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Coordinator, EUR-ACE Project

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1 Coordinator, EUR-ACE Project
ACCREDITATION OF ENGINEERING EDUCATION IN EUROPE: the EUR-ACE project (Accreditation of European Engineering Programmes and Graduates) Giuliano Augusti Università "La Sapienza", Roma, Facoltà di Ingegneria Coordinator, EUR-ACE Project

2 What is accreditation of an educational programme
What is accreditation of an educational programme? The EUR-ACE definition: Accreditation of an engineering educational programme is the primary process used to ensure the suitability of that programme as the entry route to the engineering profession. Accreditation involves a periodic audit against the present standards of the engineering education provided by a particular course or program. It is essentially a peer review process, undertaken by appropriately trained and independent panels comprising both engineering academic staff and professional engineers from industry. The process normally involves both scrutiny of data and a structured visit to the educational institution. 2

3 What is the purpose of the EUR-ACE project?
“… to propose a framework for setting up a European system for accreditation of engineering education at the First Cycle and Second Cycle level (as defined within the Bologna process)” In more general terms, to contribute to “…establish[ing] the European Higher Education Area by 2010, in which citizens can choose from a wide and transparent offer of high quality courses and benefit from smooth recognition procedures”…. … thanks also to the “adoption of a system of easily readable and comparable degrees” (as put by the 1999 Bologna declaration).” 3

4 Diversity within Europe: the present
Educational Systems in Europe are very different from each other, because of historical reasons. Consequently, significance and procedures for accreditation of engineering education vary greatly from one European country to the other. Three typical examples: in GB and IE, accreditation standards and procedures are the responsibility of professional Institutions, and Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) are only involved through the assessment of education programmes, although sometimes they have to adapt the curricula in order that their programmes be accredited; in FR, since as early as 1934, “habilitation” is granted to engineering programmes and HEIs by the “Commission des Titres d'Ingénieur” (CTI), in which the academic world, the profession and the employers are represented on a parity basis; in IT, like in some other “continental” countries, the conformity of an academic programme to rules set by the Ministry of Education (or another national authority) is seen as making an HE programme automatically accredited. 4

5 Why a coherent European accreditation system
Such differences lead to confusion in the mutual recognition of academic and professional qualifications: consequently, difficulties still remain in the mobility and trans-national acceptance of engineers (and other professionals) Nevertheless, engineers educated so differently have always been able to work together ... Why a coherent European accreditation system is now felt extremely useful, if not necessary? For several reasons, such as  Increased (physical and “virtual”) mobility of engineers (also of engineering students, but this is another story);   New degrees, at several “levels” and with several “specializations”…   The 1989 European Directive, which assured mobility and “freedom of establishment” of all professional within the EU, not always satisfactorily applied.    [A new “Directive” expects approval by the European Parliament: when?] The EUR-ACE project moves in this direction. 5

6 “Quality and Recognition in Engineering Education”
SOME HISTORICAL BACKGROUND Up to a few years ago “accreditation” was a word avoided in official European Education circles indeed, a word that many people did not like. Hence, the “Socrates” Thematic Network H3E (Higher Engineering Education for Europe; 1996/99), avoided the word and named its Working Group 2: “Quality and Recognition in Engineering Education” But in that WG 2 we soon understood that, whatever term you use, effective “recognition” of education is impossible, at least in disciplines with a strong “professional” impact like engineering, without dialogue and cooperation between Academia, professional organizations, and bodies active in Accreditation and Quality Assurance ... 6

7 First European Workshop on Accreditation of Engineering Programmes
Indeed, the interplay and possible synergies between recognition for academic and professional purposes had been the object of an ad-hoc Working Group set up by the European Commission in 1994, whose final report was at the basis of a Commission Recommendation in December 1994. Thus, we invited several of such organizations and bodies to a workshop in The Hague, 3-5 December This was  EWAEP First European Workshop on Accreditation of Engineering Programmes Two more Workshops followed: Paris, June 1999: EWAEP-2 promoted and organised by Commission des Titres d’ Ingénieur and H3E-wg2 Darmstadt, January 2001: EWAEP-3 promoted and organised by Technische Universität Darmstadt and ESOEPE 7

8 hence, some form of “accreditation” becomes a must.
Between EWAEP-2 and EWAEP-3, the representatives of six Associations signed (Paris, 9 September 2000) an Agreement “intended to build confidence in systems of accreditation of engineering degree programmes within Europe […] not [yet] intended to harmonise engineering programmes nor accreditation procedures, but simply to assist national agencies and other bodies in planning and developing such systems [and to] facilitate systematic exchange of know-how in accreditation and permanent monitoring of the educational requirements in engineering formation….” [because] the diversity of engineering degree programmes within Europe is a source of great strength [but], as professional engineers become more mobile, society seeks greater assurance of the quality and relevance of provision of engineering programmes: hence, some form of “accreditation” becomes a must. 8

