On the 24th July 2020, following the conclusions and agreements of the 7th meeting of the RCC – ERI SEE Joint Working Group on Recognition of Academic Qualifications – WG RAQ (held in February 2020), the exercise on the analysis of the current QA standards used by the Western Balkan QA agencies for higher education and their compliance with the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) was initiated via an on-line meeting. The aim of this exercise is to identify the areas of compliance and non-compliance with ESG, offer expert recommendations to the WB QA agencies in higher education and thus support their preparations for prospective membership in European QA bodies.
The exercise is a part of the Declaration on Recognition of Academic Qualifications, endorsed by the Western Balkans economies during the Poznan summit in July 2019, within the Berlin process. The Declaration emphasized the importance of the alignment the WB QA bodies with the ESG and mandated Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and Education Refom Initiative of South Eastern Europe (ERI SEE) to support the process.
Thus, Regional Cooperation Council – RCC and the Education Reform Initiative of South Eastern Europe – ERI SEE Secretariat initiated the exercise and organized the meeting, in cooperation with the representatives of the Knowledge Information Centre – KIC contracted to implement the exercise.
KIC representatives presented the timeline and the main outlook of the project that aims at:
- Outlining and comparing QA systems against ESG of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Republic of North Macedonia and Serbia;
- Outlining the standards which are not met but are required by ESG for each WB6 economy;
- Outlining a comprehensive list of specific recommendations per each economy with actions on achieving the ESG.
Following the fruitful discussion, the representatives of participating economies agreed on the timeline and steps to be taken as part of the self-assessment exercise.