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Pages: 329-339
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.1073

Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain

CHALLENGES OF ADOPTING THE EUROPEAN APPROACH FOR QUALITY ASSURANCE OF JOINT PROGRAMMES - A DUTCH-ESTONIAN-LATVIAN-LITHUANIAN-SPANISH JOINT EXPERIENCE

A. Peres

Frontex, European Border and Coast Guard Agency (POLAND)
The adoption of the European Approach for Quality Assurance of Joint Programmes at Yerevan Ministerial Conference of European Higher Education Area (EHEA) in 2015 was seen as a major step ahead towards the realization of the Bologna Process objectives of internationalisation, quality assurance and mobility of learning through the transnational joint programmes. The importance of the joint degrees and joint programmes as “foundations of EHEA” (Yerevan Communiqué 2015) was reinforced by the EHEA Paris Communiqué in May 2018 that underlines the importance of the integrated transnational cooperation in the form of joint programmes as key instruments towards a “more ambitious EHEA” beyond 2020.

Three years after Yerevan, the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are still confronted with a number of practical obstacles arising from the 'soft law' character of the Bologna Declaration and its numerous follow up communiqués, indicating a lack of coherence and consistency between the higher education policies and practice, between the convergence of the political declarations and their divergent application in practice.

The European Approach offers a practical methodology for the external quality assurance of the joint programmes, including standards and procedure based exclusively on previously agreed Bologna instruments, such as the Dublin Descriptors, the Qualifications Framework of the EHEA (QF-EHEA), the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in EHEA (ESG 2015), the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) etc. It aims at simplifying the accreditation process by eliminating the repeated national accreditation procedures based on additional (and often conflicting) national criteria, allowing for a single external evaluation procedure and essentially facilitating the development and quality assurance of highly integrated joint programmes (‘true’ joint degrees).

However, a study done in 2017 amongst the members of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) shows that less than 30% of Bologna signatory countries allow for the application of the European Approach through their national legislation, which practically means that the international impact of the European Approach is very limited.

There are a number of issues that prevent the adoption of the European Approach, ranging from the level of integration of the joint programmes themselves (the inauthentic or limited 'jointness' character, their fragmented nature) and on to the inflexibility of some national systems that seem to put more emphasis on the formalistic aspect of the regulations and procedures to the detriment of the very Bologna principle that aimed to be applied and promoted by those regulations in the first place.

This paper analyses the concrete case of the re-accreditation of a highly integrated transnational joint degree study programme delivered by a multinational consortium of five co-awarding partner HEIs in the context of the conflicting national education laws restricting the use of the European Approach, and reflects on the potential solutions to overcome these obstacles. Sharing this experience may be useful to others HEIs and consortia embarking on a similar endeavour, attempting to develop a 'true' joint degree with a joint award, that will be facing obstacles which should not be underestimated based on the expected convergence of the national education systems of the Bologna aligned states.
@InProceedings{PERES2018CHA,
author = {Peres, A.},
title = {CHALLENGES OF ADOPTING THE EUROPEAN APPROACH FOR QUALITY ASSURANCE OF JOINT PROGRAMMES - A DUTCH-ESTONIAN-LATVIAN-LITHUANIAN-SPANISH JOINT EXPERIENCE},
series = {11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2018 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-05948-5},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2018.1073},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2018.1073},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {12-14 November, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {329-339}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Peres
TI - CHALLENGES OF ADOPTING THE EUROPEAN APPROACH FOR QUALITY ASSURANCE OF JOINT PROGRAMMES - A DUTCH-ESTONIAN-LATVIAN-LITHUANIAN-SPANISH JOINT EXPERIENCE
SN - 978-84-09-05948-5/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2018.1073
PY - 2018
Y1 - 12-14 November, 2018
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2018 Proceedings
SP - 329
EP - 339
ER -
A. Peres (2018) CHALLENGES OF ADOPTING THE EUROPEAN APPROACH FOR QUALITY ASSURANCE OF JOINT PROGRAMMES - A DUTCH-ESTONIAN-LATVIAN-LITHUANIAN-SPANISH JOINT EXPERIENCE, ICERI2018 Proceedings, pp. 329-339.
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