VALLETTA – More than 130 students’ representatives from all over Europe, policy makers and experts in the area of quality assurance of higher education participated in a consultation conference organised as part of the Quest for Quality for Students project (QUEST) in Valletta, Malta, from 29 November to 1 December 2012.
Among the broadly debated topics at the seminar were the link between the internal and the external quality assurance (QA), increased impact of QA through visibility as well as the challenges confronting different stakeholders’ participation in the QA processes at a European level.
A main discussion point at the seminar was the enhancement of the students’ participation within the QA mechanisms/systems/ frameworks. Although significant improvements have been observed in this respect in the recent years there is still a lot of space for advancing further.
In the light of the recent developments of the EU policy for higher education that has raised the visibility of the work of QA mechanisms, the seminar provided its participants the opportunity to reflect and discuss how the results from QA processes could be made more visible and practically usable for students. The participants debated what consequences this might have vis-a-vis to the purposes of QA and how the quality and reliability of institutions or programmes should be presented. It was highlighted that students and especially students’ unions have a crucial role to play in promoting these activities as main stakeholders.
The transparency of QA related work is steadily increasing. U-Multirank is probably the most tangible on-going project that has already made an impact on how rankings are organised and leads the way for issues linked to transparency and visibility of the quality debate for higher education. That project was presented at the seminar in Malta which widened the discussion platform on the impact of the transparency tools on QA even further.
The European Commission will present a progress report on QA, the European Standards and Guidelines are to be revised and the European Quality Assurance Register might just start to be used across borders. All these processes contribute to building the European dimension of Higher education. However, the vision of the stakeholders for this common European dimension might differ. A moderated roundtable discussion between the representatives of EUA, ENQA and EURASHE and ESU puts these different views of stakeholders on the table trying to reach a common understanding about the European dimension of QA.
Alan Pall was among the participants in the QUEST seminar. Here he’s giving a presentation to some of the key players at the seminar.
Participants in the successful seminar on QUEST discussed how to define a concept for quality assurance of education.
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The European Students’ Union, headquartered in Brussels, is the umbrella organisation of 47 national unions of students from 39 European countries. ESU represents and promotes the educational, social, economical and cultural interests of students at the European level. Through its member unions, ESU represents over 11 million students in Europe. To find out more about ESU, follow us on Twitter @ESUtwt, check out or Facebook page or visit www.esu-online.org. ESU celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2012.