Brief outline of ARACIS participation in the international project
Implementation and Innovation in QA through peer learning (IMINQA)
Project type: project co-financed by the Erasmus+ Program
Type of action: ERASMUS Lump Sum Grants
Project ID: 101061397
Implementation period: 36 months (May 2022 – April 2025)
Coordinator: Flemish Ministry of Education and Training, Belgium
- Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ARACIS), Romania
- European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), Belgium
- European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR), Belgium
Total budget: 499.855 EUR
The project “Implementation and Innovation in QA through peer learning” is the umbrella project to support the work of during the working period 2021-2024. The project focuses on one hand on quality assurance in the broad sense and thereby work on the implementation of the key commitment in all EHEA countries, and on the other hand dive into some specific themes with innovative focus.
With the Paris Communiqué, “a structured peer support approach based on solidarity, cooperation and mutual learning” was adopted. In the work program of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) for 2018-2020, peer support focused on completing the implementation of three key commitments:
- a three-cycle system compatible with the overarching framework of qualifications of the EHEA and degrees scaled by ECTS;
- compliance with the Lisbon Recognition Convention;
- quality assurance (QA) in compliance with the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG).
One key commitment is quality assurance in compliance with the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG). Several projects on QA supported the Thematic Peer Group (TPG) C on QA within the working period 2018-2020.
Towards the EHEA ministerial conference in Rome in 2020 this peer support approach has been evaluated. As the work in the three TPG’s was seen as very useful and successful, the ministers reconfirmed their determination to have the Key Commitments fully implemented and asked the Bologna Follow Up Group (BFUG) to continue to employ the peer support method to achieve this. The ministers committed to the continued participation in and contribution to this effort.
The project approaches on one hand quality assurance in the broad sense and thereby focuses on implementation, and on the other hand some specific themes with innovative focus, such as: QA of micro-credentials, QA of European Universities Alliances and digitalisation of QA processes.
Thematic orientations include the following topics:
- legislative framework in line with the ESG;
- internal quality assurance;
- enhancement-oriented use of the ESG;
- cross-border QA;
- the European Approach for the QA of Joint Programs.
The project supports the work of the Thematic Peer Group on Quality Assurance and gives all its participating countries and organisations the possibilities to take part in the meetings and activities. Representatives of 42 countries, the European Commission and 6 stakeholder organisations will take part in the Peer Group on QA. Countries are represented by delegates of ministries or quality assurance (QA) agencies or international stakeholder organisations.
The Peer Group offers a platform for policy dialogue among equal partners, mutual exchanges of ideas and practices, sharing knowledge, mutual learning and understanding with regard to the implementation process of the key commitment on quality assurance (the context, the policy/policies adopted and the measures translating the key commitments at the national level).
Methodology, activities and results
The project activities are implemented mainly through peer-learning activities, proved to be highly efficient in what it concerns the learning outcomes. The advantage of peer-learning is the fact that the peers have usually been in similar situations and are able to mirror the situation of the learning partners’ and to reflect the expectations and desired outcomes in terms of what is relevant to be shared and learned.
The operational work is organized in seven Work Packages (WP):
Short description: this Work Package will oversee the administrative and financial management, project planning, and evaluation of the project progress, while emphasizing quality assurance. It includes also ensuring a strong dissemination of the project results/deliverables to the EHEA countries and sharing with all target groups.
Short description: the TPG meetings are core to the main objectives of the project, namely to increase the implementation of the key commitment on QA within the Bologna Process and to innovate the QA systems within the EHEA to be able to follow-up transformation in higher education.
WP2 consists of the organisation of 6 TPG meetings of which two will be held online and 4 in presence. The meetings will focus on peer learning through plenary sessions and break-out groups on the different topics within the work plan of the TPG.
Short description: the objective of this WP is linked to the main objectives of the project, namely to increase the implementation of the key commitment on QA within the Bologna Process and to innovate the QA systems within the EHEA to be able to follow-up transformation in higher education.
WP3 will consist of a staff mobility scheme, both for representatives of ministries and QA agencies in countries that are member of the peer group. The goal is to offer a system of peer learning that is based on the individual and specific needs of each member of the peer group.
Short description: this Work Package includes three Peer-Learning Activities (PLAs) on EHEA policy priorities in quality assurance, including analytical preparatory work. These activities aim to catalyse an exchange between national authorities and stakeholders on effective approaches to implement these agreed policies in their national/local quality assurance (QA) systems.
Three large peer learning activities (PLAs) will be organized: PLA1 will tackle the alignment of the legal frameworks with the ESG, the second PLA will focus on cross-border QA and the QA of transnational education the third and final PLA will address the European approach to the QA of Joint Programmes.
Short description: WP5 focusses on the creation of practical tools for QA of Micro-credentials (MCs) and will guarantee a follow-up of the working group on QA of the MICROBOL project (2019-2021). The working group will specifically address the recommendations of the MICROBOL project related to internal and external quality assurance and on the establishment of a register and catalogues of providers and micro-credentials.
The WP consists of a desk research, followed by the publication of some concrete outputs (guide for HEIs, guide for QA agencies and guidance and proposal for QA of MCs at the provider level). Furthermore, the inclusion of MC providers in DEQAR and harmonised data standards will be developed, as well as a feasibility assessment on a quality label.
Short description: WP6 will further build on a previous project, namely ‘EUniQ’. Taking into account the comprehensive QA framework for European Universities, that has been created during the project, and the outcomes and roadmap for the future, WP6 will set up a sub working group consisting of peer group members that are interested to further work on this topic.
The WP will focus mainly on the policy aspect of the QA of European Universities.
An analysis of legal obstacles in the EHEA countries will be followed by a feasibility study in 5 EHEA countries.
Short description: WP7 focusses on how digitalisation could support quality assurance procedures and practices in the different EHEA countries (post-COVID).
A mapping of the activities undertaken by QA agencies and a presentation of the degree of digitalisation of QA processes will be set up. The data management, data sharing and COVID impact on QA agencies will be investigated, including proposed directions of action. The outcomes will be shared and discussed during a thematic workshop, back-to-back with the last TPG meeting.
The Contribution/ Role of ARACIS: ARACIS coordinates the Work Package 7 focused on digitalisation of QA processes and it is involved in the activities of WP 1 – 6.
The Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ARACIS) informs stakeholders about the start of the project “Implementation and Innovation in QA through peer learning (IMINQA)”, funded by the ERASMUS+ Program.
ARACIS is partner in the IMINQA project, together with the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) and the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR), in the consortium led by the Flemish Ministry of Education and Training.
IMINQA is an umbrella project developed to support the 2021-2024 work of the Thematic Peer Group C on Quality Assurance created by the Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG). The project envisages, on one hand, the theme of quality assurance in the broad sense, contributing to the implementation of the key commitment in all countries of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and, on the other hand, it concerns specific topics with innovative focus, such as the quality assurance (QA) of micro-credentials, QA of European Universities and digitalisation of QA processes.
The project received a funding of 499.855 EUR and has an implementation period of 36 months, starting with May 2022.
ARACIS coordinates the Work Package on the digitalisation of QA processes, which has the objective to map the quality assurance systems of different EHEA countries in terms of digitalisation, and to propose directions of action to improve technology-based quality assurance processes and procedures.
The kick-off meeting of the project was held in Leuven (Belgium) on 16 May 2022. The event was attended by representatives of ARACIS, Prof. Daniela-Cristina Ghițulică, ARACIS General Director and Manager of IMINQA project, and Mr. Petrişor-Laurențiu Țucă, expert in the project.