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New EUA study maps quality assurance processes and ‘quality culture’ in Europe’s universities

November 15, 2010

A new study published by EUA analyses the implementation of quality assurance (QA) processes within European universities and how they are being used to develop a ‘quality culture’ within higher education institutions.

Over the last decade, there has been an increasing rise in demand for QA within higher education. This has been driven by a number of factors including rising student numbers and massification of higher education and also at the European level by the Bologna Process reforms, which have a stated aim to raise the quality of European higher education provision. As part of the Bologna Process, in 2005, ministers of education adopted the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area which reinforced the role of universities as having primary responsibility for quality assurance.

The new study is a result of the first part of an EC-supported project “Examining quality culture in higher education institutions” carried out by EUA with its partners, The German Rectors' Conference (HRK) and QAA Scotland. 222 institutions from 36 countries responded to a questionnaire to enable EUA to map the processes and structures used by universities to support internal quality and respond to the increasing demands of accountability.

Co-author of the report Tia Loukkola said: “This report underlines the remarkable progress made in QA in recent years. According to our results, the overwhelming majority of European universities now have fundamental policies, structures and processes in place. This was certainly not the case ten years ago, so things have moved quickly in a relatively short space of time. Nevertheless, the survey also underlines that developing a ‘quality culture’ takes time and that there are a number of areas where universities can improve QA processes, notably in terms of widening student participation and stakeholder involvement.”

The report will be presented at the European Quality Assurance Forum for Higher Education taking place in Lyon (18-20 November).

Click here to read a press release with a longer summary of the findings.

Download the full report.