The Legislation

Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area

 

In the European Union forming processes the significant role belongs to quality of products and services affirmation principles. International standards (ISO, European norms, European directives etc.) appear at the beginning of 90s, defining quality assurance models and systems in various economy and social sectors, including the higher education sector. Quality assurance in higher education is surely not only the European issue. The whole world shows growing interest for quality and standards, accepted as a basic framework and concept for the total higher education development process.
In realising attempts to become the most dynamic, knowledge based world economy (so-called Lisbon strategy), Europe starts initiatives directed towards the higher education quality improvement. Since 1994/95, the European Commission starts so-called “European Pilot Projects” for quality assurance in higher education thus recognising two levels of activities:

  • Internal quality assurance within the higher education institutions by means of applying appropriate methods and its interaction into the unique Management system and constant quality improvement, and 
  • External quality assurance by means of external monitoring over the efficiency and efficacy of internal Higher Education Quality Assurance Systems, using independent evaluations methods by local and foreign evaluation bodies.

Procedures of internal and external quality assurance are completed with reference to relevant international and national standards, and with reference to set goals and higher education institution policy. The relevant document for the area of higher education in Republic of Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina is “Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area”, adopted in 2005 by the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education-ENQA. These standards are well known by the acronym ESG (European Standards and Guidelines) and have a generic concept, with the intention to leave the space for national structures to create specific requirements in terms of political, social, cultural, lingual, traditional, educational and other diversities. That provides the wide-spread acceptance of these standards in the total European higher education area.
Forming the Higher Education Accreditation Agency completes the whole structure for efficient implementation of quality assurance procedure in Higher Education of Republic of Srpska, including the accreditation process which presents the level of applicability of standards and criteria in higher education institutions.

Mission and Vision of the Agency

The basic task of the Agency is organisation and implementation of the external quality evaluation process and accreditation of Higher Education Institutions and applied study programs. This procedure is also conducted in accordance with European standards and procedures published in the aforementioned ESG document, requiring Agency to possess required resources, competent staff and expert knowledge for its implementation.
International visibility and recognition of Higher Education of Republic of Srpska in European higher education area depends on available resources, validity of conducted measures and issued accreditations.
It is clear that realisation of international recognition of Higher Education in Republic of Srpska represents especially important and responsible social task of higher education institutions, as well as all stakeholders who comprise the unique RS Higher Education System.
Therefore, it is very important to reach so-called “social consensus” at the very moment of forming the Agency, regarding good intentions, determination and social aims in terms of higher education quality assurance.

Policies and Goals

Goals

With regards to Mission and Vision set in such way, there are three general goals determined in the initial operational phase:

  1. Recognition within the Academia

Proper start and provision of trust and recognition by the academia and competent authorities in the Republic of Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the first year.

  1. Development of Higher Education Institutions’ Quality Assurance System

To provide affirmed significance of establishing the quality system and its internal and external evaluation by means of analysing the current situation and public expert consultations, as a precondition for successful accreditation in the next two years.

  1. International Recognition

To conduct the accreditation process which is in accordance with European standards by professional work conduct and appropriate organisational structure and resources, thus providing full international recognition within the next 3-5 years. 

Polices

Realisation of set goals is possible with the engagement of all participants in the accreditation process and by affirmation of following policies:

  1. Professional profile

Agency should be more of an expert body, compared to administrative one. Employees should be sufficiently familiar with ENQA, BiH and RS standards, criteria, norms and other methods and techniques of implementing the Higher Education Quality Assurance System.
At the very start of its work, the Agency should have a small number of employees and great number of expert associates already available in Republic of Srpska and the region. The Agency should plan the formal forms of including these experts in the internal organisation of the Agency, through forums, expert bodies, commissions etc., so the knowledge and competences of these experts are formally the Agency’s resource.

  1. Scope of Activities

With the aim of providing independence and professional competence, besides all other activities planned by the Higher Education Law in terms of external evaluation and accreditation, the Agency should perform other activities in the area of quality assurance, such as:

  • organisation of expert meetings,
  • organisation of trainings and certification of staff for the area of quality assurance,
  • issuing of information, statistical reports, publications and magazines in the future,
  • participation in international projects from this area,
  • other activities according to the needs of higher education institutions.
  1. Public and Transparency

Set goals are surely of general society character and cannot be reached without the transparent approach and all forms of public participation. In that respect, when it comes to issuing all acts and key decisions, there shall be public consultations organised with all stakeholders. All relevant information shall be available on the Agency web site and e-education portal. Interest and pro-active role of the media is surely expected.

Acting Director Higher Education Accreditation Agency of Republic of Srpska

Prof. Miroslav Bobrek, Ph.D

Documents

Documents

PDF

Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area

Banja Luka, December 2016.

The document is in PDF format.

PDF

Rulebook

Banja Luka, November 14th, 2016.

On accreditation of higher education institutions and study programs.

The document is in PDF format.

PDF

Excerpt from the Law of Higher Education

Banja Luka, Juny 24th, 2011.

Accreditation institutions of higher education by the Law on Higher Education. Excerpt from Official Gazette of Republic Srpska no. 73/10.

The document is in PDF format.

PDF

HEAARS Statute

Banja Luka, Juny 24th, 2011.

Draft of the Statute for the Higher Education Accreditation Agency of Republika Srpska. The working version of the draft.

The document is in Microsoft Word format.