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Stakeholder views

A conference with key stakeholders in higher education in Europe was organised in Malta from 30 November to 1 December 2012. The discussions of that conference were analysed as part of the Quest for Quality for Students project (QUEST)

These findings were published in a general report(external link) from the conference and in the publication Quest for Quality for Students: Institutional Analysis(external link).

In general, these findings can be summarised in the following way:

  • National policies and legislative frameworks are necessary, but not sufficient to ensure student participation in quality assurance;
  • External mechanisms for quality assurance should foster the idea that institutions are responsible for their own quality;
  • More needs to be done in order to make the reports and outcomes of quality assurance truly accessible to the stakeholders and the wider public;
  • There is a strong need to move away from the notion that quality assurance is qqpurely a bureaucratic process;
  • Despite the external review philosophy being based on the continuity of the quality assurance process, this does not really happen in practise;
  • Quality assurance procedures will not assure quality alone, but they are able qqto detect it. Too many regulations on the learning process might result in less innovation, which is too, a part of quality education;
  • A single tool for transparency in higher education is not sufficient;
  • It is extremely hard for students to engage as equal partners if students also qqassume/are given a consumer role in education;
  • Students have responsibilities as stakeholders and as partners;
  • Students’ motivation for participating in quality assurance and development activities can be enhanced only if the quality assurance activities and procedures are effective and made visible;
  • If students provide feedback, they need to be made aware of the changes they have initiated and that their input was valued;
  • It is important that students advance the idea of an active student engagement, train other students and make quality assurance activities an interesting and appealing part of university life;
  • The impact of quality assurance activities often comes with a delay;
  • Rankings can be an instrument for providing transparency, but it is very difficult to encompass the quality dimension of education.