The E4 Group (European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), European Students’ Union (ESU), European University Association (EUA), European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE)), in cooperation with Education International (EI), BUSINESSEUROPE and European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) have today (18 March) published a joint proposal for a revised version of the “Standards and Guidelines for quality assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG)”.
The current ESG, adopted in 2005 by European Ministers, are used by institutions and quality assurance agencies as a reference document for internal and external quality assurance (QA) systems in higher education. Moreover, they help to contribute to the common understanding of quality assurance for learning and teaching across borders and are also used as criteria by the European Quality Assurance Register (EQAR), which is responsible for the register of quality assurance agencies that comply with the ESG.
Since 2005, considerable progress has been made in quality assurance as well as in other Bologna Process action lines such as qualification frameworks, recognition and the promotion of the use of learning outcomes, all these contributing to a paradigm shift towards student-centred learning and teaching. Given this changing context, in 2012 the Bologna Process Ministerial Communiqué invited the E4 Group (ENQA, ESU, EUA and EURASHE) in cooperation with Education International , BUSINESSEUROPE and EQAR, to prepare an initial proposal for a revised ESG “to improve their clarity, applicability and usefulness, including their scope”.
The proposal for a revised ESG
The proposal for a revised version of the ESG, published and presented today at an event in Brussels, has been forwarded to the Bologna Follow Up Group (BFUG), which oversees the Bologna Process in between Ministerial meetings.
As requested by Ministers, the organisations responsible for the proposal have sought to make the ESG clearer, particularly in terms of their structure and in order to avoid potential confusion with their interpretation. The proposal, which presents the joint views of all of the organisations, reflects the recent changes in the EHEA and shows the way forward, we believe, by making a more explicit link to the learning and teaching process in the section on internal QA and defines the relationship of QA with other Bologna Process developments that have taken place since 2005 (including those relating to Qualifications Frameworks and learning outcomes).
The proposal will be discussed at the next BFUG meeting in April. The expectation is that the proposal will be adopted at the latest at the next EHEA Ministerial Meeting that will take place in Armenia in 2015.