QA Lead

EURASHE is a partner in the QA Lead (Equipping Institutional Leaders to Maximise Gains from Quality Assurance) project.

Underneath are further information on:


The past 20 years have seen significant investments in Quality Assurance infrastructure across Europe, thanks largely to the focus on quality assurance provided by the Bologna Process. Starting with the ESGs and EQAVET, a multitude of standards provide guidance as to what constitutes quality. Quality approaches in institutions vary widely, and despite efforts to the contrary, often quality assurance is reduced to a “commitment to quality culture” supported by a bureaucratic and time-consuming set of checks, often in the form of evaluation questionnaire of various kinds.

In fact, according to analysis from the European Commission contained in the Modernisation Agenda for Education, educational institutions are not:

  • Equipping enough people with the right skills for modern society;
  • Doing enough to tackle social divisions, in particular with regards to people from low socioeconomic
    and migrant backgrounds;
  • Contributing enough to innovation in the places they are located, and
  • Organized and funded in a way that allows them to work well.

Quality assurance policy in Europe has either been unable to detect or unable to resolve these issues. It the project’s hypothesis that this is due to quality assurance which is applied nearly exclusively a course/programme level rather than at institutional-strategy level, where it can be a lever for organizational transformation.

In analysing this phenomenon, the project partners have identified a lack of formalised expertise in quality management amongst institutional top management as a key barrier limiting uptake. Often institutional leaders will have never received any formal training in QA-management, and thus, while having significant expertise as to what constitutes quality education, will have limited expertise in how to translate that mission and vision into a management system based on clear quality objectives, backed up by steady processes that will assure the adequate planning and realization of activities leading to the achievement of those objectives, as well as monitoring and analysing processes that will enable continual improvement.

A properly implemented quality management system allows an institution to understand the requirements of all its stakeholders, including students, industry and society, and then to design a
mission, vision and strategy that addresses those requirements. Thus, the main intended impact from QALead is to change attitudes towards quality assurance from a compliance-focused mindset that focus on the needs of learners, enterprise and society.

Following are the partners of the project:

  • Association of Slovene Higher Vocational Colleges (Association HVC) - Skupnost višjih strokovnih šol Republike Slovenije (SKUPNOST VSŠ) The Association of Slovene Higher Vocational Colleges (Association HVC) was founded as a public institution in 2005, when its Establishing Act was... Read more
  • Czech Association of Schools of Professional Higher Education (CASPHE) - Sdružení profesního terciárního vzdělávání (SSVS) The Czech Association of Professional Higher Education (CASPHE) is an independent organisation of colleges and institutes of professional higher education in the Czech Republic. It... Read more
  • Institute of Tourism Studies - The Institute of Tourism Studies is a vocational and higher education institution aimed at meeting the changing needs of the Hospitality and Tourism Industry. It currently employs 195 members of... Read more
  • Jozef Stefan Institute (JSI) - Jožef Stefan Institute (JSI) is the main research institution for natural sciences in Slovenia having over 900 researchers within 25 departments working in the areas of computer science, physics, and... Read more
  • Knowledge Innovation Centre (Malta) (KIC-Malta) - The Knowledge Innovation Centre is a dynamic consultancy focusing on knowledge brokerage and innovation of knowledge transfer processes. The Centre brings together a variety of local and European experts from... Read more
  • Portuguese Polytechnics Coordinating Council (CCISP) - Conselho Coordenador dos Institutos Superiores Politécnicos (CCISP) Created in 1979, the Conselho Coordenador dos Institutos Superiores Politécnicos (CCISP – Portuguese Polytechnics Coordinating Council) is the body of joint coordination and... Read more
  • Jozef Stefan Institute (JSI)

    Jožef Stefan Institute (JSI) is the main research institution for natural sciences in Slovenia having over 900 researchers within 25 departments working in the areas of computer science, physics, and chemistry and biology. Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, having approx 40 researchers, is one of the largest European research groups working in information technologies and artificial intelligence. The laboratory closely collaborates with Centre for Knowledge Transfer in Information Technologies (CT3) working in the areas of knowledge management, research results dissemination and e-learning.

    Institute of Tourism Studies

    The Institute of Tourism Studies is a vocational and higher education institution aimed at meeting the changing needs of the Hospitality and Tourism Industry. It currently employs 195 members of Staff
    and welcomes 606 students.

