Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of North Macedonia, in cooperation with the Education Reform Initiative of South Eastern Europe (ERI SEE) Secretariat, gathered some of the region’s ministers and other high-ranking government officials, representatives of competent institutions, academia and experts from the Western Balkans and European Union (EU) at the Quality and Quality Assurance in Higher Education – Trends and developments in the EU and Western Balkans conference on 26th and 27th September 2023 in Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia.
Over 80 participants of the Conference had the opportunity to discuss the quality and quality assurance of higher education in the region and further steps to be taken. The President of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), Mr Douglas Blackstock, and the Director of the European Register for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (EQAR), Ms Magali Soenen, participated in this event. The Ministers of Education and Science of the Republic of North Macedonia and the Republic of Montenegro also took part, as well as the Assistant Minister for Higher Education in the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Serbia, Mr Aleksandar Jović, PhD.
The event was also attended by representatives of regional agencies responsible for higher education, so NEAQA was represented by Director Prof. Ana Šijački, PhD and the Secretary-General, Mr Janko Balšić. Prof. Šijački participated in an expert panel on Western Balkan developments in Quality Assurance in Higher Education, where she spoke about NEAQA’s challenges, as well as plans for further progress.
The international conference was opened by the Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of North Macedonia, Mr Jeton Shaqiri, PhD, who underlined the significance of such an event and expressed the expectation that the meeting will result in a roadmap that will improve the quality of higher education in each of the region’s economies.
The two-day event comprised presentations from high-level European experts, panel discussions with policymakers and representatives of key institutions competent for quality assurance in the Western Balkans, European and regional experts from academia, workshops, as well as study visits to the Saints Cyril and Methodius University and the International Balkan University in Skopje.
The Ministerial Conference resulted in the Western Balkans Policy Recommendations for Quality in Higher Education on further directions for enhancing the quality and quality assurance in higher education in the Western Balkans, in accordance with the Bologna Process commitments and European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (European Standards and Guidelines – ESG). Recommendations are available at the following link: