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Alignment of SIACES - ENQA higher education quality guidelines for bi-regional confidence building (ESG-PBP Alignment)

“Regional cooperation based on the good practices or guidelines adopted by each regional organisation adopts is the source of trust that underpins a bi-regional dialogue”.
VII Ordinary Plenary Session of the Ibero-American System for Quality Assurance in Higher Education. Santiago de Compostela, 2023.

Background

As a result of the common will of the European region and the Ibero-American region to establish close ties of friendship and cooperation, to build a common understanding that contributes to mutual trust and the strengthening of their good practices in quality assurance in higher education, and to strengthen and broaden collaboration and the exchange of experiences in this field in their respective regions, the Memorandum of Understanding between Sistema Iberoamericano de aseguramiento de la calidad de la educación superior (SIACES) and the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) was signed in April 2022.

Through this Memorandum of Understanding, ENQA and SIACES agree, on the one hand, to actively seek opportunities for cooperation with the aim of strengthening trans-regional skills in order to ensure the quality and improvement of higher education. And, on the other hand, to cooperate in the development and implementation of joint projects, activities, events and other forms of collaboration in the fields of information exchange, training and mutual understanding.

It is in the last-mentioned area where it is determined to enhance the Parties’ understanding of each other’s approach to assuring quality in higher education, the respective systems in place for quality assurante and enhancement in higher education, and the critical matters related to quality and harmonisation of standards and guidelines, good practices and procedures adopted in both regions.

This project Alignment of SIACES - ENQA higher education quality guidelines for bi-regional confidence building (ESG-PBP Alignment) aims precisely to take steps in the development of this area.

Objectives and roadmap

The overall objective of the project “ESG-PBP Alignment” is to strengthen mutual trust between the European and the Ibero-American regions by establishing a dialogue between their reference guidelines on quality assurance and quality improvement in higher education with a view to their future alignment.

These reference guidelines are, in the case of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG), which have the following purposes:

  • They set a common framework for quality assurance systems for learning and teaching at European, national and institutional level;
  •  They enable the assurance and improvement of quality of higher education in the European higher education area;
  • They support mutual trust, thus facilitating recognition and mobility within and across national borders;
  • They provide information on quality assurance in the EHEA.

And in the case of the Ibero-American Knowledge Area (EIC), the reference guidelines are the Principles of Good Practice (PBP) in quality assurance systems. 

The specific objectives of the validation of said PBP are to:

  • Recognise Agencies that comply with the SIACES Statement of Principles of Good Practice;
  • Simplify the processes of recognition of qualifications and student mobility;
  • Aim at the adoption of common guidelines for assessment and accreditation tools in the region, while respecting the specificities of each context;
  • Ensure and guarantee minimum quality standards in the activities of agencies in the region;
  • Build a system of mutual trust between agencies based on public accountability processes;
  • Promote inter-agency cooperation and the implementation of joint evaluation and accreditation initiatives.

In view of the above, the aim is to achieve the overall objective of this project by working on two specific objectives:

  1. To determine the degree of concordance-discordance between the ESG and the PBP, to provide a solid basis on which steps can be taken towards a mutual understanding of such quality assurance.
  2. Prepare a joint proposal to align ESG and PBP for mutual recognition.

If considered by ENQA and SIACES, it is foreseen that the results of this project will be made available to the entities in charge of revising and updating the ESG and PBP in the near future, so that, if these entities find these results relevant, they can be taken into account in the next official revision and updating processes.

Working group

  • Project coordination: ANECA
  • SIACES Secretariat and ENQA Secretariat.
  • Quality agencies from the European region and the Ibero-American region: 

Timetable

Estimated project development period: first half of 2024 to first half of 2025.

Contact and further information

For further information, please contact the project coordinator by e-mail: internacionalizacion@aneca.es .

References of interest