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European Quality Assurance Forum

21 to 23 November – TU Berlin, Germany. The EQAF (European Quality Assurance Forum) conference covered the theme: “Supporting societal engagement of Higher education”.

This annual conference is a bit like the “High mass”  of European and now global quality assurance. This year, the conference welcomed 730 partners from all continents, which means that diversity was not an empty phrase. The participants were representatives of universities, students or accreditation agencies as well as partners of these universities (unions, ministries).

The overall idea of the conference was to find levers to boost the social commitment of institutions. Quality was indicated as one of these levers.

The EQAF conference is both a place for networking and sharing good practices, as well as for reflecting on the future, so it was the ideal place to present an original activities of CTI.

The added value of stakeholders for an institution was an interesting topic of discussion: ministries, trade unions and students were represented, however ministries positioned themselves more as partners than as stakeholders. The unions face two issues: their members consider redundant to introduce quality measures at their institutions; and the need for a more general role in this field.

INQAAHE (International Network for Quality Assurance in Higher Education) presented a highly anticipated survey conducted worldwide among 200 of 322 existing agencies. This survey shows that the agency-based evaluation exists mainly in Europe, for the CTI, it is carried out by ENQA. Another conclusion is that the massively developing External Quality Assurance (led by agencies) tends to replace Internal Quality Assurance led by the institutions themselves.

This conference provided a moment of retreat that will facilitate future progress for our evaluation and accreditation agencies!

Anne-Marie Jolly (CTI)