Edition 191 - March 2017

Key Considerations for Cross-Border Quality Assurance in the EHEA

Recently, a new support document has been published that is designed to help higher education institutions, Quality Assurance (QA) agencies and other stakeholders that engage in or consider engaging in cross-border QA activities within the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). EURASHE, ENQA, ESU, EUA and EQAR, in this collaborative publication, call attention to “key issues that should be taken into consideration to ensure the success of cross-border QA activities”.

As a consequence of EHEA developments though the Bologna Process, which increased cross-border exchanges and cooperation in higher education, quality assurance also has evolved towards inter-country collaboration. In 2015, in Yerevan, the ministers of EHEA countries committed to endorse “higher education institutions to use a suitable EQAR registered agency for their external quality assurance process, respecting the national arrangements for the decision making on QA outcomes”. The publication emphasizes key benefits of cross-border QA that center on a strengthening of internationalization policies, increased collaboration with foreign institutions, improved recognition of qualifications, peer learning opportunities for process and methodological improvements and the enhancement of both the national and international institutional profile.  

The publication is based on and complements the ”Standards and guidelines for quality assurance in the EHEA” (ESG) and is presented as a set of guiding questions and key considerations to be taken into account in cross-border QA.  Key considerations are structured in three sections and addressed in chronological order considering the QA process development:

A.     Engaging in cross-border QA – before starting the QA process

B.     Carrying out cross-border QA – the QA process itself

C.     Addressing the results of cross-border QA – the results of the QA process

What is the rationale for engaging in cross-border QA? Which QA agency is fit for purpose for this specific case? What sort of preparations support successful cross-border QA? How are the peer-review experts selected and trained? What are the complaints, appeals and follow-up processes?

These are some of the questions that offer a valuable Roadmap to experts and education institutions to fully reap the benefits of cross-border QA. The authors stress the importance of considering the full set of key questions before engaging in cross-border QA activities.

Key Considerations for Cross-Border Quality Assurance in the EHEA – full report

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