Inclusion on the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR)
At its meeting of 5 May 2012, the Register Committee decided to include the OAQ on the EQAR-Register.
The European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education EQAR was set up in 2007 at the recommendation of the European Parliament and the European Commission by the European University Association and the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EUA and EURASHE), the European Students’ Union (ESU) and the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) – known as the E4. The task of EQAR is to keep a register of “trustworthy” agencies which satisfy the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG) of the E4. EQAR has been operational since 2008.
The integrity of the procedure for inclusion in EQAR is supervised by the E4 and the Governments of the countries belonging to the European Higher Education Area. All the signatory States of the Bologna Declaration can become members of EQAR. Switzerland has been a member since 2009.
As membership of ENQA, the “European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education”, likewise presupposes compliance with the ESG, the report of the Peer Review on the renewal of OAQ membership of ENQA was used as the basis for the application for inclusion on the EQAR register. After renewal of the membership with ENQA, the OAQ submitted its application to EQAR in January 2012. By letter of May 2012, the Register Committee confirmed inclusion on the register which remains valid until 30.9.2016.
When the OAQ application comes up for renewal in 2016, the Register Committee will pay particular attention to a few points on which the OAQ does not yet meet all the ESG requirements, or cannot fully satisfy these standards because of restrictions imposed by the current legislative texts:
- Stakeholders should be still more fully involved, especially in the development of QA processes (ESG 2.2).
- All reports should be published, especially also in cases in which the decision is not taken by the OAQ and even if the outcome is a negative decision (ESG 2.5).
Feedback mechanisms with all the stakeholders need to be more formalized.
For the implementation of these critical points and further recommendations arising out of the report on the Peer Review by ENQA, the OAQ has drawn up an appropriate action plan which it will extend or complete continuously.