EUA : European University Association

EUA welcomes launch of European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education

The launch of the European Quality Assurance <br/>Register for Higher Education
The launch of the European Quality Assurance
Register for Higher Education

EUA is delighted to announce that the new European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) has been officially launched in Brussels this week.

The new register, which is one of the milestones of the Bologna process reforms, aims to provide clear and objective information about trustworthy quality assurance agencies that are working in Europe. It has been established by the  “E4 Group” -  comprising EUA, the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), the European Students Union (ESU), and the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE) – under the mandate of  Education Ministers from the 46 countries taking part in the Bologna process.

The EQAR also aims to help improve the quality of European higher education and to promote greater student mobility by increasing trust between higher education institutions. Whilst most European countries already have quality assurance agencies of one sort or another, the EQAR will serve as an instrument to improve the quality of those national quality assurance agencies and allow higher education institutions to choose between different agencies, if that is compatible with national arrangements.

Under the Bologna process reforms, there has been a rapid development across Europe of national quality assurance systems, and as a result, common reference points have been defined at European level to improve the consistency of quality assurance schemes.

Inclusion on the EQAR, which is voluntary, will be based on compliance with the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance adopted by European Education Ministers in 2005. A Committee – composed of independent experts nominated by the E4 Group, BusinessEurope, Education International, together with five government observers – will be responsible for admissions to the register. The register will be accepting applications from the summer of 2008 and information will be publicly accessible through a web-based tool.

The EQAR was officially launched by the heads of the E4 Group at a special launch meeting in Brussels on the 4th March.  During the meeting, EUA Secretary General Lesley Wilson has been appointed as the first President of the EQAR executive board. She stressed that the register had been one of the major achievements of the Bologna process, highlighting the success of the unique stakeholder approach. The register would also be an important tool in helping to make European higher education more competitive and attractive on a global scale, an argument also shared by Ján Figel', European Commissioner responsible for education, youth and culture.

"The Register is an important element in the chain of information tools that are needed to make European higher education more transparent and more attractive for our own citizens and for students and scholars from other continents," he said whilst speaking at the event.

Call for Papers – EUA Autumn Conference, Rotterdam (extended deadline)

EUA’s Autumn conference in Rotterdam (23-25 October 2008) will consider how best to promote the development of inclusive and responsive universities able to cope with the numerous challenges facing European universities.

These challenges include the changing demography of Europe; global competition and the simultaneous demands to respond better to specific local/regional needs; and new modes of knowledge production and transmission. Participants in Rotterdam will discuss how universities deal with these challenges and what being an ‘inclusive and responsive university’ means in this changing environment, while taking account of the different missions of the university.

In order to provide participants with a broad range of topical input, two paper sessions are scheduled in the conference programme. EUA is therefore issuing a call for papers (download here).

EUA is pleased to announce that the deadline for submission of papers has been extended until the 15 April 2008.

EUA Spring Conference: Registration closed

Registration for EUA’s 2008 Spring Conference, that will be hosted by the University of Barcelona from 27-29 March 2008, is now closed.

More than 350 people have now registered for the event which has reached its full capacity.

Please click here to read more about the event.

EUA calls for support to higher education in Kosovo

Kosovo, once again in the news, is clearly a key challenge for Europe in the months and years to come, and now is also the time to remember that the sustainable future of the entire Southeastern European region depends on the development of a high quality and European oriented education system.

Kosovo has always been a region of priority attention for EUA, and more so now than ever. EUA considers it vitally important to support the two main universities – located in Pristina and Mitrovica – in developing European academic cooperation and partnership, and will therefore work closely with both institutions to intensify support from EUA’s member universities.

While many students in Europe now take for granted unprecedented opportunities to benefit from a genuine European educational experience, Kosovo youth has largely been isolated from these positive developments. It is time to make a real effort in improving the quality of higher education and to increase opportunities for students to benefit from the Bologna reforms.

EUA is a member of a network of organisations that support higher education in Kosovo – along with the Council of Europe, ESU, the Stability Pact for South East Europe, SPARK and others - and will use the opportunities of this informal network to develop appropriate support activities in guiding the higher education system. Universities interested in contributing to this effort are actively invited to contact EUA.

Embracing Southeastern European higher education institutions in the European Higher Education Area is a necessity for the entire region. The role of Europe’s universities is critical, and this message will be underlined in the near future by Georg Winckler, President of EUA, who is planning a visit to Kosovo to reinforce the message of commitment from the European academic community.

European University-Business Forum (28-29 February 2008)

The European Commission’s Directorate for Education and Culture last week organised its first European University-Business Forum in Brussels.

EUA President, Professor Georg Winckler was invited to present in the opening plenary session of the forum. He underlined to the audience that university-business collaboration was a high priority for EUA, particularly in the context of developing relevant policies within a strong lifelong learning framework. He outlined how the organisation was promoting collaboration through such initiatives as the Responsible Partnering and DOC-CAREERS projects.

Looking to the future, Professor Winckler highlighted the need to strengthen the knowledge triangle – teaching, research and innovation – as part of the drive for excellence. Universities were ‘on the move’, he said, but needed collective recognition as key stakeholders in the decision making process affecting Europe’s knowledge economy.

EUA’s senior programme manager, Lidia Borrell-Damian, also presented the university perspective in a workshop on mobility. Outlining some of the outcomes of the EUA DOC-CAREERS project, she explained how this work had highlighted the importance of mobility (both within academia and between business and academia) to business employers.

EUA understands that the Directorate for Education and Culture plans to make this an annual meeting, which will be complemented by a series of thematic workshops on specific aspects of university-business collaboration such as lifelong learning.

Please click here to read Professor Winckler’s slides, or to view the presentation by Lidia Borell.