Since its introduction to higher education about twenty years ago, formal quality assurance developed to an important and mostly uncontested pillar of university management. But although QA procedures are operational in all countries adherent to the Bologna process, and although large amounts of public funding are spent in setting up and improving national and institutional QA systems, there is still not much empirical evidence proving the effectiveness of QA.
This paper raises a number of critical questions concerning QA in its existing forms. In particular, it investigates why QA matters mostly remain in the responsibility of university administration instead of becoming an issue of the academic community as a whole, and what risks this development can bring. Concluding, several alternate approaches are denoted, concerning not only internal QA but consequently also external QA and public accountability.
This paper was presented at EQAF and reflects the views of the named authors only.