New model for assuring quality of higher education in Sweden

UKÄ (Swedish Higher Education Authority), has developed a new quality assurance system for evaluating and developing the quality of higher education.

This is the first time in Sweden that a system has been developed which takes a more unified approach to the work of assuring the quality of higher education. It is a model that continues to focus on outcomes but also on the quality assurance procedures at the HEIs, says Karin Järplid Linde, head of the Department of quality assurance at UKÄ.

The task of developing a new system was assigned by the Government and a report was submitted on 30 September 2016. The new system will be used for the first time in 2017 and then for the next six years.

A unified approach

“The model is intended for use in all the types of assessment that UKÄ undertakes as well as to provide support for the HEIs in their own internal procedures. This is an important aspect as the HEIs and UKÄ share the responsibility for quality assurance of higher education,” says Karin Järplid Linde.

The methodology developing the model is also new. The focus has been on dialogue with the HEIs, students and the labour market. According to Karin Järplid Linde approaching the task in this way has been stimulating and rewarding.

An international perspective

One aspect that Karin Järplid Linde emphasises in particular is that the guidelines that have been adopted for quality assurance in higher education in Europe, the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) are even more clearly included in the new model.

“Incorporating ESG’s principles is important for both the HEIs and us as a quality assurance agency. The aim is to have a shared point of departure. It is also important for students as the new ESG puts students at the centre with the clear focus on student-centred learning,” says Karin Järplid Linde.