The Law on Higher Education and Research states that only accredited study programmes can be provided at higher education institutions (HEIs). External evaluation of study programmes for accreditation purposes started in 1999-2000. The evaluation is intended to help HEIs to constantly improve their study programmes and to inform the public about the quality of studies. Lithuanian or international expert teams are recruited to evaluate new study programmes and study fields.
New study programmes
New study programme – a new study programme that was designed according to assessed needs of prospective professionals, their employability opportunities, the scientific and professional potential of higher education institution and also the resources (of human, material and methodological kind) available or intended to be used to implement such programme.
The decision on the evaluation of the new study programme (and the accreditation of the study field if the institution of higher education does not carry out accredited study programmes in that field) is made after the external evaluation of the programme. The external evaluation of the new study programmes is carried out by Lithuanian group of experts, usually consisting of two experts with the respective competence in the study field of the evaluated programme and one student representative. The evaluation of the new study programme is based on an analysis of 7 evaluation areas, a visit of experts to a higher education institution, and consideration of the findings of the programme evaluation report by the Study Evaluation Commission.
The decision on programme evaluation (and accreditation of the study field if the institution of higher education does not carry out accredited study programmes in that field) shall be made taking into account the conclusions of evaluation report and the proposal of the Study Evaluation Commission.
The external evaluation of study fields, which shall be considered as the basis for accreditation of study fields, shall start to proceed in 2020. All study programmes of same study field will be evaluated at the same time in all Lithuanian higher education institutions.
Until recently, starting from 1999-2000, external evaluation of study programmes has been carried out separately at the programme level.
External evaluation of study fields is carried out at least once every 7 years.
During the evaluation and accreditation process, the first cycle, second cycle, integrated and professional studies of the study field shall be evaluated and accredited separately.
The quality of study field is assessed by points (in 5 point system) according to 7 areas of evaluation:
- Study Objectives, Outcomes and Content;
- Links between science (art) and study activities;
- Student admission and support;
- Studying, academic achievement and graduate employment;
- Teaching staff;
- Study facilities and learning resources (material resources);
- Study quality management and publicity.
The external evaluation of the study field is based on the analysis of the evaluated areas, the visit of the experts to the higher education institution and the consideration of the conclusions of the field and cycle evaluation at the Study Evaluation Commission. The decision on the evaluation and accreditation of the study field and cycle is made considering the evaluation report and the proposal of the Study Evaluation Commission.
Study field can be accredited:
- For a 7-year term, if all areas of evaluation are assessed with at least 3 points according to the intended areas of evaluation;
- For a 3-year term, if at least one of the evaluation areas is assessed as "satisfactory", 2 according to the intended areas of evaluation. The decision to accredit may not be taken twice in a sequence;
- not accredited, if at least one of the evaluation areas has been assessed as "unsatisfactory" - 1 point according to the intended areas of evaluation or if for the second time in a sequence at least one evaluation area is assessed as "satisfactory" - by 2 points, or when it‘s identified that Master degree studies do not meet the established threshold for the assessment indicator.
From January 1, 2025 it is planned to start the evaluation of the field by applying a threshold for the assessment indicator before commencing the external evaluation of studies. The purpose of this indicator is to determine whether sufficiently high level of research and experimental development or artistic activities is carried out at the University, which provides the prerequisites for the studies based on it.