International cooperation on quality assurance in higher education

The Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) plays an active role in international cooperation on the evaluation of higher education, in particular in Europe.

Many students either study or work outside their native countries. The primary aim of the Bologna Process is to create greater mobility for students and graduates applying for jobs in Europe. For this reason it is important for higher education programmes in different countries to be comparable and to maintain stable standards.

Cooperation in several different organisations

Cooperation mainly takes place within the framework of ENQA (The European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education) and the Nordic NOQA network (Nordic Quality Assurance Network in Higher Education), but also in INQAAHE (International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education).

ENQA membership

UKÄ is a member of the European organisation ENQA.

ENQA is a member organisation for national quality assurance agencies in the European area for higher education. To join ENQA, a quality assurance agency must meet ENQA’s requirements. These requirements are based on ESG’s principles for external quality assurance of HEIs’ operations and on the principles to which the quality assurance agencies are to adhere.

To meet ENQA’s requirements, the reviews carried out by a quality assurance agency are to include monitoring and enhancement of the quality work of higher education institutions. ESG also require that the quality assurance agency is autonomous and acts independently. Autonomy is important for ensuring that processes and decisions are based on objective grounds. This refers to both organisational and operative autonomy and autonomy in taking formal decisions. Quality assurance agencies of ENQA are subject to an external review at least once every five years to ensure that they comply with ESG.

In December 2020, ENQA's Board decided on membership for UKÄ, after an independent expert group reviewed how UKÄ as a quality assurance agency meets the requirements set out in the ESG.

In March 2021, UKÄ will submit an application for inclusion on the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR).

Read: Board letter - membership approved

External review report

Read the report: UKÄ Self-Assessment Report for ENQA Agency Review 2020

Terms of Reference for ENQA Agency Review of UKÄ

Mutual criteria

ENQA has been assigned, within the framework of the Bologna Process, the task of developing mutually acceptable criteria and methods for quality assurance.

At a Ministerial conference in Bergen, Norway, in May 2005 the participating countries agreed to adopt the standards and guidelines, drafted by ENQA, in consultation and co-operation with the EUA (European University Association), ESU (European Students Union) and EURASHE (European Association of Institutions in Higher Education).

Accreditation and evaluation agencies in the other Nordic countries