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Quality Assurance Activities

1. Institutional level: Enhancing quality

The Berlin Communiqué (2003) marked a major turning point by stating that “consistent with the principle of institutional autonomy, the primary responsibility for quality assurance in higher education lies with each institution itself”. Since the 1990s, EUA has taken the lead in developing the capacity of higher education institutions to create internal quality processes through the Institutional Evaluation Programme (IEP) and various projects such as Quality CultureCreativity in Higher Education and Quality Assurance for the Higher Education Change Agenda (QAHECA), and most recently Examining Quality Culture (EQC).

In autumn 2012 EUA is launching two new projects aiming at building the capacity of university staff responsible for quality. Promoting quality culture in higher education institutions (PQC) will consist of a series of trainings with a practical approach to strengthening quality cultures and providing quality managers at universities and staff of QA agencies from LLP-eligible countries with the opportunity to exchange experiences and build connections for future cooperation at European level. ‘Empowering universities to fulfil their responsibility for quality assurance’ (EUREQA) will support universities in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo in improving their internal quality assurance (QA) processes and linking them into a comprehensive, all-encompassing system that leads to the enhancement of quality and the creation of a quality culture.

EUA has worked on quality assurance at doctoral level through the ARDE project, which looked into how quality is assured and enhanced in European doctoral programmes by gathering information on existing structures, good practice and areas of concern.

In 2006, EUA published Guidelines for Quality Enhancement in European Joint Master Programmes, which have become a key reference point for joint programmes.

2. National level: Enhancing external accountability procedures

Many countries that have signed the Bologna Declaration have at least one quality assurance or accreditation agency. Many of these agencies, as well as EUA’s IEP, are members of the European Association for Quality Assurance (ENQA). EUA is regularly associated with system-level discussions and maintains dialogue with its national collective members in terms of developments at national level.


3. European level: Promoting the development of a European dimension for quality assurance

Since September 2001, EUA has been meeting regularly with ENQA, ESU and EURASHE (E4 Group) to discuss how to develop a European dimension for quality assurance further. This partnership resulted in the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ESG) which were adopted by the European Ministers for Education in Bergen in 2005. Currently – upon request by the European Ministers for higher education – the E4 Group is working on the revision of the ESG in co-operation with Education InternationalBusiness Europe and EQAR.

The revised version of the ESG has been endorsed by the Bologna Follow-Up Group and is now subject to approval by the Ministerial Conference in May 2015.

At EUA’s initiative, the E4 has since 2006 been organising an annual European Quality Assurance Forum (EQAF). The EQAF brings together QA agencies and higher education institutions at European level in order to bring forward a European QA agenda based on a broad understanding of what constitutes best QA practices in the context of European higher education trends.

Further, EUA is one of the founding members, along with other E4 Group members, of the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR).


4. International level: regional dialogue

Alongside its involvement in European policy development, EUA is also active internationally to ensure the visibility of European higher education on the world stage. Through its membership in INQAAHE, involvement in the CHEA International Commission, the UNESCO Global Forum and the OECD, EUA strives to shape international QA discussions as well.

From 2010 to 2012 EUA has also carried out the QA Connect project, which aimed to share the institutional evaluation approach in a trial application within five African universities, as well as to exchange regional practices in QA in both Africa and Europe.

European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
Avenue de l’Yser, 24
1040 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

Geneva office:
114, Rue du Rhône
Case postale 3174
1211 Geneva 3
Tel: +41 22 552 02 96