21 February 2017 | Report

Key Considerations for Cross-Border Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area

The European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), European Students’ Union (ESU), European University Association (EUA), European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE) and European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) were part of the stakeholder group drafting the Standards and guidelines for quality assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) and each organisation also works actively with their members to promote and further develop quality assurance (QA) whether at system or institutional level.


The development of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) through the Bologna Process has contributed to an increase in cross-border exchanges and cooperation in higher education and facilitates the enhancement of trust and confidence among higher education systems.

In this context, cross-border QA refers to external QA activities of a QA agency carried out in a country other than the one in which it is based or primarily operates. For higher education institutions, this may be a  voluntary process or part of the national mandatory external QA.

ENQA, ESU, EUA, EURASHE and EQAR set up an ad-hoc working group to develop a document that would guide stakeholders engaging in cross-border QA. This document presents the results of the group’s work, which has drawn on prior experience in the topic and consultations with various stakeholders.

This document is not intended as a prescriptive manual for cross-border QA, but it aims to provide information and support to higher education institutions and QA agencies that engage in or consider engaging in crossborder QA activities within the EHEA. In doing so, it may also be a useful reference for governments to review and adapt their legal frameworks to allow for the use of cross-border QA with a suitable EQAR-registered agency for fulfilling requirements of national mandatory QA.

 

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