Slovak higher education institutions await exams – they will be judged by experts

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“All Slovak higher education institutions have requested a review They have thus fulfilled one of the objectives of the Slovak Renewal Plan,” said Robert Redhammer, Chair of the Executive Board of the Slovak Higher Education Accreditation Agency. “Just as students have an exam period, universities also face exams,” he added.

They also attached their internal quality assurance regulations and an internal evaluation report to the application, describing how they met the requirements of the standards. The information will serve as a guide for the reviewers to understand better the mechanisms that the university has chosen. An overview of all the study programmes with links to their description is also attached and should be publicly available.

The Agency has already begun to verify the completeness of all 33 applications. If some are incomplete, it will invite the school concerned to complete the application. “This is a completeness check, not a content check. Therefore, we will not now return entire applications if they have any small errors. We will leave that to the expert review panels. Each school will be reviewed by a different expert panel put together to cover the focus of the institution,” Redhammer said.

Accreditation involves assessing the reliability of an institution’s internal quality assurance system for education and deciding whether it meets the requirements of the standards. In doing so, it also takes into account the fulfillment of the requirements of the standards for study programmes. The Slovak Accreditation Agency organises the assessment process, which will take place in the coming months.

The reform of accreditation of higher education institutions consists in introducing rules in line with the European Standards and Guidelines. It is a form of quality assurance in internal and external stages. The first, internal, represents quality policing directly at the university. It is a kind of analogy of internal quality management in economic enterprises. Effective quality assurance can be achieved if the mechanisms for ‘guarding’ quality are as close as possible to the point of service delivery.

The universities have declared that they will have such internal systems in place and aligned with the requirements of the relevant standards by the first of September 2022. It is now up to an external review of their compliance with the standards to provide recommendations for further improvement. The overall results of the accreditations are expected by the end of the year.