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Strategy

About the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education

The Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education (SKVC) is an independent budgetary organisation established in 1995. The Centre implements the national policy of research and higher education of Lithuania within the limits of its competence and ensures compatibility of the Lithuanian higher education system with the provisions of the European Higher Education Area.

The SKVC undertakes to promote the quality of Lithuanian higher education as well as quality culture, create favourable conditions for studies and professional activities, the free movement of persons, and seek compatibility of the Lithuanian higher education system with the provisions of the European Higher Education Area.

The Law on Higher Education and Research and the SKVC Regulations define the following main objectives of the Centre:

To promote the quality of activities of Lithuanian higher education institutions through an external assessment and accreditation of institutions and study programmes;
To create favourable conditions for the free movement of persons when organising and carrying out assessment and/or recognition in Lithuania of higher education-related qualifications awarded by foreign institutions and fulfilling other functions of the Lithuanian ENIC/NARIC (the networks of European National Information Centres and National Academic Recognition Information Centres) centre in the Republic of Lithuania.

Since its establishment, the SKVC performs two main functions:

It carries out the external assessment of higher education institutions and their study programmes, which is used as the basis for accrediting higher education institutions and their provided study programmes. In implementing this activity, the SKVC has become a reliable and recognised agency for evaluating higher education quality. By inviting Lithuanian and foreign experts – academicians, students and professionals – to carry out external assessment, the SKVC contributes to the systematic improvement of higher education quality;
It recognises foreign secondary and higher education qualifications and fulfils other functions of the Lithuanian ENIC/NARIC centre. These functions have been fulfilled by the SKVC since 1999; the Centre shares a considerable relevant experience by providing consultations and information to natural and legal persons about academic and professional recognition of foreign qualifications, Lithuanian and foreign education systems, recognition of the periods of study and other issues.

Alongside principal activities, seeking to achieve its aim, the SKVC has been actively and systematically cooperating with higher education institutions. It provides organisations with individual consultations and shares available information as well as the best practice in trainings, seminars and conferences, covering both quality assurance and recognition of foreign qualifications. The aim is to inform the biggest possible concerned audience about activity results and accumulated knowledge; therefore, various information dissemination channels and measures are used to maintain constant contact with student organisations, schools, foreign communities, related public authorities and business structures. Although stakeholders provide a positive feedback about SKVC activities, in order to improve public awareness of activity results more efforts will be exerted to make SKVC activities public.

The SKVC is constantly changing to keep pace with the shifting directions of the development of higher education. The increasing volume of assessment of study programmes and the growing scope of individual mobility may present a challenge due to the limited nature of financial and human resources and infrastructure development.

International cooperation plays a particular role in SKVC activities – the Centre is a member of international networks and is involved in joint projects as well as partnerships with analogous organisations of other countries. Due to its active operation beyond the territory of Lithuania, the SKVC has become known and appreciable on the international arena, and its employees communicate the gained knowledge to Lithuanian higher education institutions and other organisations.

The planned improvement of SKVC activities through optimisation of the quality management system and digitisation of activities and services will lead to the better satisfaction of target group needs. In order to enhance efficiency of external assessment, the Centre plans to conduct research of the impact of this assessment on higher education.

The SKVC aspires to achieve that external assessment makes a positive impact on Lithuanian higher education and that services related to the recognition of foreign qualifications reduce obstacles to academic mobility and internationalism of organisations.

Vision

The Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education is an influential generator, implementer and disseminator of the ideas of the improvement of quality and enhancement of internationalism in higher education in both Lithuania and Europe.

The SKVC aspires to become an expert organisation operating and recognised by partners at the international level. The important direction of the Centre’s development is generation of new ideas with respect to assurance of quality in higher education and recognition of qualifications. SKVC activities are inseparable from the adoption and spread of the best international practice as well as active contribution to its formation. All this not only determines professionalism of the organisation, but also provides prerequisites for conducting public education on the issues of quality of studies and assessment and recognition of qualifications. Thus, in its vision the SKVC sees itself not only as an active player on the national and regional arena, but also declares its aspiration to contribute to quality assurance in higher education across Europe.