9 This agreement was the founding charter of
ESOEPE: European Standing Observatory for the Engineering Profession and Education Founding members [and signatories]: UK: Engineering Council [A.Ramsay] FR: Commission des Titres d’ Ingènieur [F.Tailly] DE: Akkreditierungsagentur für Studiengänge der Ingenieurwissenschaften und der Informatik ASII (now ASIIN) [K.Hernaut] PT: Ordem dos Engenhieros [J.M. Ferreira Lemos] IT: Collegio (now Conferenza) dei Presidi delle Facoltà di Ingegneria [A.Squarzoni] EU: Thematic Network “Enhancing European Engineering Education” E4 (now TREE) [C.Borri] 9

10 ESOEPE: further members
Société Européenne pour la Formation des Ingénieurs (SEFI) Fédération Européenne des Associations Nationales d’Ingénieurs (FEANI) Romanian National Council for Academic Assessment and Accreditation (CNEAA) Union of Associations of Civil Engineers of Romania (UAICR) joined ESOEPE at EWAEP-3 in Darmstadt Institution of Engineers of Ireland (IEI) Russian Association for Engineering Education (RAEE) joined ESOEPE later 10

11 From the ESOEPE agreement: Purposes …
…ESOEPE will: encourage participation by relevant bodies in as many European countries as possible, all on an equal basis, and to facilitate throughout Europe the development of good practices of Endorsement/ Validation/ Accreditation and the establishment of Agencies for that purpose. facilitate voluntary agreements on accreditation of engineering educational programmes and recognition of engineering qualifications; facilitate the development of standards on the competence requirements of graduate engineers. 11

12 Note the prudence in these statements dated 2000
.... but things have evolved very rapidly in the last few years, in the context of the Bologna Process towards an harmonized European Higher Education Area.... Quality Assurance and Trans-national Accreditation of higher education have become key words.... 12

Communiqué of the meeting of European Ministers in charge of Higher Education Prague, 19 May 2001 TOWARDS THE EUROPEAN HIGHER EDUCATION AREA (EHEA) 13

14 Promotion of European cooperation in quality assurance
Ministers recognised the vital role that quality assurance systems play in ensuring high quality standards and in facilitating the comparability of qualifications throughout Europe They emphasized the necessity of close European cooperation and mutual trust in and acceptance of national quality assurance systems. Further they encouraged universities and other higher education institutions to disseminate examples of best practice and to design scenarios for mutual acceptance of evaluation and accreditation/certification mechanisms. ... 14

15 Promoting the attractiveness of the European Higher Education Area
.... The readability and comparability of European higher education degrees world-wide should be enhanced by the development of a common framework of qualifications, as well as by coherent quality assurance and accreditation/certification mechanisms and by increased information efforts..... [The Ministers] called for increased collaboration between the European countries ..... 15

Communiqué of the Conference of Ministers responsible for Higher Education Berlin, 19 Sept. 2003 REALISING THE EUROPEAN HIGHER EDUCATION AREA 16

17 Realising EHEA, the European Higher Education Area
......Therefore, [the Ministers] agree that by 2005 national quality assurance systems should include: A definition of the responsibilities of the bodies and institutions involved. Evaluation of programmes or institutions, including internal assessment, external review, participation of students and the publication of results. A system of accreditation, certification or comparable procedures. International participation, co-operation and networking 17

18 From a paper in the European Journal of Education (September 2003)
Guy HAUG : Quality assurance/accreditation in the emerging European higher education area: a possible scenario for the future The evaluation, improvement and certification of "quality" are a core constituent of the "Bologna process" of convergent reforms towards a coherent, compatible and competitive European higher education area. Yet, the articulation of a system or mechanism able to deal with this topic at European level, and the way leading to its emergence, remain surrounded with much confusion and doubt..... 18

19 Transnational Evaluation and Accreditation
From a February, 2004 paper by EC DG EAC FROM BERLIN TO BERGEN: the EU Contribution (1) Transnational Evaluation and Accreditation Most evaluation and accreditation is carried out on a national or regional basis. It is expected that these local exercises will become more comparable and more European through the use of "an agreed set of standards, procedures and guidelines" and the involvement of foreign experts. In a limited number of cases there is scope for transnational evaluation and accreditation. For instance in highly internationalised fields of study like business and engineering or in cases where universities or sponsors (public or private) seek to obtain a label for reasons of branding or consumer protection. Integrated study programmes, like joint masters, obviously require a collaborative effort of the respective quality assurance agencies. 19

