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Quality assurance

The European Higher Education Area in 2020

Bologna Process Implementation Report
Publications Office of the European Union
The history of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), which this report aims to capture - at least in part - is one of extraordinary change. Following the signature of the Bologna Declaration in 1999, a first decade of preparation for the EHEA saw dramatic changes in higher education degree systems, quality assurance and internationalisation. These changes set higher education systems on a path in the same direction, but were contested and even resisted in many parts of Europe. This decade was followed by a period that focused on implementation processes that continues to the present. Despite the complexity of a process involving 48 countries, there have been many positive outcomes as the EHEA has transformed into a real rather than an imagined phenomenon. Its evolution in the future depends on the work that is undertaken now. Some basic facts are worth noting. Countries have continued to join the EHEA throughout the two decades, and student numbers have grown significantly in the vast majority of countries. Today, total student numbers have reached more than 38 million. Of these, the majority of students (56.4 %) are enrolled in first-cycle, bachelor-type study programmes that were viewed sceptically by many at the start of the Bologna Process. Although there are considerable variations between countries, overall public spending on tertiary education relative to GDP has a median value of 0.95 %. In most countries, this figure has either been stable or has decreased during the two decades. Thus, the increase in student demand has not been matched by expenditure on higher education.

The Internal quality assurance as an instrument for the integration and improving of higher education :

analysis of best practices in the European Union and Latin America
Volume, number, page: 
123 p.
The aim of this work is to identify the main factors which influence in the implementation and development of Quality Assurance Systems in higher education institutions (HEIs), and compare different regions with similar changes. In such scenary, it becomes a necessary task try to understand the processes that have led to the current education policy as well as the changes in the vision which the European Community (EC) has had on higher education over time. In this vein, higher education and education in general have moved from a marginal location towards the center of the concerns in almost all over the world. So far, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) do not work in a vacuum, but they are an important part of today's knowledge society. Through out a multiple case studies and two indepth case studies (Qualitative Methodology), was analyzed the way in which different internal quality assurance systems (IQAS) have been implemented and developed in six universities, [three from the Euroepan Union (EU) and three from Latin America (LA)]. From the observation of these cases in the field of quality assurance in higher education, we propose the use of some categories that provide an overview of the quality assurance as a policy domain within which policies are formulated. Derived from literature review were identified three big lines of work related with quality assurance issues in higher education; historical analysis; theoretical approaches, and political change. The latter has served as guideline to guide our work within the quality assurance in HEIs, particularly in reference to recurrent practices to evaluate the quality of some of the HEIs activities and the structures associated with these practices (Vlǎsceanu et al. 2007). In this proposal we follow a comparative approach to the political process, the outputs and outcomes of policies that facilitate discovering empirical relationships between variables, particularly in the field of public policies. Far to find answers, the results take us to consider some questions about possible patterns or guidelines associated to processes like the Bologna's for instance and compared with the Latin-American situation. This assignment speaks of quality assurance as a tool for the integration and improvement of higher education, also considers the quality assurance within the policy domain, as well as its different forms of implementation resulting from a national policy or transnational and whose impact is reflected in the actions taken by the HEI's. Even though is not a prescriptive framework, the EFQM excellence model perspective, allows to identifying the basic elements which compose the structure of QA system which is based on the application of the principles of Total Quality Management (TQM) towards educational institutions. Whatever the origin of these new activities, no doubt the normative framework derived from the Bologna Declaration has set some trends of accreditation in Europe. It is clear that, in one way or another, this has influenced the development of varied quality assurance outlines in Latin America, as is demonstrated by the development of the QA actions identified on presented cases
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