European quality assurance systems: increased autonomy and a greater focus on results

CHE Consult and the Bertelsmann Foundation have investigated the development of quality assurance systems in the European higher education sector on behalf of the European Commission. The study, which is now available online, shows developments from 2009 to 2013.

The analysis covers more than 53 studies and reports on European quality assurance systems published from 2009 to 2013 and pinpoints a few trends. It shows that understanding of quality assurance is developing across Europe. Recognition of quality assurance as an integral part of studying and teaching has been on an upward trend since the establishment of new, independent structures in many countries. Lukas Bischof, one of the authors of the new study, said: “European quality assurance cannot be seen separately from learning targets, recognition of learning performance and the development of qualification frameworks and other target and instruments that form part of the Bologna process.”

As far as the development of a common “market” for quality assurance agencies is concerned, the study shows that an increasing number of agencies are members of the European Quality Assurance Register (EQAR). The register was devised as a confidence-building tool to recognise agency activities from other European countries. However, only a small number of the agencies on the EQAR are currently active at an international level with most agencies striving to join the EQAR in order to enhance their reputation. There are also a number of structural reasons contributing to that fact the European governments are generally still hesitant to put EQAR agencies on a legal par with national agencies.

CHE Consult welcomes the fact the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ESG) are being revised. “The current ESG no longer met the challenges of quality assurance”, said Bischof. The current ESG makes no reference to learning targets, ECTS or qualification frameworks. The new CHE Consult study makes a series of concrete recommendations for further development.


Bischof, Lukas; Gajowniczek, Joanna; Maikämper, Moritz; Aerden, Axel: Input Study to the Report from the European Commission on Progress in the Development of Quality Assurance Systems in the various Member States and on Cooperation Activities at European Level, Brüssel, European Union, 101 Seiten, ISBN 978-92-79-38290-1


Lars Hüning+49 30 2332267-56Write e-mail