The Swedish Higher Education Authority’s (UKÄ’s) inspections are changing focus. A new method is being tested in a pilot study in 2017.
It is essential that Swedish HEIs comply with rules and regulations to be able to offer high-quality education. Moving forward, the focus will be on reviewing the legal issues covered in the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG). The result of HEI supervision may then provide a basis for UKÄ’s reviews of the HEIs’ internal quality assurance procedures, which are part of the system for quality assurance of higher education.
How does supervision work?
The review is based on six areas:
- Admission of students
- Student influence
- Course and programme syllabuses
- Course evaluations
- Employment of personnel
- Appeals and complaints
HEIs must report on their work with these areas. We have developed instructions describing the review areas and how the review will proceed. These include information about which documents HEIs must submit. The student unions are also invited to submit statements on the ways in which the HEI complies with the rules in the areas being reviewed.
What happens in the event of shortcomings?
It depends on the nature of the shortcomings. UKÄ will either handle this within its legal supervision or, if the shortcoming is clearly connected to a matter of quality, it will be followed up in the review of the HEI’s quality assurance procedures. These reviews should supplement one another.
When is supervision carried out?
HEI supervision is carried out the year before the HEI’s internal quality assurance procedures are reviewed. In spring 2017, we will publish a schedule for the period of 2018-2022.
Method tested in pilot study
In 2017, a pilot study is going on in which the University of Borås, Malmö University and Mälardalen University are being reviewed. These three HEIs are up first as UKÄ begins the regular reviews of the HEIs’ internal quality assurance procedures in early 2018.
UKÄ has previously conducted inspections at HEIs to confirm that they are complying with laws and regulations. To some extent, these inspections are being replaced by the new HEI supervision, but the inspections will not be fully eliminated. Future visits will be conducted instead through targeted initiatives when warranted. This means that if we receive indications of shortcomings in a certain legal area at an HEI, we will review the HEI on site.