In the period from August – December 2020, agencies for Quality Assurance in higher education in the Western Balkans participated in the external analysis of their quality assurance systems against the European Standards and Guidelines 2015 (ESG).
The external analysis was implemented by external experts with long-lasting experience in reviewing the agencies for quality assurance. It was commissioned by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and implemented in cooperation with Education Reform Initiative of South Eastern Europe (ERI SEE) as a part of the Multiannual Action Plan on Regional Economic Area (MAP REA) agenda, endorsed by prime ministers of the Western Balkan 6.
The main objective of this assignment was to conduct on-line reviews of quality assurance systems in the Western Balkans and analyse to what extent and in which segments they comply with the established European standards and guidelines, and which are the areas where the ESG standards are not met. The exercise resulted in the list of specific recommendations at regional level to ensure the progress in this area. The exercise was implemented in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Serbia and the Republic of North Macedonia.
The external analysis started with the submission of self-evaluation reports by the QA agencies to external experts, in parallel with the desk reviews of documents, and continued with on-line interviews with relevant stakeholders in each of the economies, conducted by external experts. The exercise was finalized in December 2020 and resulted in the individual reports per economy as well as collective regional report with recommendations on the ways ahead in the alignment with the ESG.
The individual reports per economy as well as the collective regional report are currently being observed by the members of the Working Group on Recognition of Academic Qualifications and other relevant stakeholders. The next meeting on the presentation of the reports and agreements on the steps ahead will be organized in January 2021, where recommendations and action plans will be discussed.