Newsletter #4

December 2011

Application for Accreditation from Banja Luka College

Banja Luka, 24th February, 2011

Higher Education Accreditation Agency received an Application for accreditation from Banja Luka College. Mrs Svjetlana Dusanic Gacic, Ph D solemnly submitted the application to the Agency on a press conference held on 29th February. During the occasion, Head of the Agency Department for Quality Assurance and International Cooperation, Mrs Duska Radmanovic, emphasised that the Agency organises consultation meetings and practical workshops with institutions that are in the final phase of preparing the application for accreditation. "With reference to all contacts we have had so far, we expect applications from three more institutions in the next two months, which is a very positive fact since the Agency has been in existence for less than a year", said Mrs Radmanovic. She reminded to the fact that the accreditation process is especially significant from the aspect of international recognition of RS Higher education in the European Higher education area. "The process is defined so that the RS Agency conducts the accreditation pro- cedure thus gaining the preconditions to become the member of European Associations and European Quality Assurance Register and provide the recognition of diplomas produced by accredited institutions, as well as recognition of the institution itself ", explained Mrs Radmanovic. Svjetlana Dusanic Gacic emphasised that the application for accreditation is the quality improvement segment in terms of Banja Luka College quality of work and invited other higher education institutions to approach the accreditation process. "We are grateful to the Agency for all their support provided during the preparation of documentation, since we had the possibility of resolving all issues at the moment of occurrence", said Mrs Dusanic Gacic.

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Workshop for Higher Education Institutions

Banja Luka, 29th January 2012

Higher Education Accreditation Agency of Republic of Srpska held a workshop with the purpose of explaining details reference the technical process of completing the accreditation application form. Workshop was attended by the representatives of several higher education institutions which are in the final preparation phase and just about to submit the application for accreditation process. Presentation from this workshop can be downloaded from the following link: http://www. heaars.com/dokumenti/ostalo/Prezenacija_radionica.pptx. Associated video with the demon- stration of the hyper-linking in the application form one may see on the following link: http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=0qYNVrsDIxM

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Activation of Online Forum

Banja Luka, 1st February, 2012

Online forum of the Higher Education Accreditation Agency of Republika Srpska has been opened with the purpose of facilitating the preparation for the accreditation process and can be entered following the link: http://hocu.info/phpbb/index.php The purpose of online forum is to exchange experiences, discuss on various topics, ask questions on accreditation, at the same time serving as a place to post notifications and provide general information on the Agency's activities. Our wish is that all representatives of the academia and all others who are interested in improving the quality of higher education contribute to the work of online forum by their active participation, to have the possibility of sharing experiences, resolve issues or simply meet colleagues from the same line of work. Forum can be accessed from our official web site (http://www.heaars.com/forum. html), with the direct link to Online forum under the Accreditation forum tab.

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Newsletter #3

December 2011

Second Meeting of Accreditation Forum

Banja Luka, 23rd December, 2011

The second meeting of Accreditation forum, organised by the Higher Education Accreditation Agency of Republika Srpska and the Republika Srpska Ministry of Education and Culture was held on 21st December. The main topic of the meeting was “Internal quality assurance in higher education institutions in Republika Srpska”. Accreditation forum was established in July, 2011 and is comprised of prominent experts in the area of higher education quality assurance.
Meeting was attended by more than 60 representatives of almost all higher education institutions in Republika Srpska as well as numerous representatives of other institutions related to higher education.
The event was about internal quality assurance as a basic precondition for accessing accreditation process, especially bearing in mind the fact that most of the higher education institutions are currently preparing the accreditation application form.
In his welcoming address, Minister of education and culture of Republika Srpska, Mr Anton Kasipovic, spoke about activities that preceded to the introduction of quality assurance system in higher education institutions in Republika Srpska, with special emphasis on the effects of the Act on minimum conditions for establishing higher education institution, as well as on the licensing procedure conducted by the Ministry of Education and Culture based on these results.
Guest of this event was director of EQAR, European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education, Mr Colin Tück, who spoke about perspectives of adjoining Higher Education Accreditation Agency of Republika Srpska to this association.
Besides all other, he presented the conditions for adjoining EQAR as well as member countries, stressing the importance of European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG).
Mrs Duska Radmanovic, Head of the Agency Department for quality assurance and international cooperation, spoke about the procedure for accessing the accreditation process, former and present activities of the Higher Education Accreditation Agency of Republika Srpska.
The Chairman of the Accreditation forum, Prof Petar Maric, PhD presented the system of internal quality assurance of Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Banja Luka, whereas Prof Zdravko Todorovic, PhD spoke about the procedure for quality assurance of study programmes, presenting the example of economy and management study programmes . Mr Nenad Markovic, coordinator of quality assurance system, spoke about the experiences in establishing the internal quality assurance system in complex higher education institutions presenting example of University in East Sarajevo.

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First Application for Accreditation Received

Banja Luka, 31st December 2011

On 29th December, 2011, the Higher Education Accreditation Agency of Republika Srpska received the first application for accreditation from the University for Business Engineering and Management Banja Luka. The official process of reviewing the received documentation, corrections and control of fulfilling the preconditions for accessing accreditation process, is ongoing, followed by the preparation of contract between the Agency and this higher education institution. We believe that one of the reasons for the receipt of this first application for accreditation in 2011 is a number of consultative meetings that Agency had with the University for Business Engineering and Management of Banja Luka, starting from September 2011 and onwards. In the forthcoming period of time, starting from the first quarter of 2012, Agency expects other applications from other higher education institutions, since there are ongoing consultations related to the preparation activities for accessing the accreditation process.

