“Standards and recommendations for higher education quality assurance in European Space” (ESG – European Standards and Guidelines) have been developed by the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) by direct order of the Conference of the Ministers of Education of European countries, signatory of the Bologna declaration. Russia signed the Bologna Declaration, which means, along with other countries of Europe undertook the responsibility to build a single educational space.
In 2005 the document was developed and approved by the Ministers of Education and recommended to be implemented into national quality assurance systems. In May 2015 the new updated version of ESG ENQA was published.
The main purpose of ENQA standards and recommendations is to contribute to general understanding of education quality assurance in all countries and among all stakeholders. They are used by higher education institutions and quality assurance agencies as a reference manual for systems of internal and external quality assurance in higher education. The document doesn’t have a prescriptive character, it is nonbinding. However from the moment of its approval at the Conference it has become a real manifest of forming of education quality assurance national systems in European countries. The term “quality assurance” is used in this document for description of all activities within the continual improvement cycle.
ENQA standards and recommendations:
- they set a common framework for quality assurance systems for learning and teaching at European, national and institutional level,
- they enable the assurance and improvement of quality of higher education in the European higher education area;
- they support mutual trust, thus facilitating recognition and mobility within and across national borders;
- they provide information on quality assurance in the EHEA.
Principles for quality assurance in the European space, used as the basis for ESG ENQA:
- Higher education institutions have primary responsibility for the quality of their provision and its assurance,
- Quality assurance responds to the diversity of higher education systems, institutions, programmes and students,
- Quality assurance supports the development of a quality culture,
- Quality assurance takes into account the needs and expectations of students, all other stakeholders and society.
The document is divided into three parts, describing standards and recommendations for:
- internal quality assurance (part 1),
- external quality assurance (part 2),
- quality assurance agencies (part 3).
These three parts are intrinsically interlinked and together form the basis for a European quality assurance framework. External quality assurance (part 2) recognises the standards for internal quality assurance (part 1), thus ensuring that the internal work undertaken by institutions is directly relevant to any external quality assurance that they undergo. In the same way Part 3 refers to Part 2. These three parts work on a complementary basis in higher education institutions as well as in agencies and also work on the understanding that other stakeholders contribute to the framework. As a consequence, the three parts should be read as a whole.
By now ENQA standards and recommendations have been translated into practicaly all European languages.
Russian translation of ENQA standards and recommendations was prepared by the National public professional accreditation center and provided on ENQA website (www.enqa.eu).
Benefits from implementation and conformity assessment
ENQA standards and recommendations in respect of internal education quality assurance, i.e. internal (institution) education quality assurance systems, are intended for implementation into educational organizations and include:
- Policy for quality assurance
- Design and approval of programmes
- Student-centred learning, teaching and assessment
- Student admission, progression, recognition and certification
- Teaching staff
- Learning resources and student support
- Information management
- Public information
- On-going monitoring and periodic review of programmes
- Cyclical external quality assurance
Implementation and assessment of conformity to ESG ENQA has the following benefits for educational organizations:
- Demonstration of responsibility for quality of provided education and its assurance,
- Meeting the needs of students and other stakeholders in quality of the provided education,
- Improved image of educational organizations on the market of education and scientific research services,
- Improved competitiveness of educational organizations and main operated educational programmes on the market of educational services,
- Stronger assurance of quality and improved quality of education results,
- Maintaining of quality culture development,
- Development of competencies in the scope of education quality assurance among employees of education organizations.
This standard contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals: