the portuguese system for quality assurance in higher

Quality Culture in Higher Education
CRUP / EUA Conference
Portuguese Higher Education: a view from outside
Reasons for Rationalising the Course Portfolio
Lisbon, 19.February.2013
Sérgio Machado dos Santos
Quality culture in Higher Education
 QA fundamental underlying principle
• “Consistent with the principle of institutional autonomy, the
primary responsibility for quality assurance in higher
education lies with each institution itself and this provides
the basis for real accountability of the academic system
within the national quality framework” [Berlin Communiqué]
• “Providers of higher education have the primary
responsibility for the quality of their provision and its
“There should be encouragement of a culture of quality within
higher education institutions” [ENQA - ESG]
European trends on QA in the last decade
 The influence of the Bologna Process
• The adoption and transposition of the ESG to the national
legal frameworks
- impact on HE systems and HEIs
• The influence of ENQA
- membership criteria
- cooperation / capacity building
• The adoption of programme accreditation in Western
Europe (emphasis on accountability!)
 Lack of trust on HE institutions
European trends on QA in the last decade
 Concerns with accountability-led QA processes
• Difficulties in conciliating accountability and enhancement
• Emphasis on accountability may induce conformity rather
than improvement
• Cases have arisen where there has been a movement away
from accreditation of programmes or at least where this has
been discussed, towards the adoption of approaches at an
institutional level which are less intrusive (2008 ENQA Survey)
 Stronger emphasis on internal QA systems
A Shift in Purpose
 From Accountability to Quality Enhancement
• The added-value of accreditation
- Unquestionable, in the official recognition of qualifications
- In an effective improvement of quality in higher education?
 Little added-value in repeating a round of programme accreditation
• HEIs are becoming more responsible and transparent
- Significant progress in the development of internal QA systems
- Embedding of a quality culture within the academic communities
• Tendency towards less intrusive external QA mechanisms
- More in line with the autonomy and self-responsibility of HEIs
- More appropriate to stimulate the emphasis on quality enhancement
• But: a social climate of trust on HEIs and on the quality of
teaching is needed!
The Portuguese QA System
 New system set up in 2007
• New degree programmes need previous accreditation
 ex-ante accreditation – initiated in 2009/10 (yearly)
• Degree programmes in operation to be regularly assessed
and accredited (every six years)
 ex-post accreditation launched in 2010; evaluation procedures
started in 2011
 Main process: Programme accreditation
 Full round of assessment/accreditation: 2011/12 to 2015/16
 Any visible rationalisation effects on institutional portfolios?
Portfolio rationalisation through self-regulation
Programmes in operation (officially recognised)
Submitted to preliminary accreditation
Cancelled by HEIs
Programmes in operation that were accredited
Programmes with preliminar accreditation
Accredited after on-site visit
Programmes that were cancelled
Cancelled by HEIs
With a negative decision on accreditation by A3ES
New programmes accredited by A3ES
↓ 29,9%
Quality culture within HEIs
 Development of internal QA systems
• Development of QA instruments
• Participation of students / feedback from stakeholders
• Cases of external certification (ISO 9001)
• Main problem: comprehensiveness (insufficient coherence/
no holistic vision)
 Need for some guidance
Quality culture within HEIs
 Guidance by A3ES
• Study on European practices and trends, open to public
• Set of reference points aligned with part 1 of the ESG (in
terms of statements characterising a sound and well developed
• Meetings with coordinating bodies and Seminars with HEIs
• Development of an Audit model to assess and certify IQAS
- Experimental exercise in 2012 involving 5 HEIs
- Now open to all HEIs (voluntary participation)
Quality culture within HEIs
 Motivation for an Audit process in Portugal
• To support HEIs in the development of their internal QA
systems (discussion, definition and dissemination of standards)
• To stimulate HEIs in assuming the main responsibility for
the quality of their educational provision
• To contribute (under previously specified quality standards) to
simplify programme accreditation processes in the next
accreditation round.
A “lighter-touch” approach
 Building trust on HEIs
• Certification of internal quality assurance systems
• Performance of institutions in the assessment/accreditation
round 2012-2016
 “Risk-management” approach
• Programme accreditation to stay - but less intensive (e.g.,
by sampling) in the case of excellent or above average
quality HE Units
• Model to be discussed with the HEIs.
“Quality (...) must remain the prime criterion of course

similar documents