Values

Professionalism and quality. Competent and efficient fulfilment of functions; quality of the activities is achieved through activity analysis, continuous learning and experience sharing;
Independence and impartiality. We are an independent organisation; our operation is based on the principles of transparency, publicity and impartiality, following the pre-defined and announced criteria and procedures; our decisions are based on facts and their evaluation;
Respect and trust. We respect the official language, the choice of persons and institutions, listen to their opinion and seek to assist them in improvement;
Cooperation. We base our operation on partnership within the organisation as well as with stakeholders both in Lithuania and abroad.

Mission

To create favourable conditions for the improvement of higher education quality in Lithuania and the free movement of persons in the world with the aim of enhancing competitiveness of Lithuanian higher education and clarity of qualifications.

It should be noted that the SKVC is actively involved in the development and improvement of the national legal environment for higher education and research and implements the national external quality assurance policy in higher education. The SKVC forms the attitude towards higher education as a public good bringing benefit to society and individuals and as a value encouraging conscious and responsible choice, providing objective information about education systems and their quality. Higher education quality is the agreement between the academic community, employers’ representatives and students regarding the aims, content, resources and measures, results, as well as constant (self-)improvement. The basis for quality is the interaction of teachers, students and the learning environment of the institution. Responsibility for the quality of higher education and the development of quality culture within the institution primarily lies with the higher education institution. The role of the SKVC is to promote these processes by defining quality assurance aims, evaluation criteria and measurement indicators as well as analysing the impact of quality assurance.

The SKVC appreciates the benefits and challenges brought by academic and professional mobility to an individual and community. By performing the functions of the national information centres (ENIC/NARIC) the SKVC acts as an intermediary and facilitator between individuals and institutions both in Lithuania and abroad. The Centre also performs an important role in implementing the best practice of recognition of foreign qualifications and ensuring its consistency in Lithuania.

In its daily activities the SKVC draws on the experience of the best international practice and promotes ongoing institutional and individual professional improvement. Engagement in the higher education quality improvement process is sought to be based on professionalism, impartiality, cooperation and international practice.

Aims and Objectives of the Activities

The SKVC undertakes to promote the quality of Lithuanian higher education as well as quality culture, create favourable conditions for studies and professional activities, the free movement of persons, and seek compatibility of the Lithuanian higher education system with the provisions of the European Higher Education Area.

Long-term SKVC objectives:

  • To promote the quality of activities of Lithuanian higher education institutions through an external assessment and accreditation of institutions and study programmes;
  • To create favourable conditions for the free movement of persons when carrying out recognition of higher education-related qualifications awarded in foreign institutions and providing information about education systems and qualifications.

 

Medium-term SKVC objectives for 2014–2016:

  • To promote the quality of activities of Lithuanian higher education institutions through an external assessment and accreditation of institutions and study programmes:
  • To accomplish the first cycle assessment of higher education institutions for the purpose of conformity of the activities;
  • To start the external assessment of higher education institutions targeted at quality improvement;
  • To carry out the assessment of study programmes according to fields;
  • To ensure that only high quality study programmes are accredited;
  • To expand communication with different SKVC audiences.

To create favourable conditions for the free movement of persons when carrying out recognition of higher education-related qualifications awarded in foreign institutions and providing information about education systems and qualifications:

  • To support the decentralised system of qualification recognition;
  • To improve information management and provision;
  • To adapt the qualification recognition system to SKVC specific needs groups;
  • To strengthen the international aspect of higher education institutions and other organisations in the area of higher education.

Seeking successful implementation of long-term objectives, the following measures for organisation strengthening have been envisaged:

  • To digitise part of activities and services;
  • To optimise the quality management system;
  • To upgrade infrastructure;
  • To improve the system of internal communication and employee motivation.