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Setting the stage: The Guidelines for external reviews of member and applicant agencies and the interpretation of the ESG/ENQA membership criteria Achim.

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Presentation on theme: "Setting the stage: The Guidelines for external reviews of member and applicant agencies and the interpretation of the ESG/ENQA membership criteria Achim."— Presentation transcript:

1 Setting the stage: The Guidelines for external reviews of member and applicant agencies and the interpretation of the ESG/ENQA membership criteria Achim Hopbach

2 ENQA Membership criteria and ESG - history ESG: Ministers mandate from the Berlin conference (2003) to develop an agreed set of standards, procedures and guidelines on quality assurance ENQA-working group 2003 – 2005, consultation with other Es in late 2004/early 2005 Adoption by ministers in Bergen May 2005

3 ENQA Membership criteria and ESG - history Membership criteria: Transformation of ENQA into an association, resolution of membership criteria in November 2004, broad overlap with ESG (draft) Membership criteria revised twice (last time 2008: to a large extent literal translation of ESG into membership criteria)

4 ESG (III) as accepted standards for quality assurance agencies March 2008: Foundation of the European Register; Compliance with ESG as admission criteria ENQA full membership as prima facie evidence for meeting the admission requirements of EQAR.

5 ESG and membership criteria: differences 8 ENQA criteria - 8 ESG ENQA criterion 1 quotes two ESG standards (3.1, 3.3) ENQA criteria 2, 4, 5, 6 quote one ESG criteria, each But: ENQA Criterion 3 – Resources (ESG 3.4) Agencies should have adequate and proportional resources, both human and financial, to enable them to organise and run their external quality assurance process(es) in an effective and efficient manner, with appropriate provision for the development of their processes, procedures and staff.

6 ESG and membership criteria: differences ENQA Criterion 7 – Accountability procedures (ESG 3.8) … iii. a mandatory cyclical external review of the agencys activities at least once every five years which includes a report on its conformity with the membership criteria of ENQA.

7 ESG and membership criteria: differences ENQA criterion 8 - Miscellaneous i. The agency pays careful attention to its declared principles at all times, and ensures both that its requirements and processes are managed professionally and that its judgements and decisions are reached in a consistent manner, even if the judgments are formed by different groups ii. If the agency makes formal quality assurance decisions, or conclusions which have formal consequences, it should have an appeals procedure. The nature and form of the appeals procedure should be determined in the light of the constitution of the agency. iii. The agency is willing to contribute actively to the aims of ENQA.

8 The boards decisions on membership issues: 6 Challenges

9 Challenges for the membership decisions ENQA criteria correspond to ESG, but only to S and not to G e.g. student participation is not part of the membership criteria

10 Challenges for the membership decisions Notions are not as clear as expected. e.g. what does independence mean? 3.6 Independence: Agencies should be independent to the extent both that they have autonomous responsibility for their operations and that the conclusions and recommendations made in their reports cannot be influenced by third parties such as higher education institutions, ministries or other stakeholders. How can independence be guaranteed?

11 Challenges for the membership decisions ESG may be contradictory 3.2 Official status: Agencies … should comply with any requirements of the legislative jurisdictions within which they operate. What to do, if an agency is prevented from compliance with ESG? Ultra posse nemo obligatur?

12 Challenges for the membership decisions Same text serves different purposes: ESG-Submission to BFUG (Feb 2005): It must be emphasised that the report is no more than a first step in what is likely to be a long and possibly arduous route to the establishment of a widely shared set of underpinning values, expectations and good practice in relation to quality and its assurance, by institutions and agencies across the EHEA. ESG have the purpose to form a background for quality assurance agencies in their work. Membership criteria (ENQA and EQAR): de facto compliance approach ESG as reference points as well as de facto accreditation criteria at the same time

13 Challenges for the membership decisions Interpretation: Principle based or rules based? Agencies shall follow the ESG and have to comply with the membership criteria

14 Challenges for the membership decisions Terminology: The same term may have different connotations or even different meanings! Remember the Warwick-lesson: Language matters!

15 Thank you for your attention! Achim Hopbach


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