Slovakia was visited by high representatives of the European quality assurance organisations for higher education ENQA and EQAR. The aim of the meeting was to evaluate the progress in the implementation of quality assurance systems for higher education in the Slovak Republic and in particular the steps taken by the Accreditation Agency over the last two years. Slovakia is one of the few European countries that are not yet members of these organisations. A condition for membership is a previous successful audit of compliance with European rules.
The European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) was represented by its vice-president prof. Daniela Cristina Ghitulica, and the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR), was represented by the Director Dr. Colin Tück. The Minister of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic was represented at the meeting by assoc. Prof. Dr. Oľga Pecháňová, DrSc., Director General in charge of the Higher Education Section of the Ministry.
The visit took place within the framework of the European project SEQA-ESG, which aims to help implement quality assurance in higher education institutions in accordance with European standards in six countries that are not yet members of ENQA and EQAR (Albania, Czech Republic, Montenegro, Moldova, Malta, Slovakia).
The representatives of the European structures noted the significant progress in the implementation of European practices and praised the Agency’s steps in this endeavour. In an open discussion, they noted that they did not see structural obstacles. However, an in-depth assessment of the Agency and its activities in a proper audit will be crucial.
Adherence to the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ESG 2015) is an important condition for joining these European organisations. These are reflected in Slovakia in the Agency’s accreditation standards. Slovak higher education institutions have already announced their compliance with the standards as of the beginning of September this year and are currently preparing for their own accreditation. These will examine the extent to which universities are compliant with European quality standards.
The Slovak Accreditation Agency for Higher Education has also asked ENQA to assess its own work. ENQA has included the agency in the agency’s accreditation plan. The expert review panel should assess the agency’s work and compliance with ESG 2015 rules by next summer. Only on the basis of this expert assessment will a decision be made on the Slovak Agency’s membership in both European organisations.
Membership in the European organisations, in particular registration in the EQAR Register of Accreditation Agencies, will enable the publication of accreditation decisions in the Database of External Quality Assurance Results (DEQAR), thus giving Slovak universities greater visibility in the European space and a better reputation. Understandably, only if they meet the quality requirements.
Slovak HEIs are closer to the European elite in quality management. It will be a lucky moment if SAAHE gains membership in the European Quality Assurance Register EQAR and in the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education ENQA
Lucia Bittnerová, email@example.com ; t. č.: 0911/808 649