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EQUIP project partners publish QA study

01 March 2018

The partners of the EQUIP project, including EUA, have published a study and recommendations regarding the role of quality assurance (QA) in improving higher education in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).

The study is the result of a series of activities including workshops, surveys and focus groups implemented under the framework of the EQUIP project ‘Enhancing quality through innovative policy & practice’. The aims of the activities were to support QA stakeholders in meeting the expectations of the ESG 2015, and to explore how to tackle the most common challenges in internal and external quality assurance in practice and at the policy level.

This study, entitled ‘Enhancing quality: from policy to practice’, presents the results of this work and includes recommendations for practitioners and policy-makers. Topics covered include the diversity of external contexts and legal frameworks, institutional responsibility for QA, communication about QA, quality culture and bureaucracy, and student-centred learning.

The study notes that stakeholders in the EHEA do have a shared understanding of QA but that there are differences in perspectives and approaches which depend on factors such as the purpose assigned to higher education, the balance between accountability and enhancement in the QA system, and levels of trust, maturity and self-confidence in the QA system at institutional and national levels. Futhermore, it is clear that there is still work to be done in bridging the gap between the theory of a QA system and how it works in practice.

The study also highlights that QA should be treated as one tool among many for fostering quality higher education, and that finding synergies with other tools and supporting collaboration between stakeholders is important to increase efficiency and avoid duplication of work.

The findings and recommendations are complemented by case examples illustrating some of the approaches used by institutions and QA agencies across the EHEA. It is hoped that the study will provide inspiration to the higher education community for improving approaches to QA.

The findings of the study were further explored in a webinar, which took place on Wednesday 28 February. The recording of the webinar is available here.

The key messages and recommendations for public authorities are also presented in a separate policy leaflet. This is intended to feed into the discussions at the 2018 Bologna Process Ministerial Meeting.

All the publications and resources from the project are available on the EQUIP website.

European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
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1040 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

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