    The Institute provides courses and programmes of learning including practical and work experience, that lead to recognised Qualifications in accordance with the Malta Qualifications Framework, in
    trades, skills and professions as may be necessary in the tourism, restaurants and the catering industry and services, including by distance learning and or by any effective means and from any
    suitable place according to the objective of the course of programme. The courses and programmes also include suitable course and programme options for industry per-entrants and
    specialised programmes for personnel in the tourism industry. The Institute ensures that the courses and programmes aim to develop, technical, generic and behavioural skills and competencies,
    integrate theory and practice and promote modern leadership approaches. Furthermore, the work placement for learners which are an integral part of the courses and programmes are provided
    according to the established quality standards as required by the Institute.

    On a yearly basis, the Institute offers students the possibility to train abroad through internships. This internship is over a twelve-month period and students will be trained in areas related to their studies
    in the hospitality industry, be it a hotel or a tourism enterprise. In this regard, the students receive ECTS/ECVET credits for this placement as part of their curricula. In this regard, some students receive a salary from the host enterprise. Students who do not receive a salary may benefit from EU funds for VET mobility to help them cover their expenses. Over the years, many students benefited from such funds but as of 2017 ITS embarked on a new strategy. Diploma students are encouraged to take up salary-based placements. Furthermore, as from academic year 2017-2018 ITS opened its doors to degree courses. In this regard participants will embark on a Higher Education study mobility overseas supported by EU Higher Education funds. Such a module is embedded in the course curriculum. The Europass mobility document is also offered and explained prior to the mobility activities of all participants. This experience gives the students the possibility of developing holistically and gaining an international perspective of what their needs entail.

    Czech Association of Schools of Professional Higher Education (CASPHE)

    Sdružení profesního terciárního vzdělávání (SSVS)

    The Czech Association of Professional Higher Education (CASPHE) is an independent organisation of colleges and institutes of professional higher education in the Czech Republic. It was founded in 1991. CASPHE represents interests of the particular type of schools and education, contributes to their development. It plays a role in policy discussions as regards the formulation of problems relevant to the development of professionally-oriented higher (tertiary) education sector faces and proposals of their solution. CASPHE facilitates mutual cooperation of member schools and exchange their experiences, facilitates contact individual for members seeking to create conditions for qualitative growth, creates a sense of belonging and mutual interest.

    CASPHE activities include:
    • conceptual and policy work on the development and structuring of professionally oriented tertiary education;
    • development of colleges and institutes of professional higher education including information on challenges, trends and developments at international level and promotion of experience from abroad;
    • promotion of the idea of professional higher (tertiary) education including communication with professional bodies and representation of employers;
    • preparation and coordination of international and Czech-based projects, seminars and conferences;
    • activities in the field of quality management and improvement.

    In 2019 CASPHE has 16 members and affiliated schools while the range of collaborating institutions was substantially wider. CASPHE has many signed cooperation agreements with many other schools and institutions including Universities and Employers organizations such as different kind of Chambers of commerce etc. In the year 2017 CASPHE has signed a cooperation agreement with West Bohemia University and receive together from The Technology Agency of the Czech Republic large innovative project concerning Study programs innovations in the times of 4.0 phenomenon. CASPHE remains open to any institution of tertiary education whose overall objectives are consistent with the mission of the association.
    Due to its focus on internationalisation, CASPHE became soon after its establishment (since 1993) an active member of EURASHE (European Association of Institutions in Higher Education). Since 2007 the executive officer of CASPHE, Michal Karpisek, has served as a vice-president of EURASHE and now he is serving as Secretary General of EURASHE. Today executive officer of CASPHE Iva Voldanova is very experienced person in the field of PHE and had served in the EURASHE office for 5 years and is active in many projects concerning PHE and VET.

    Specific fields of expertise within CASPHE cover:
    • policy and strategic issues related to educational policy, in particular with a focus on professional higher (tertiary) education;
    • qualifications frameworks, learning outcomes and their implementation;
    • quality assurance and quality enhancement issues;
    • methodology of teaching/learning with a focus on practically-oriented elements including students’ placements;
    • facilitation of discussion with stakeholders, in particular partners from the world of work, regional bodies and higher education institutions.

    The Czech Association of Professional Higher Education (CASPHE) was set up in 1991 by schools in order to contribute to their development and coordinate their activities. The key mission was the promotion of professional higher education concept in the Czech Republic, but also coordination of projects and activities leading to enhanced knowledge and practical experience of member schools regarding international experience and good practice.

    Since then CASPHE has been engaged in all key policy and legislative steps relevant to professional higher education development, communicated with key stakeholders including the representatives of the world of work. CASPHE coordinated a number of projects and seminars in the field of curriculum development, methodology of teaching in tertiary education, teacher training, school management and marketing, most of them in close cooperation with similar institutions from many countries.