20 From a February, 2004 paper by EC DG EAC FROM BERLIN TO BERGEN: the EU Contribution (2)
The Commission supports the setting up and testing phase of transnational evaluation and accreditation. .... ENQA intends to organise more transnational evaluations of single, double and joint degrees. The Commission would welcome such proposals as well as proposals from subject specific professional organisations developing European Cooperation in Accreditation in fields like medicine or engineering 20

21 These statements were followed by a
Call for Proposals for Europe-wide Participation Projects contributing to the Realisation of the European Higher Education Area (Bologna Process) Directorate-General for Education and Culture SOCRATES-TEMPUS 21

22 From the “Call for proposals”:
The Bologna Declaration of June 1999 has put in motion a series of reforms needed to make European Higher Education more compatible and comparable, more competitive and more attractive for our own citizens and for citizens and scholars from other continents. The aim is to establish a European Higher Education Area by 2010, in which citizens can choose from a wide and transparent offer of high quality courses and benefit from smooth recognition procedures. Bologna reforms are carried out by higher education institutions, by regional and national governments. At European level, a series of “Participation Projects” are set up in order to monitor the process and test out new ideas In reply to the Call, the Commission would welcome proposals aiming to contribute to the realisation of the EHEA … in particular through the implementation of Participation Projects [for] Developing European Cooperation in Accreditation in certain disciplines/professional fields of study. 22

23 and approved in late August 2004.
Date of issue of the “Call for proposals”: 5 March 2004; Deadline: 16 April 2004 The EUR-ACE project was presented on 16 April 2004 at noon and approved in late August 2004. 23

24 14 Partners ASIIN (DE) I.E.I. (IE) CoPI (IT) FEANI OE (PT) SEFI
C.T.I. (FR) I.E.I. (IE) CoPI (IT) OE (PT) UAICR (RO) RAEE (RU)* ECUK (UK) FEANI SEFI CESAER EUROCADRES ENQHEEI UNIFI/TREE * TEMPUS partner (EUR-ACE is the first project supported by the two EU programmes “SOCRATES” and “TEMPUS”) 24

25 EUR-ACE Accreditation of European Engineering Programmes and Graduates Other Participating Institutions indicated in the application (1) 1. FEANI Nat. Members Germany Poland The Netherlands Spain Finland Denmark Switzerland Italy 2. SEFI Instit. Members SE: Lund University CZ: C.T.U. Prague HU: Univ. Miskolc TK: Istanbul T.U. AT: T.U.Wien 25

26 EUR-ACE Accreditation of European Engineering Programmes and Graduates Other Participating Institutions indicated in the application (2) 3. EUROCADRES Nat. Members Belgium Czech Republic Denmark Finland France Ireland Italy Portugal Romania United Kingdom 4. CLAIU 5. CRUI (IT) The list of the “Other Participating Institutions” can be modified: other Institutions can be added. They are expected to play a major role during the “testing stages” of the project. 26

27 EUR ACE Project Management Structure
Project Board (PB) One representative of each Partner Treasurer Ph. Wauters Coordinator (Project Leader) G. Augusti Steering Committee 8 [Socrates] +1 [Tempus] accreditation specialists Support by the legal representative FEANI - Staff Technical support (each partner) International Advisory Board 3 high level experts Additional support to the testing phase FEANI National Members, SEFI institutional members, EUROCADRES National Members Financial and administrative Structure Technical Structure Technical and administrative assistance, relations with other Socrates programmes UNIFI, International Relations Office 27

28 EUR-ACE Accreditation of European Engineering Programmes and Graduates
Duration: September 2004-December 2005. Work programme in “five stages” Final budget: "SOCRATES" part: € 454,419 total , of which € 300,000 co-financing by the Commission and € 154,419 contribution by the 14 partners, mainly in Academic staff time; “TEMPUS" part:  € 46,900 total, of which € 38,300 co-financing by the Commission and € 8,600 contribution by RAEE, mainly in Academic staff time. Remember: EUR-ACE is the first project supported by the two EU programmes “SOCRATES” and “TEMPUS” 28

