External quality evaluation and accreditation in Lithuania is performed by the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education (SKVC) which was established in 1995.
SKVC now performs three main types of evaluation:
evaluation of existing study programmes;
evaluation of new study programmes;
institutional review of Higher Education Institutions (HEI).
Evaluation of study programmes
The Law on Research and Higher Education states that only accredited study programmes can be provided at HEI. The accreditation of study programmes is based on external evaluation report. The programmes can be accredited for 3 or 6 years. All new study programmes being accredited for 3 years.
External evaluation of study programmes on a regular basis started in 1999. The main aims of external evaluation are to help Higher Education Institutions to improve quality of their activities and to inform society about the quality of higher education in Lithuania.
Institutional review of Higher Education Institutions
The Law on Research and Higher Education states that the Ministry of Education and Science every six years initiates external evaluation of HEI activities, involving experts from foreign states. The Centre is authorised by the Ministry of Education and Science to organize external evaluation of activities of HEI.
The objective of external assessment to determine the quality of activities of higher education institutions, to offer recommendations for improving their quality, develop the culture of quality assurance in higher education and research.
The HEI can be accredited for 6 or 3 years.
The process of external quality assurance
The external evaluation or review is based on self-evaluation report of HEI. For external evaluation SKVC forms expert teams (local or international in case of study programme evaluation, international in case of institutional review).
The key stages in the evaluation process shall include self-evaluation, the site-visit, preparation of evaluation report (preparation of the evaluation report, its discussion at advisory committee and publication) and the follow-up activities.
External evaluation reports are public through SKVC website.
The Law on Research and Higher Education allows HEI to choose SKVC or another quality assurance agency that is enlisted in EQAR for evaluations of their study programmes. The programme accreditation decision (based on external evaluation report) in Lithuania is taken only by SKVC. In case of institutional review SKVC is the only institution authorized by the Ministry of Education and Science to organize external evaluation of activities of HEI and to accredit them.
Main documents regulating external evaluation of study programmes:
1. Procedure for the External Evaluation and Accreditation of Study Programmes approved by Order No ISAK-1652 of 24 July 2009 of the Minister for Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania;
2. and The Methodology for Evaluation of Higher Education Study Programmes approved by the Order No 1-01-162 of 20 December 2010 of the Director of SKVC;
Main documents regulating external review of HEI:
1. Procedure for the external review of higher education institution approved by Resolution No 1317 of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania of 22 September 2010;
2. Accreditation procedure of higher education institution approved by Resolution No 1317 of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania of 22 September 2010;
3. Methodology for Conducting an Institutional Review in Higher Education approved by by Order No 1-01-115 of 11 October 2010 of the Director of the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education.