Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area
Forming the Higher Education Accreditation Agency completes the whole structure for efficient implementation of quality assurance procedure in Higher Education of Republic of Srpska, including the accreditation process which presents the level of applicability of standards and criteria in higher education institutions.
In the European Union forming processes the significant role belongs to quality of products and services affirmation principles. International standards (ISO, European norms, European directives etc.) appear at the beginning of 90s, defining quality assurance models and systems in various economy and social sectors, including the higher education sector. Quality assurance in higher education is surely not only the European issue. The whole world shows growing interest for quality and standards, accepted as a basic framework and concept for the total higher education development process.
In realising attempts to become the most dynamic, knowledge based world economy (so-called Lisbon strategy), Europe starts initiatives directed towards the higher education quality improvement. Since 1994/95, the European Commission starts so-called “European Pilot Projects” for quality assurance in higher education thus recognising two levels of activities:
- Internal quality assurance within the higher education institutions by means of applying appropriate methods and its interaction into the unique Management system and constant quality improvement, and
- External quality assurance by means of external monitoring over the efficiency and efficacy of internal Higher Education Quality Assurance Systems, using independent evaluations methods by local and foreign evaluation bodies.
Procedures of internal and external quality assurance are completed with reference to relevant international and national standards, and with reference to set goals and higher education institution policy. The relevant document for the area of higher education in Republic of Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina is “Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area”, adopted in 2015 by the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education-ENQA. These standards are well known by the acronym ESG (European Standards and Guidelines) and have a generic concept, with the intention to leave the space for national structures to create specific requirements in terms of political, social, cultural, lingual, traditional, educational and other diversities. That provides the wide-spread acceptance of these standards in the total European higher education area.