By implementing the project Modelling External Quality Assurance in the Changing Context (hereinafter - MODEQA) two representatives of SKVC (Head of Institutional Evaluation Division – Rasa Penkauskienė and Acting Head of Study Programmes Evaluation Division – Eimantė Bogdan) together with the representative of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports (Head of Higher Education Studies Division – Giedrė Pačėsienė) were visiting two Nordic Quality Assurance Agencies. The first visit took place on 25th-27th of September to the Swedish quality assurance agency (UKÄ) and the second one on 14th-16th of October to the Finnish quality assurance agency (FINEEC).
During the meetings with the representatives of both Quality Assurance Agencies, Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture and Higher Education Institutions various topics were discussed: strategy for development and implementation of institutional review, thematic evaluations and programme reviews, evaluation criteria, methodology and processes of experts ’selection, organisation of experts’ trainings as well as strengths and drawbacks of the chosen methods in regard to the overall purpose of the accreditation system. In addition, the model for funding of higher education, agreements between higher education institutions and Ministry were presented. A lot of attention was given also for topics as stakeholders’ involvement practises, gathering feedback from institutions, follow-up activities and briefing and drafting of expert review reports and use of data in evaluations.
During the project activities the contact among Lithuanian, Swedish and Finnish quality agencies was strengthened. Friendly relationship was established to keep up further common activities and knowledge sharing or experience exchange. Also, a lot of relevant information was distributed among the participants; understanding of different higher education systems in different countries was deepened and perceptions on possible actions in the future were developed.
Information gained during the visits also strengthened SKVC and Ministry of Education, Science and Sports cooperation in higher education policy implementation because successful examples of collaboration of different sectors in Nordic countries improved understanding of importance in common and concerted activities.
The project MODECQ was implemented according to the grant programmes which are administrated by the offices of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ in Latvia and Estonia, and co-financed by Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Public Administration. These joint mobility and network programmes are important instruments for developing the cooperation between the Nordic Council of Ministers and the governments of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.