    As regards the overall concept and policy of professional higher education development, CASPHE representatives were engaged in most of the recent reform projects of the Ministry of Education within higher education.

    In 2001-2004 CASPHE or its key staff were engaged in the development of criteria and methodology of quality assessment of non-university higher education sector. In 2007 CASPHE was commissioned by the Ministry of education to develop criteria and methodology of accreditation of professional tertiary education (college sector).

    Besides this expertise, CASPHE followed also discussions on employability issues, life-long-learning concept, methods of teaching and learning and student-centred learning. Its members are dealing with issues of research, development and innovation activities relevant to professionally oriented higher education.

    Key qualification and skills of key staff regard:
    • Policy and strategy development
    • Specific mission, role and characteristics of professional tertiary education, its embedding within higher education policy including short-cycle
    • Life-long learning concept at institutions of tertiary education
    • Qualification frameworks, learning outcomes
    • Quality assurance and enhancement
    • Curriculum development in interaction with labour market
    • Supporting apprenticeships between PHEi and VET Institutions and World of Work,

    …and other relevant issues within a complex picture of professional higher education developments

    Association of Slovene Higher Vocational Colleges (Association HVC)

    Skupnost višjih strokovnih šol Republike Slovenije (SKUPNOST VSŠ)

    The Association of Slovene Higher Vocational Colleges (Association HVC) was founded as a public institution in 2005, when its Establishing Act was confirmed and adopted by the Slovene government. It is a professional association of higher vocational colleges on the national level. It includes 48 members (96% of all Slovene HVC institutions) all providing EQF level 5 as public or private providers. They offer their programs (31) on 25 locations across Slovenia to 99% of the national EQF level 5 students population (120 ECTS). The Association HVC main mission is to promote the interests of higher vocational education in Slovenia and beyond its borders and to contribute to the progressive development of professional higher education and professional research area. Our members do not only provide higher vocational education programmes, but also contribute to the field of applied research and professional studies as well as directly to the development of local communities and regions. The Association HVC and its members have 20 years of experience in coordination of national and international projects. Our specifics are 40% of curricula that are provided as in company work-based learning and the teaching staff requirements that demand up to date professional experience and knowledge from the field of work as well as pedagogical and andragogical competencies of our teaching staff. In doing so we ensure up to date theoretical training at the institution facility and then monitored and guided in company placements with certified and qualified mentors. The result is that our graduates are 97% employed and cherished by the employers as ready to work and act graduates in comparison to their peer graduates from higher education that are experiencing a growing number of unemployment with the bachelor, master and even doctoral degrees. Our values are QUALITY – INNOVATION and ENTREPRENEURSHIP – RESPONSIBILITY – RESPECT.

    Knowledge Innovation Centre (Malta) (KIC-Malta)

    The Knowledge Innovation Centre is a dynamic consultancy focusing on knowledge brokerage and innovation of knowledge transfer processes. The Centre brings together a variety of local and European experts from a variety of fields, and has worked extensively within Quality Assurance of Higher Education, Technology Enhanced Learning, Student Services and knowledge economy (as it relates to the Lisbon Agenda and Barcelona Process). The Centre has forged close relationships with a number of stakeholders in the regional innovation and Higher Education fields, and is active in leveraging such relationships to build multi-disciplinary, multi-country networks for knowledge transfer and capitalisation. The Centre also offers a variety of online solutions geared at maximising quality assurance mechanisms, public relations and services.

    Portuguese Polytechnics Coordinating Council (CCISP)

    Conselho Coordenador dos Institutos Superiores Politécnicos (CCISP)

    Created in 1979, the Conselho Coordenador dos Institutos Superiores Politécnicos (CCISP – Portuguese Polytechnics Coordinating Council) is the body of joint coordination and representation of public polytechnic higher education establishments. It comprises all public polytechnics (15 in total) and all public non integrated schools (5 in total).

    Since in Portugal universities can also encompass polytechnic organic units, some of the public universities that provide polytechnic courses are also part of CCISP, these being the Universities of the Azores, the Algarve, Aveiro, Évora and Madeira.

    It is CCISP’s mission, in addition to the co-representation of polytechnic higher education institutes to collaborate in the creation of national education, science and culture policies, and to issue opinion on all issues having to do with the public polytechnic higher education system, not only in terms of legislation, but also in terms of budget.

    Furthermore, the Council also aims to contribute to the development of education, research and culture in general and to the recognition of polytechnic higher education institutions and their agents, as well as the reinforcement of partnerships with foreign entities. This is why CCISP is a member of several international networks associated with polytechnic higher education, namely, the Universities of Applied Sciences Network (UASNET) and The European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE).