Proper implementation of quality assurance standards needed for higher education in Europe
Education stakeholders across Europe have reasserted the need for effective and innovative ways to implement the revised Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in higher education.
About 100 participants attended final event of the ‘Enhancing quality through innovative policy and practice (EQUIP)’ project, in which Education International (EI) represents the teaching profession, on 27 February, where the outcomes of the project activities were presented, as well as policy recommendations emerging from these activities.
The event convened effective and innovative ways to use the revised ‘Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG)’ for all stakeholders of higher education, as a tool for the long-term quality enhancement in the European higher education area (EHEA).
Welcoming participants, European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE) Secretary-General Michal Karpíšek stressed the challenge of implementing the revised Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the EHEA. You can see his introduction here
Quality, an interaction between teachers, students and the institutional learning environment
Presenting the EQUIP study and policy recommendations to stakeholders, European University Association’s Tia Loukkola reminded that quality assurance happens in a context, and, while quality is not easily defined, quality is an interaction between teachers, students and the institutional learning environment. Higher education institutions need to take responsibility for quality assurance and Loukkola highlighted the motivation of students and staff as the key challenge and identified communication, ownership and sense-making of quality assurance as the crucial elements. Nevertheless, ESG are just one tool among several to enhance quality in higher education, she said.
When it comes to the implementation of student-centered learning this can only be achieved by linking it to the teaching staff, combining in particular a supportive institutional infrastructure with the input, engagement and continuous professional development of academic staff.
Trust needed among stakeholders in quality assurance
During a roundtable, European Commission’s Klara Engels-Perenyi reminded that quality assurance is not about numbers, ticking boxes, rather a basis for mobility and international cooperation, while Florian Pecenka of the Austrian Permanent Representation to the EU pointed out that the key issue is to spending time on trust-building measures between all stakeholders in quality assurance.
An EQUIP webinar added to all this topics on 28 February.
The EQUIP project aims at Enhancing Quality through Innovative Policy & Practice in European higher education by supporting and promoting a consistent, efficient and innovative embedding of the ESG 2015 at grass-root level. Partners of the project are EI, the EURASHE, the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), the European University Association (EUA), the European Students’ Union (ESU), the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR), the University of Oslo (UiO), and the Portuguese Polytechnics Coordinating Council (CCISP).