The Berlin communiqué of the Ministers of the Bologna Process invited EURASHE to sit on a quadripartite platform co-ordinated by ENQA to produce a report on standards and guidelines for quality assurance in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). The report contains a set of standards for internal and external quality assurance, and for external quality assurance agencies, which will be expected to submit themselves to national, cyclical reviews within five years. A European register of quality assurance agencies operating in Europe will be established with a committee as gatekeeper and a European Consultative Forum on Quality Assurance as steering group. The submission of the report does not mean the end of the project. There is still work to do to turn the report into reality. EURASHE has co-operated firmly in the quadripartite platform and made clear its own points of view, stressing the involvement of all stakeholders, such as employers and students, on all levels. EURASHE has often felt as a bridge between the academic partners, the students, the European director general and stakeholders, such as the employers of graduates.
Meanwhile the Bologna process has come up with other important elements in order to build the EHEA, such as the Qualification Framework on higher education and the international recognition of degrees. The Copenhagen process is working on a even wider European Qualification Framework where higher education and professional and vocational training will be recognized and validated. Competences seem to be able to bridge the gap between ECTS, VET and learning outcomes. Quality assurance and accreditation are sure to play a key role in the establishment of international trust as necessary foundation of the future Europe.
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