Document Details

Title Northern Spring: the season of higher education regulatory reform?
Author Carolyn Campbell - Sr Consultant, OBHE


An external quality assurance system is widely regarded as an essential feature in the regulatory landscape for higher education worldwide. However, the existence of a longstanding system or even one meeting international standards would increasingly appear not to be enough to meet heightened national stakeholder expectations of quality in higher education in a time of increasing diversity of provision and providers. There appears to be concern in well-established systems that current standards and processes are perhaps not future oriented enough to encompass innovation and diversity and improve quality in an increasingly unpredictable and competitive world.

International Quality Assurance Networks and Standards

As national agencies have developed so have networks of agencies at international, regional and national levels, and, in some subject areas, for example, Engineering. Along with national regulations, international standards for agencies in terms of principles and good practice in operation have emerged over the last decade. Examples include the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ESG) in the European Area for Higher Education, the Chiba Principles in the Asia Pacific Quality Network (APQN) and the Guidelines of Good Practice in the International Network for Quality Assurance of Higher Education (INQAAHE). In some cases processes to review the compliance of individual agencies with these guidelines have emerged, with lists of successful agencies being published in the network websites or registers such as the European Quality Assurance Register . But, is compliance with these standards and principles really telling stakeholders and the wider public what they want to know about academic standards and the quality of the student experience as opposed to how agencies work?

Date 09/04/2015
Region(s) Europe, All Regions
Countries United Kingdom, International
Theme(s) Regulatory Frameworks
Topic(s) Quality Assurance

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