The ESG provided a common basis for internal and external quality assurance and was written to be sufficiently generic to reflect the diversity of higher education institutions and systems. However, there have been calls from various stakeholders in the field of quality assurance to make further revisions to the ESG to reflect recent developments in higher education, allow more room for innovation in quality assurance in the future and facilitate a more flexible application of common standards. At the same time, to ensure that the EHEA quality assurance framework remains fit for purpose in this changing environment and to inform future decision-making, there needs to be a better understanding of concrete practices currently implemented by institutions and quality assurance agencies. The QA-FIT project will conduct a comprehensive mapping exercise to collect concrete evidence on the scope and implementation of internal and external quality assurance policies and practices and to showcase transferable case examples of how the ESG can be used more flexibly and innovatively by stakeholders in different contexts.
This evidence will serve as a basis for further in-depth stakeholder consultation and reflection on if/how the current EHEA framework of the ESG is perceived to limit the responsiveness of quality assurance to trends and innovations in higher education and if/how there should be more room for development of alternative approaches to quality assurance.
The project will conclude with the development of policy messages to be taken up further in national, European Union and EHEA policy discussions. In particular, the project findings will feed directly into the discussions leading up to the next Bologna Process Ministerial Conference in 2024 and, if appropriate, into the drafting of the 2024 Tirana Communiqué.