Evaluation of national system for quality assurance of higher training
Publication date: 4 December 2020 | Report language: SV
On behalf of the Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ), Technopolis Group has evaluated the national quality assurance system for higher education in Sweden (the ongoing cycle 2017–2022). The purpose of the evaluation was to identify the effects of the quality assurance system and to make recommendations to UKÄ on how the quality assurance system can be further developed. The data collection consisted of document studies, online surveys, scoping and in-depth interviews, international case studies, and in-depth case studies of selected institutions (including physical and digital site visits). The evaluation was carried out between October 2019 and December 2020.
The first Swedish quality assurance system for higher education was implemented in the early 1990s, and since then a number of different systems have existed. Changes between systems have mainly resulted in minor adjustments and changes of the approach to quality assurance. The current system was established in 2016, among other things, in response to the fact UKÄ’s predecessor, the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education, was not allowed to maintain its membership in the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), as ENQA had found shortcomings in the Swedish system at the time.
The current quality assurance system is built around four key elements, called ‘components’. All four components are independent audit processes, and the audits in the components are conducted in parallel with each other. The four components are:
- Institutional reviews
- Programme evaluations
- Appraisal of applications for degree-awarding powers
- Thematic evaluations
The four components are partly based on peer review, where the assessment of the quality assurance work of higher education institutions is carried out by an external assessor group consisting of independent experts in higher education. Self-evaluation is an important element of the review processes. The assessment is based on six assessment areas: i) Governance and organisation, ii) Preconditions, iii) Design, implementation and outcomes, iv) Gender equality, v) Student and doctoral student perspective, vi) Working life and collaboration. The assessment group produces a report, assessing the outcomes and any recommendations for improvement measures, on which UKÄ’s decision is based.
For more information, read the full report (Swedish only). An English executive summary is available on p10 of the report.