LÍS – The National Union for Icelandic Students held a conference on Quality Assurance (QA) which took place on 13 October 2018, at Reykjavík University. It was held in collaboration with The Icelandic Centre for Research and the Ministry of Education and Culture, as a part of the Erasmus+ project, Bologna Reform in Iceland (BORE).
QA officers in the Icelandic Higher Education system, students, university staff and various stakeholders came together to discuss quality in a broad context. The purpose of the conference was to start a dialogue between students and various stakeholders on quality issues as well as matters about diverse challenges students face in Iceland.
Aldís Mjöll Geirsdóttir, the Quality Assurance Officer of LÍS, opened the conference and presented the student handbook on quality in Higher Education which is an accessible guide for students, and especially recommended to those participating in Quality Assurance in Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in Iceland. Aldís also introduced a podcast called “The Student Talk” which will start by explaining what quality in HEIs is in an understandable and interesting way. Both the student handbook and the podcast are perfect for those curious about how Quality Assurance works and/or are taking their first steps into the huge and sometimes overwhelming field that Quality tends to be.
The conference also offered an array of presentations and workshops held by members of the executive committee of LÍS and stakeholders. The presentations consisted of several matters, including the Eurostudent survey, which is the first publicly accessible statistical data on the Icelandic student population. The project Student Refugees Iceland, which stems from a Danish model established by the National Union of Students in Denmark (DSF), that LÍS is now implementing. The housing possibilities for students in Iceland and lack thereof and the problems students face, whether they rent student apartments, in the private market or are thinking about buying. The Universities contingency plan for sexism, sexual harassment and violence. And last but not least a lecture and workshop about the Icelandic Student Loan system from the perspective of students and which changes need to be made in order for it to serve its purpose – equal access to education for all.
The conference participants listened to presentations from international experts on quality in higher education and involvement of students in all sectors, Dale Whelehan and Aimee Connelly from Ireland and Marija Vasilevska from Macedonia. Whelehan and Vasilevska are part of the ESU’s Student Experts Pool on Quality Assurance. Their informing presentations on quality assurance and inspiring work on student involvement within universities, were thought-provoking for all participants on how important student participation is in quality assurance in HEIs.
LÍS are really pleased how the conference went and are looking forward to continuing the dialogue.