Quality assurance has been one of EUA’s key areas of activity since the Association was established. As the voice of Europe’s universities, EUA seeks to ensure that the views of the university sector are taken into account in European and national-level policy discussions on internal and external quality assurance. It also supports its members in developing internal quality systems and aims to promote institutional quality cultures.
With this objective, EUA carries out a variety of activities that are underpinned by the principle that the main responsibility for quality assurance lies within higher education institutions.
The call for contributions for the 2021 European Quality Assurance Forum (EQAF) is now open. The call seeks proposals for paper presentations and discussion starters. The deadline to submit proposals is 26 July 2021.
EUA’s Institutional Evaluation Programme (IEP) is now accepting registrations for the 2021/2022 round.Get involved
EUA is a recognised voice in the quality assurance debate in Europe. At the national level, the Association maintains a continuous dialogue with its collective members, the national rectors’ conferences, about developments taking place in their countries’ systems.
At the European level, a major part of EUA’s policy work related to quality assurance is done in cooperation with the E4 Group, consisting of EUA, ENQA, ESU and EURASHE.
Notably, the E4 worked in cooperation with other stakeholders (Education International, Business Europe and the European Quality Assurance Register) to develop a revised version of the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG), which were approved at the Bologna Ministerial meeting in 2015. Implementing quality assurance in line with the ESG is one of the key commitments of the Bologna Process.
In response to the questions related to the continued relevance and applicability of the ESG in the changing context of higher education and to the calls that have been made for their further revision, the E4 wrote a joint statement in 2020. In addition, EUA in the report “Micro-credentials linked to the Bologna Key Commitments” prepared as part of the MICROBOL project, has examined whether and how the ESG and other European Higher Education Area tools can be used and/or need to be adapted to be applicable micro-credentials.
The E4 Group organisations are also founding members of the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR). This is a public register of quality assurance agencies that substantially comply with the ESG. EQAR provides clear and reliable information on credible and legitimate quality assurance agencies operating in the EHEA. EUA is a member of its Executive Board and of the General Assembly. It also nominates two members of the Register Committee.
EUA is active internationally to contribute the European perspective to quality assurance discussions on the global level. Furthermore, the Association supported the development of quality assurance frameworks outside Europe, for example in Asia (SHARE), Africa (HAQAA) and the United States.
EUA has taken the lead in developing the capacity of higher education institutions to create internal quality processes and foster quality cultures and is an acknowledged expert on these topics.
The Association has worked with its members to gather information and share experience in order to empower universities to fulfil their responsibility for quality assurance. As a result, EUA has produced an extensive set of materials on these matters, most notably the “ESG part 1: are universities ready?”, “Enhancing quality: From policy to practice”, and “Student-centred learning: approaches to quality assurance”.
In addition, EUA’s Institutional Evaluation Programme (IEP) has been running since 1994 and offers enhancement-led institutional peer reviews across Europe and beyond. The Programme supports universities in developing their strategic leadership and capacity to manage change by evaluating them in the context of their own mission and goals.
EUA has worked on the topic of rankings through a number of projects and activities aimed to better understand the role and impact that rankings play for its members and informing stakeholders of the advantages and disadvantages of the various approaches. EUA continues to monitor ongoing initiatives and participate in the debate around rankings at the European and international level.
For example, in the report “Exploring higher education indicators”, EUA explored what kind of education indicators are used by external quality assurance agencies, funding mechanisms and international university rankings and whether they are fit for purpose.
The European Quality Assurance Forum (EQAF) has been co-organised by EUA, ENQA, ESU, and EURASHE since 2006 and has become the largest annual gathering of the European higher education quality assurance community and a flagship activity in this field.
EQAF bridges national boundaries by facilitating a Europe-wide discussion on current trends and forthcoming developments in research, policy and practice. EQAF provides a unique opportunity to share experiences and network with a wide range of stakeholders, including representatives from higher education institutions and quality assurance agencies, students, researchers and policy makers from across Europe and beyond.
In recent years, higher education provision has been changing rapidly, including the mainstreaming of e-learning, the emergence of micro-credentials, the launch of the European Universities Initiative, and the renewed importance of the third mission of higher education institutions.
Improving the quality of teaching and learning has been at the heart of the Bologna Process reforms and continues to be of crucial importance for the further implementation of these reforms. The growth in interest in rankings, as well as recent student protests further illustrate the need for universities to reiterate their continued commitment to improving the quality of teaching and learning. Therefore EUA’s policy position has been updated to take account of recent developments and to provide a solid basis for policy work and advocacy in the years to come.
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