Project rationale

The European Approach for Quality Assurance of Joint Programmes (adopted by Ministers in Yerevan on 14-15 May 2015) is a huge step forward in removing barriers in QA for joint programmes. This approach makes it possible that one EQAR-registered agency carries out a single QA procedure of a joint programme using the agreed European criteria and methodology. The outcomes of this single QA procedure should then be accepted by the other EHEA countries that are involved in the joint programme. However, there are three implementation problems that can be expected concerning accreditation and recognition; employability of graduates from joint programmes; and the transparency of the QA status of joint programmes. The main aim of the project will be to support efficient implementation of the European Approach for Quality Assurance of Joint Programmes. This aim will be achieved by successful completion of the following objectives: 1. Identifying key obstacles in implementation of the European Approach in the European Higher Education Area in general, and project partner countries in particular; 2. Supporting partner QA agencies in running EA-based programme accreditation procedures (ex ante and ex post) 3. Supporting partner HEI in pursuing the external accreditation based on the EA 4. Developing a EA implementation toolkit (set of recommendations and proposed solutions for the policy makers and QA agencies) The European Commission estimates the number of joint programmes at 4,000 in the EHEA and the number is growing. However, the QA Agencies and higher education institutions (HEIs) are facing number of problems with efficient performance of the accreditation procedures. The scale and scope of the problems was indicated in the one of the report of the JOQAR project – “joint programmes are on the rise but they are still hindered by many obstacles regarding national QA requirements, and by difficulties in the recognition of degrees awarded by joint programmes.” Introducing European Approach should solve most of those problems, including contradictory of the particular national legal requirements, falling under multiple accreditation regimes by a single joint programmes, increased bureaucratic burden related with multiple accreditation procedures. However, in common observation of the project partners, the implementation of the European Approach seems to be delayed. Therefore, this project proposal aims to increase momentum of the process. This will be achieved by successful realization of the project objectives and activities. In particular performing pilot accreditation procedures based on the European Approach, identify the key obstacles hindering its full implementation and answering them by development of the online toolkit. The nature of the undertaken topic – joint programmes, determines necessity of undertaking actions at the international level. It will also increase the impact of the project and its scalability. The main target group of this project are the HEIs offering joint programmes, as the European Approach and its enhanced implementation aims to tackle a major impediment for joint programmes, namely multiple accreditations and national regulations. However, the development of the toolkit aims also to support national and international policy making bodies and quality assurance agencies in efficient and full implementation of the European Approach.