29 EUR-ACE Project Board: First meeting: London (ECUK), 2 September 2004
1. FEANI - Philippe WAUTERS 2. SEFI - Tornbjörn HEDBERG 3. CESAER - Jan GRAAFMANS 4.  EUROCADRES - Pierre COMPTE 5.  ENQHEEI - René-Fran. BERNARD 6.  ASIIN - Iring WASSER 7.  CTI - François TAILLY 8.   IEI - Michael HILLERY 9.  CoPI - Alfredo SQUARZONI 10. UNIFI - Claudio BORRI 11. OE PT- Sebastiao FEYO 12. UAICR - Iacint MANOLIU 13. RAEE - Oleg BOEV 14. EC UK - Jim BIRCH Chairman: Alan PUGH, Coordinator of ESOEPE PSC 29

30 EUR-ACE Steering Committee
1. João Duarte Silva 2. Ian Freeston 3. Günter Heitmann 4. Michael Hillery 5. Antonio Salgado de Barros 6. J. M. Siwak 7. Alfredo Squarzoni 8. Iring Wasser 9. Alexander Chuchalin Chairman: Project Coordinator (Giuliano Augusti) 30

31 EUR-ACE International Advisory Committee
Kruno Hernaut (two more members to be nominated) 31

32 Which future for Accreditation in Europe according to EUR-ACE ?
By which path(s) an European Recognition/Accreditation/Certification system of Engineering Education can be built up? By an EU “Directive” (i.e. a European “law”)? Impossible (even if somebody might advocate it) because autonomy of HEIs, that within many countries, are not “obliged” even to recognise each others’ degrees) EHEA involves many more countries than EU and an ad-hoc European structure? 32

33 The future of Accreditation in Europe (2)
The assumption of the EUR-ACE project is that the present difficulties in recognition and mobility can only be overcome by reaching a European-wide consensus on standards required from engineering educational programmes, including assessment and QA measures, and by setting up a system for accrediting programmes, HE Institutions and graduates when such standards are achieved, not when bureaucratic rules are fulfilled. 33

34 The future of Accreditation in Europe (3)
This European Accreditation system must be built-up gradually, bottom-up, including and harmonizing existing accreditation systems, and involving national and regional accreditation agencies. Can the model be the “Washington Accord” ? O.K., but note that W.A. has worked well until it included only educational systems directly deriving from the “Anglo-Saxon” model. Thus, if we want a “European Accord”, we must refer to a well defined European model of engineering education, based on the EHEA (Bologna-Berlin) first-second cycle scheme, duly adapted to Engineering Education. 34

35 The future of Accreditation in Europe (4) The European Model
Indeed, throughout Europe, Higher Engineering Education systems are evolving (with some resistance from some more “traditional” Institutions) in the sense indicated by the Bologna Declaration, providing a “first cycle” and a “second cycle” degree. In two Workshops (Helsinki, 2003; Madrid, 2004) SEFI and CESAER have confirmed their willingness to contribute to the development of the Bologna process in Engineering Education, and in particular have stated that transnational recognition of engineering degrees at professional level has to be a primary goal. 35

36 EUR-ACE main output (to be provided by 31 December 2005)
a well defined set of standards and procedures for an accreditation system of Engineering Education that should provide a quality European label, tentatively denoted: EUR-ACE(FC) & EUR-ACE(SC) 36

37 EUR-ACE Standards and Procedures
Thus, EUR-ACE has reviewed criteria and standards already existing in Europe for FC and SC engineering degrees, then a first version of Tentative EUR-ACE Standards and Procedures for the Accreditation of Engineering Programmes has been prepared, discussed and approved by the EUR-ACE Steering Committee, and since 13 December 2004 is available on the EUR-ACE web page at the address This has concluded the first stage of the EUR-ACE work plan (September-November 2004) 37

38 EUR-ACE Tentative Standards
These standards collect and harmonize existing documents of several European Accreditation Agencies and bodies, and intend to be at the same time a “framework” for accrediting accreditation procedures and accreditation bodies (“meta-accreditation”) and a guideline for developing actual operative standards where at present they do not exist. 38

39 Tentative Standards Contents: Preamble Introduction
Table of general programme outcomes, differentiated between FC and SC degrees Criteria and Quality Requirements for Accreditation Requirements of the Accreditation Procedure Annex: Template for Publication of Results 39

40 Tentative Standards (2)
General Statements: The programmes fulfilling the requirements set in the Standards will obtain the appropriate European label, but if a set of National Standards already in force cover fully the requirements of these standards, the award of the European Label can be automatic. Accreditation of a SC programme is will be normally awarded to programmes in series with FC programmes, but can also be obtained by integrated programmes. Accreditation of an Engineering Educational Program is not to be automatically identified with recognition of the programme as allowing the immediate practice of the engineering profession. In some countries, further qualifications (e.g. a “State Exam”) and/or training periods may be required. 40

