An annual meeting of quality assurance agencies in higher education and vocational education and training this year was held on 30-31st of August in Kuldiga (Latvia). Representatives of the Latvian State Education Quality Service and Lithuanian National Agency for School Evaluation also joined the event. During this meeting every country has presented ongoing activities, current changes in their regulations, specific working methods and plans for the future.
Discussions in parallel groups were held about external evaluation and follow-up activities after the evaluation of quality assurance agencies in higher education. Estonian and Latvian agencies of quality assurance – EKKA and AIKA – were positively evaluated by ENQA this year, while Lithuanian SKVC is in the mid-term and preparing for the ENQA follow-up visit next year.
Furthermore, during the meeting dialogue with colleagues from neighbouring countries was held about evaluation of joint study programmes in Baltic States according to the European Approach for Quality Assurance of Joint Programmes. Even though, ministers of education committed to the European Approach during their meeting in Yerevan (2015), currently national regulations do not allow the application of the European Approach. While there are not many of these programmes in the Baltic States, application of the European Approach is the ultimate aim, thus single evaluation (instead of multiple evaluations or joint evaluation procedures) would be implemented.
During the second day of this meeting, colleagues from Baltic States discussed successful strategies and methods of communication and public relations, implementation and tools for customer-focused services. Moreover, the dialogue between participants was held about advantages and disadvantages of team work, also about the best ways to evaluate interdisciplinary and distance-learning study programmes in different countries.
In 2019, the annual meeting of Baltic States quality assurance agencies in higher education will be organised by SKVC in Lithuania.