement explicitly supports the invasion of Ukraine and is diametrically opposed to the values of the EHEA.
- Given the suspension of the Russian Federation’s and Belarus’ representation in the EHEA, the EQAR Register Committee considers that operations in Russia and Belarus will temporarily not qualify to fulfil the eligibility criterion for EQAR registration that an agency operates in the EHEA. As a result, the registration of agencies operating only in Russia was suspended until Russia’s representation in the EHEA will resume.