The quality of higher education is a broader issue in Europe, not only in Slovakia. Quality management of international study programmes is becoming a focal point of discussion as their numbers increase and they are confronted with differences in national legislation. The topic even goes beyond Europe.
In Stockholm, Sweden, the European Association for Quality Assurance Agencies (ENQA) is holding its general assembly today and tomorrow. In a secret ballot, they confirmed the incumbent president, Douglas Blackstock from the UK, for another term. The topics of the meeting are mainly quality management of joint study programmes, standardisation of procedures and criteria, but also quality management and e-learning, recognition of education, and academic integrity.
Slovak Accreditation Agency for Higher Education is participating in this meeting for the first time, as an associate member without voting rights. This could change after the successful completion of the ENQA Agency Review process, which the Agency has already requested.
“Complying as soon as possible with the requirements of the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ESG 2015) in Slovak higher education institutions is the first step for improving the quality of the education provided. We are working intensively with the universities themselves on the implementation of quality management and we will review the progress at each of them in the coming year,” said Robert Redhammer, Chair of the Executive Board of the Slovak Accreditation Agency for Higher Education.*
The heads of the agencies met in the modern surroundings of Karolinska Institutet, a prestigious Swedish university, one of the best in the world. “I am amazed at the scale of investment that is flowing into higher education and scientific research in Sweden. In fact, in every developed country,” said Robert Redhammer. “Without deeper changes in funding, it will be difficult to talk about real quality improvement. I believe that we will succeed in getting a higher education and scientific research in Slovakia to be seen as an investment in the future, for the benefit of citizens, not as a consumer expenditure,” he added.
The event has over 100 participants not only from European countries, but also representatives from Asia, Australia, and Africa.
* According to the Act, higher education institutions were to design and implement their own “internal quality assurance systems”, review all the study programmes they provide, and apply for accreditation from the agency by the end of the year.