A Dynamic and Integrated Evaluation and Reporting Process (DIERP) is proposed to address some of the current questions in Academic Quality Assurance (AQA). The proposed platform would enable a more integrated and consistent approach to AQA across the full spectrum from the learner and academic practitioner, through Higher Education Institutions (HEI) to national and international quality and accreditation agencies. While the questions which form the basis of the academic review process are numerous, they are indeed a finite number. Hence they can be structured in a coherent way. Supported by off-the-shelf interpretative tools, the products in many cases of industrial process control/ validation developments, a new template can be put in place to support a coherent approach to AQA and institutional validation. This, in turn, will lead to advances in benchmarking, AQA enhancement and mutual recognition of qualifications, professional licenses etc. The migration of these tools from industrial/manufacturing sphere would well mirror the original transfer of Deming’s PDCA toolkit into earlier AQA practices. It is time to embrace new technology and generate new ideas in AQA. Process Analytic Technology (PAT) offers a new platform for AQA. DIERP would enhance AQA processes and align some with industry methodologies, increasing industry understanding and acceptability of academic quality values and outcomes, providing a common platform for industry and academic stakeholders alike. Issues such as what, when and how to review, compliance or enhancement and relevant ICT enabling tools are other components in this platform. This input is an example of proposed best answering the increasing demands for evidence-based accreditation and validation exercises.
The worldwide tendency to make a stronger link between higher education and the labour market with the aim to increase the employability of the Youth is clearly reflected in the Hungarian governmental measurements lately. The Hungarian Higher Educational Strategy acknowledges: in order to raise the level and competitiveness of education the affected parties have to accept the concept that state higher education institutions can and must operate as a part of the market. The HE Strategy -with the title „A change of pace in higher education”- includes PHE-related goals and measurements on a large scale, some of which have already been realized. A significant change has been the transformation of the institutional system during 2016, as a result of which many colleges became „universities of applied sciences” offering bachelor and master programs, like universities do, but still keeping the focus on practice, moreover placing stronger emphasis on integrating practice into the programs. In the framework of this an importamt tendency is the establishment of more and more dual courses. Also, there are other complementary pillars of PHE-related improvements: „Industry 4.0 Irinyi” seeks to improve the contribution of the Hungarian industry to the Hungaran GDP, which naturally entails PHE development, while the Centre for the Cooperation of Higher Education and the Industry is responsible to coordinate PHE with R&D&I activities and to make use of scientific results in practice (making the link between applied research and industrial experience) with the aim of increasing effectiveness in business and promoting innovation.
Universities of applied sciences are becoming more and more accepted in higher education systems all over Europe. Previously very Humboldtian higher education systems like the Hungarian and Austrian have also introduced this institutional category. However these ”latecomers” have to face the multifaceted challenge of convergence vs. divergence as compared to traditional universities. The strategic challenge here is: how much to converge to the academic-orientation of traditional universities and with the academic requirements of national regulation or how much to diverge to the ever increasing needs of the corporate world? Humboldtian systems with no formal recognition of professional higher education raise serious burdens to respond to the above mentioned questions? The seemingly ambidextrious strategic question is how to fulfill both needs? What kind of human resources are needed to respond to the twofold challenge? What kind of organizational cultural challenges would a university of applied sciences face in such external environment?