On May 22, 2023, NEAQA received a progress visit from the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA).
During the one-day visit, NEAQA organized seven meetings which were attended by two ENQA experts, representatives of NEAQA (Director, members of the Management Board, Commission for Accreditation and Quality Assurance, Secretariat and Sector for Accreditation and External Quality Assurance), Ministry of Education of the Republic of Serbia, Rectorate of the University of Belgrade, the Academy of Applied Studies Belgrade and NEAQA’s peer-review experts.
On April 28, 2020, the ENQA Board made a Decision on confirming NEAQA’s affiliate status in this organization, based on the report of the ENQA Experts Panel (February 20, 2020), according to the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area – ESG (2015), after an external evaluation of NEAQA (from April to December 2019). The ENQA Board then concluded that the overall level of compliance with the ESG was insufficient to renew NEAQA’s full membership in this association. NEAQA was advised to carefully follow up and implement the Panel’s recommendations before re-applying for ENQA membership in the future and to avail of the voluntary progress visit as part of the Follow-Up procedure which, according to the Guidelines for ENKA Agency Reviews (2016), consists of submitting the Follow-Up Report and organizing the Progress Visit.
The purpose of the Progress Visit is not to check the agency’s compliance with ESG standards but rather to generate a stronger enhancement-oriented dialogue. In 2022, NEAQA recognized the Follow-Up procedure as significant for its further development on the way to becoming a full member of ENQA. Thus, NEAQA submitted a Follow-Up Report to ENQA (January 2023), addressing the ENQA’s recommendations and highlighting developments and changes and processes relevant in view of its ESG compliance. Afterwards, ENQA Secretariat scheduled the visit of experts for May 22, 2023.
All attendees pointed out all advantages and disadvantages of our higher education QA system through a constructive dialogue with experts and made proposals for its further development. It was highlighted that NEAQA made great progress, especially in the context of the implementation of the amendments to the Law on Higher Education from 2021, which led to the new organizational structure of NEAQA, as well as the guarantees of NEAQA’s independence (organizational, operational and the independence of formal outcomes). NEAQA was advised to (together with key stakeholders), take an active role in defining the strategic goals of the higher education system, oriented not only to quality assurance but to quality enhancement and establishing a better quality culture of the system.
In the coming period, NEAQA will devote itself to further fulfilling ENQA’s recommendations, especially through the SEQA-ESG2 project, to submit a request for full membership in this organization.