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Consultative Meetings Held with BLC, NUBL, UPS and KF

Banja Luka, 18th January, 2012

In the first half of January 2012, Higher Education Accreditation Agency held consultative meetings with representatives of Banja Luka College, Independent University of Banja Luka, University for Business Studies of Banja Luka and Banja Luka College of Communications-Kappa Phi. Meetings were about defining the steps for activities that precede submitting the application for accreditation and solving dilemmas and issues in this process. The topic of discussion was also the application form and the method of completing the form. Hence, we believe that we can also expect applications from these higher education institutions soon.

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Newsletter #2

November 2011

Higher Education Accreditation Agency of Republika Srpska on Facebook

Thursday, November 20, 2011

Higher Education Accreditation Agency of Republika Srpska has recently opened a Facebook profile on which publishes brief information about its activities. Facebook profile is aimed at all interested users and especially to the student population among which there are lot of users of this social network. We believe that in this way the importance of the accreditation process and establishing quality systems will be brought closer to the students.

The Agency held consultative meetings with higher education institutions

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Delegation of Higher Education Accreditation Agency of  The Republic Srpska headed by Acting Director Prof. Miroslav Bobrek, Ph.D held in the past consultative meetings with eight higher education institutions.
Meetings were held with the University of Banja Luka, the University of Business Studies Banja Luka, the University of Business Engineering and Management Banja Luka, Independent University of Banja Luka, Bijeljina Slobomir P University, the University Synergy Bijeljina, and high schools Communication college - Kappa Phi Banja Luka and Prometheus College of legal sciences Banja Luka.
Acting Director of the Agency presented the procedure of higher education accreditation as a process of three phases. The first phase is internal quality assurance within the institution, the second one external evaluation by an independent commission of experts, and the last one is issuance of accreditation decision and registration in the register of accredited institutions.
Given that all the institutions with which the meetings are currently held in the first phase - an internal quality assurance, this area is given special attention.
Since all institutions willing to ensure that in future approaches to accreditation, Head of Quality Assurance and International Cooperation Department of the Agency Duska Radmanovic has presented in detail the application form for access to accreditation.
The form is fully compliant with international standards and criteria for accreditation at the level of BiH. The form enables that the institution provides all necessary information in the form via links to documents that contain information relating to the requirements of the standards and criteria.
Establishments visited expect in the next few months make all necessary preparations for the lecture application form, and the Agency has already held a first consultation for filling out the form and preparation of documentation.

The new law entered into force

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Republic Srpska came into force the Law on Amendments to the Law on Higher Education (''Official Gazette of the Republic Srpska'', no. 104/11).
The new laws provide for the method of organizing the Higher Education Accreditation Agency of the Republic Srpska as a public institution established by the Government, and the manner of appointment of director, deputy director and board of directors of the Agency.

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Newsletter #1

August 2011

Getting Started with the Accreditation Process of Higher Education Institutions

Thursday, August 11, 2011

After the consultations conducted with academia and other stakeholders , Higher Education Accreditation Agency of Republic of Srpska prepared the Procedure for Accreditation of Higher Education Institutions and Study Programs taught (see more here). Since the Agency Statute regulates that all general acts that refer to accreditation are to be adopted by the Agency Managing Board, the Procedure shall be on the agenda of the Managing Board session and, after being adopted, published in the Republic of Srpska Official Gazette.

Reference the fact that submission of application is preceded with the number of activities on internal quality assurance within the higher education institution, publishing this Procedure on the Agency web site stipulates that the conditions for commencing the accreditation process are fulfilled. The Procedure also comprises a number of documents that define accreditation criteria in more details and two basic conditions for applying to accreditation are legitimacy of the institution along with established, documented and practically applied quality system. All annexes to the Procedure, including the application form, shall be accessible on the Agency web site. Bearing in mind that one of the purposes of accreditation is recognition of higher education institutions and their programs in the European higher education area, the Procedure is based on the document ''(European standards and guidelines for quality assurance in higher education area – ESG, ЕNQA, 2009 – http://www.enqa.eu/).

Accreditation is a voluntary process and every higher education institution makes its own decision on when to apply to accreditation and which study programs they candidate for accreditation, hence no deadlines for the completion of accreditation process can be discussed. Accredited institutions shall also be obliged to perform the re-accreditation in order to maintain their status reference the accreditation. The price of the accreditation process shall depend on the higher education institution application and study programs candidated, but it is important to emphasise that the Agency is non-profit institution and the price shall directly depend on the costs of accreditation (in terms of Expert Commission, etc.).

Establishing Accreditation Forum

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Accreditation Forum is informal group of experts with references in the area of quality assurance in higher education. Accreditation forum is comprised of 21 members and has a very significant role in terms of providing expertise for the Higher Education Accreditation Agency of Republic of Srpska. The constitutional meeting of the Accreditation forum was held on 7th July and on that occasion, Petar Maric, PhD, Bologna expert and member of EQAR (European quality assurance register) Assembly was unanimously elected a Chairman of the Forum.

In order to provide as effective support to the higher education institutions as possible, in the processes of quality improvement, the Forum members shall recommend the training programs for the staff, either responsible for, or actively included in establishing and improving the quality assurance system in higher education institutions.

In the future, these programs should undergo the formal process of suitable national and international verification (accreditation) that shall be realised in coordination with the Higher Education Accreditation Agency of Republic of Srpska.

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