41 Tentative Standards (3)
The Tentative Standards refer only to first and second cycle programmes (FC and SC) and neither to any “short cycle” nor Doctoral (“third cycle”) programme; however, the SC label can be awarded to “integrated programmes”; are not branch-specific, and therefore may need to be complemented by other requirements; do not specifically refer, but on the other hand do not exclude, e-learning (distance learning) programmes (but perhaps some adaptation would be needed); are intended for accreditation of educational programmes as a suitable “entry route to the engineering profession” (in accord to our definition), not of Institutions. 41

42 Typical options for HE systems

43 Tentative Standards (4)
The Tentative Standards appear flexible enough to accommodate national and subject differences and to leave the door open to future developments, so that the proposed accreditation standards will not become a straightjacket but rather an incentive to continuously make improvements through incorporating best practice. We do not exclude that, in parallel to EUR-ACE, other systems may be created to provide special standards and “labels” for programmes addressed to meet specific and particular requirements, or for programmes that e.g. include research …. 43

44 Current Stage of EUR-ACE work plan: First Testing Stage (December 2004-February 2005)
“Tests” in several European countries are being conducted to verify whether the Tentative Standards are compatible with existing Accreditation Standards and procedures, could be used as a framework for writing new Standards, could be used for accrediting programmes, can then be the basis for a truly European system of accreditation of engineering educational programmes. 44

45 Current Stage of EUR-ACE work plan: First Testing Stage (December 2004-February 2005)
Reactions, comments, opinions, suggestions on the Tentative Standards are being collected, and are solicited from all interested parties and stakeholders: they will be taken into account in the revision stage. Most will be collected in meetings and workshops like this one, to which academic and non-academic parties are invited. Others comments can be ed to: 45

46 Further Stages of EUR-ACE work plan (March-December 2005)
Stage 3 (March-April) Revision: Tentative Standards to be modified [hopefully improved !] in accordance with the test results; Stage 4 (May-November) Retesting: Revised Standards tested again and possibly used in pilot accreditations; consensus searched (hoping for convergence of the process); Stage 5 (December) Wrapping up: Final set of standards and procedures for an EEE accreditation system elaborated and transmitted to the EC DG EAC, together with the other planned outputs. 46

47 Further Stages of EUR-ACE work plan (March-December 2005)
In these stages we shall also elaborate the other required outputs, namely: precise indications on the procedure for the award of the EUR-ACE labels and on the body or structure that should administer it; a draft financial plan indicating how the system can become self-supporting within five years, possibly through a gradual increase of the fees charged for the EUR-ACE label. 47

48 Further Stages of EUR-ACE work plan (March-December 2005): the other outputs
We have not yet started a formal discussion on these aspects, but I take a few points for granted: national and regional accreditation agencies already active must be involved; existing accreditation systems must not be overcome, but rather harmonized; they will get an “added value” if they can provide a European label; the developments of new national accreditation systems and agencies must be facilitated. 48

49 too often implied by EU procedures …
… and in any case we must avoid the heavy bureaucracy too often implied by EU procedures … 49

50 Implementation of EUR-ACE outcomes
Of course, any decisions on the actual implementation of the proposed accreditation procedure and system will not compete to the EUR-ACE project, but we have already forecast a possible extension of the project into 2006 in which the accreditation procedure and system identified by the project could be tested in actual applications in and by interested HEIs. Therefore, I already ask also to be contacted by Universities and other HEIs that might be interested in participating to the second testing stage (May-October 2005) and/or, in 2006, in the pilot accreditations. 50

51 Final considerations (1)
I am well aware, as are all participants in the EUR-ACE project, of the difficulties of the task to which we committed ourselves. Many difficulties will come because of the multiple aims of the Standards to be proposed, and perhaps some from jalousies and competition between established agencies….. To overcome such difficulties, I think that the main point is to get a widespread consensus of the Academic and Professional Engineering Community 51

52 Final considerations (2)
… but the search for this consensus is not made easy by our very strict work plan and the deadlines we had to set in accord to the “Call for proposals”: 18 months are a short time to put such a procedure in motion, after decades of discussions and, sometimes, contrasts. For this reason, throughout the development of the project, we are seeking advise and support by as many people, bodies, Institutions, Associations as possible... Meetings like this one, and the discussions that will certainly arise, are precious to this aim. But this particular meeting draws an added value from the definitive inclusion of Russian Engineers in this process …. 52

53 Thank you for your attention

54 Большое спасибо за внимание

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