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Report from 7th European Quality Assurance Forum: ‘How does quality assurance make a difference?’

29 November 2012

Last week’s 7th European Quality Assurance Forum (EQAF) brought together around 400 higher education stakeholders from approximately 50 countries to discuss the latest developments and trends in quality assurance (QA).

This year’s edition, held at Tallinn University in Estonia, focused on the theme ‘How does quality assurance make a difference?’. Over three days, the majority of the plenary and parallel sessions discussed the impact of external and internal QA on higher education policies and institutional realities. While participants provided a wide range of evidence on this topic, many also called for more research to be carried out on the impact of QA. They also acknowledged, however, the challenges of delivering precise studies on this topic.

The sessions also explored new developments (in QA) such as the increased international dimension of external QA (e.g. cross-border accreditation and recognition of joint programmes). New approaches to quality assurance in various countries and institutions were also presented and participants were given an opportunity to update their knowledge on recent European policy developments.

One of the conclusions of the final plenary was that QA as a whole is a highly politicised field, and by no means an exact science, but perhaps this is part of its appeal to those involved in QA.

The discussions will continue in next year’s EQAF, which will be hosted by the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, from 21 to 23 November 2013. More information on next year’s event will be published through the EUA newsletter and website.

The Forum is organised by the E4 Group consisting of EUA, the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), the European Students' Union (ESU) and the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE).

More information on last week’s EQAF is available on the event website, where presentations will also be posted shortly.

European University Association (EUA)

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