Internationalisation is a multi-faceted phenomenon which varies significantly depending on each university’s mission. As the world becomes more interconnected across borders, so the boundaries of higher education itself expand. There is an increasing diversity of institutions in the Basque Country– varying sizes, public and private, courses and type of qualification, degree of focus on research…which requires diverse strategies to foster their internationalisation.
The Unibasq Strategic Plan 2016-2019 establishes in its Axe 3 “Agency’s Internationalisation Supporting the Basque University System” a set of actions to give more social and international diffusion for the Basque universities and the agency, highlighting among others: taking part in international networks and in the development of international projects; promoting international consultancy and assessment activities; and facilitating the relations among Basque and some other universities.
In order to fulfil this task, Unibasq is recognized at European level being:
- listed in the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR);
- full member of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA). In addition, since October 2016 Unibasq’s Director is part of ENQA’s Board;
- member of the European Consortium for Accreditation in higher education (ECA);
- full member of the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE).
The European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) is an umbrella organisation which represents quality assurance agencies from the member states of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). ENQA promotes European co-operation in the field of quality assurance in higher education and disseminates information and expertise among its members and towards stakeholders in order to develop and share good practice and to foster the European dimension of quality assurance.
To be part of ENQA, as a full member, it is necessary to pass an external assessment in accordance with the “Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area” (ESG) that establishes a series of aspects that indicate a commitment to quality, transparency, independence, ethical criteria and appropriate performance of services and activities.
First evaluation (2014)
Formal entry in ENQA was applied for at the end of 2012. The self-assessment report was done during 2013 and the experts visited the agency in February 2014.
The ENQA Board decided on September 2014 that Unibasq complied with the requirement to be full member for five years, being necessary then to undergo another external review.
Second evaluation (2018)
Unibasq must undergo an external review every five years. At the end of 2017 a new process of reflection and planning for the external evaluation will begin. This process will culminate with the visit of the experts at the end of 2018.
The European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) was created in 2008 by the ENQA , ESU , EUA and EURASHE (bodies representing quality agencies, students, universities, and other higher education institutions, respectively), with the aim of increasing transparency for higher education quality in Europe. The EQAR is a register where quality assurance agencies operating within the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and considered to be reliable, trustworthy, and credible are listed.
On 29 November 2014, Unibasq was listed into the EQAR, after it was verified that the agency carried out its activities in compliance with the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG).
The European Consortium for Accreditation in Higher Education (ECA) was created in 2003, with the principal aim of establishing mutual recognition of the accreditations granted by quality agencies that are members of the organisation. The ECA also provides opportunities for mutual learning and exchange of best practices on topics regarding higher education.
Representatives from the agencies members of the ECA can participate in the activities and meetings of the working groups established on a variety of topics: mutual recognition and joint programmes, institutional accreditation and audits, and mutual learning and sharing of best practices. ECA members can also take part in European projects coordinated by the consortium, as well as in other events -workshops and conferences- organized on a regular basis.
Unibasq is member of ECA since December 2015.
INQAAHE (The International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education) is a world-wide association of over 200 organisations active in the theory and practice of quality assurance in higher education. The great majority of its members are quality assurance agencies that operate in many different ways, although the network also welcomes (as associate members) other organisations that have an interest in Quality Assurance in Higher Education.
Unibasq is member of INQAAHE since January 2013.