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EUA works to ensure that the views of the university sector are taken into account in European and national-level policy discussions on internal and external quality assurance. It also supports its members in developing internal quality systems and aims to promote institutional quality cultures.

EUA is a recognised voice in the quality assurance debate in Europe and carries out a variety of activities that are underpinned by the principle that the main responsibility for quality assurance lies within higher education institutions. Indeed, quality assurance has been one of EUA’s key areas of activity since the Association was established.  

At the national level, the Association maintains a continuous dialogue with its collective members, the national rectors’ conferences, about developments taking place in their countries’ systems. At the European level, a major part of EUA’s policy work related to quality assurance is done in cooperation with the E4 Group, consisting of EUA, the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), the European Students’ Union (ESU) and the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE). 

Notably, this partnership worked in cooperation with other stakeholders (Education International, Business Europe and European Quality Assurance Register) to develop a revised version of the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG), which were approved at the Bologna Ministerial meeting in 2015. The E4 also developed the original version of the ESG in 2005, and implementing quality assurance in line with the ESG is one of the key commitments of the Bologna Process. EUA is also involved in projects and initiatives that look into how best include new forms of education provision and cooperation such as micro-credentials, or the European University alliances into the existing quality assurance frameworks.

The E4 organisations are also founding members of the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR). This is a public register of quality assurance agencies that substantially comply with the ESG. EQAR provides clear and reliable information on credible and legitimate quality assurance agencies operating in the EHEA. EUA is a member of its Board and of the General Assembly. It also nominates two members of the Register Committee.

EUA is active internationally to contribute the European perspective to quality assurance discussions on the global level. Furthermore, the Association supports the development of quality assurance frameworks outside Europe, for example in Asia and in Africa. 

EUA has taken the lead in developing the capacity of higher education institutions to create internal quality processes and foster quality cultures and is an acknowledged expert on these topics.

The Association has worked with its members to gather information and share experience in order to empower universities to fulfil their responsibility for quality assurance. As a result, EUA has produced an extensive set of materials on these matters, most notably the “Quality culture in European universities: a bottom up approach”, “Examining Quality Culture II: process and tools – participation, ownership and bureaucracy”, and “EUREQA Moments! Top tips for internal quality assurance”.

In addition, EUA’s Institutional Evaluation Programme (IEP) has been running since 1994 and offers enhancement-led institutional peer reviews across Europe and beyond. The Programme supports universities in developing their strategic leadership and capacity to manage change by evaluating them in the context of their own mission and goals.

Discover the Institutional Evaluation Programme

The European Quality Assurance Forum (EQAF) has been co-organised by ENQA, ESU, EUA and EURASHE since 2006 and has become the largest annual gathering of the European higher education quality assurance community and a flagship activity in this field.

EQAF bridges national boundaries by facilitating a Europe-wide discussion on current trends and forthcoming developments in research, policy and practice. EQAF provides a unique opportunity to share experiences and network with a wide range of stakeholders, including representatives from higher education institutions and quality assurance agencies, students, researchers and policy makers from across Europe and beyond.

All papers presented at EQAF are available in the EUA publication database.

Learn about EQAF 2024

EUA is one of the stakeholder partners (together with ENQA, EURASHE, ESU and EQAR) of the Quality Assurance Fit for the Future (QA-FIT) project. QA-FIT looks at the design and implementation of internal and external quality assurance in the EHEA in order to reflect on the status of the European QA framework, including the ESG. In particular, the project will reflect on how the ESG are used and perceived by different HE stakeholders and investigate what the different groups would need and expect for the future development of the European QA framework and tools. There is general agreement among stakeholders that while the key principles and purposes of the ESG do not need major revision, the scope of the ESG should be expanded. Current discussions revolve around whether and to what extent topics such as research, institutional management, sustainability, digitalisation, academic values, and the social dimension of HE should be addressed by the ESG.

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