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Quality and the Bologna Process Andrée Sursock Deputy Secretary General European University Association (EUA) EPC Annual Congress, 21-23 March 2005, Brighton
…2… EUA Membership organisation of 753 members: universities and national rector conferences in 45 countries (increase of around 200 members in 4 years) UK members: 82 universities + UUK Mission: To ensure that universities can fulfill their three-fold public mission (research, teaching and service to society) Activities: Policy development, projects, research and publication
…3… Bologna: Who does what? Involves many actors: Intergovernmental NGO’s: EUA, ESIB, EURASHE QUANGO’s and other bodies HEIs Decisions are prepared through “Bologna conferences” Emphasis on consensual decision-making
…4… Bologna: State of play Majority of countries have adapted legislation to fit the two- degree structure (exceptions: Spain, Sweden) Many countries are implementing the various “Bologna tools” Trends IV: 60 site visits in 28 countries: A great deal of enthusiasm for the reform process: an opportunity to bring about profound changes (curricular, administrative, management, links to stakeholders) A very ambitious and challenging change agenda that will enhance the international profile of many universities across Europe
…5… Changes in the quality debate Bologna Declaration (1999): quality is not a key issue Prague Communiqué (2001): the role of QA agencies predominates Berlin Communiqué (2003): Quality moves to the top of the agenda The responsibilities of HEIs is acknowledged
…6… The QA action lines of the Berlin Communiqué (2003) “The primary responsibility for quality lies in HEIs" Invites ENQA, in co-operation with EUA, ESIB and EURASHE (= E4), To develop an agreed set of standards, procedures and guidelines on quality assurance To explore ways of ensuring an adequate peer- review system for QA & A agencies
…7… EUA’s interpretation of the Berlin Communiqué Standards take as their starting points key policy objectives for HE: institutional autonomy, diversity, innovation, etc.: i.e., link the EHEA and the ERA These key objectives are developed into guidelines to evaluate QA agencies QA and HE communities must work together in partnership
…8… Agreement: Institutional level HEIs must play a key role in order to ensure real accountability Internal Quality Culture
…9… Institutional level - EUA’s interpretation: Develop a quality culture in institutions Avoid a bureaucratic, top-down, managerial approach Promote quality as a shared value and collective responsibility Begin with a shared understanding of the institutional profile Ensure that results are fed back into institutional planning Focus on capacity for change Fitness for purpose approach
…10… Agreement: National level Diversity of national QA procedures must be accepted because: It reflects national priorities Choosing a specific procedure is a national prerogative But we need to develop a European dimension
…11… E4 Agreement: European level (I) QA agencies will be subject to a cyclical review These reviews will be undertaken nationally wherever possible A European register of QA agencies A European Register Committee as a gatekeeper to the Register A European Consultative Forum for QA in HE European standards for HEIs and QA agencies
…12… Agreement: European level (II) Standards for QA agencies Independence of agencies from governments and higher education institutions: i.e., conclusions are not affected by ministry or HEIs and QA agency is autonomous QA procedures must include a self-evaluation report, a visit by an external panel and a public report QA procedures must be transparent and fair
…13… Agreement: European level (III) Standards for HEIS: Develop a quality culture policy Formal approval and monitoring of programmes and awards Policy concerning students’ assessment Quality assurance of teaching staff Adequate learning resources and student support Information systems Public information
…14… Key issues at European level Fitness for purpose or agreed standards? i.e., how specific should be the agreed standards given the need to promote diversity and innovation? Peer-review process and structure? i.e., What should be the role of stakeholders and the articulation with the national level
…15… Engineering education and Bologna: 2004 SEFI survey Most countries are implementing a 3+2 structure, with no selection for access to 2nd cycle Bologna reforms in engineering are limited and difficult: How to define ECTS (workload/outcomes/both)? How to define employability at bachelors level? How to convince employers that the change is positive? Will this change cause mission drift in binary systems (proliferation of masters degree in all types of institutions)?
…16… Engineering and Quality EUR-ACE project launch, September 2004 aims at setting up a European system for accreditation Based on agreed common standards Tested and retested through pilots Operational in five years Aspiring to become a model for other professional fields
…17… What does this means for you? Ensure that professional associations and employers understand the European discussions Most importantly, get involved in the European policy discussion to ensure that: The voice of academics is heard: the future “European dimension of QA” must be congruent with academic values A role for the academic community in defining standards and any QA process at European level
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