In the light of coronavirus pandemic, both the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) and the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) have issued statements and actions of support for quality assurance agencies and the higher education sector as a whole.
Both ENQA and EQAR encourage the agencies to respond flexibly to the current situation through their on-going external quality assurance processes. EQAR indicates that during the period when site visits to higher education institutions cannot be organised, the agencies can decide either to replace them by video conferences or other appropriate formats, or to postpone them to a later time.
Both statements also highlight the role quality assurance agencies can play in helping to overcome the current, unprecedented challenges. For instance, the agencies can offer guidance on matters such as the transfer to online learning and teaching, alternative assessment methods and maintaining academic standards and student support services.
Further, the statements reassure the agencies that decisions on ENQA membership and EQAR registration will not be jeopardised in case of suspension or adaptation of activities due to the pandemic. In terms of support, ENQA is in close communication with its member agencies that are currently undergoing an external review in order to adapt the timelines where necessary in relation to the postponement of site visits.
ENQA has also launched a social media campaign in which the agencies are encouraged to share their policies, practices and other resources for learning purposes.
On its website, EQAR also provides answers to questions related to the compliance with the ESG and EQAR registration.