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The Role of Students in Quality Assurance A cross-faculty QA Network Seminar for members of students’ University Parliaments

Published date: 28.10.2010 15:07 | Author: Ivona Međedović

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With the aim of recognition of students’ role in improving quality in higher education, representatives from the students’ Parliaments at the University of Montenegro, the University of Mediteran and the University of Dornja Gorica, met on 22nd October, for a seminar about the role of students in quality assurance. The seminar was jointly organized by the IPA-funded NQF and quality assurance project and representatives from the Students’ Parliaments.  Students strongly welcomed the opportunity to discuss the significance of quality assurance in their own institutional setting.  They identified existing challenges in relation to good quality of their studies, and discussed possible solutions.

Students have a very important role to play in improving quality in higher education through providing feedback on the quality of their experiences and making suggestions about how they can be improved.  The involvement of students can help to speed up the process of modernization and reform of higher education. Students met for the whole day to increase their awareness about the various roles they might adopt in both internal and external quality assurance processes, and to increase their understanding about how they themselves might contribute to the improvement of their studies and institutions as a whole.

 

The seminar focused on current developments in the European higher education area and the shared principles and practices there.   Some of questions discussed included:

  • to what extent are the ESG for internal quality assurance of higher education institutions achievable in your institutional setting?
  • are these standards and guidelines meaningful? How significant are they in your disciplinary context?
  • do the European standards and guidelines encourage accountability to students and employers?
  • what quality assurance themes emerge in your programme/institution setting?
  • how might your own university secure the engagement of students?
  • how does  the ESG assist in so doing?
  • what challenges do these quality standards pose to your programme? To your university?
  • what are possible solutions to the identified challenges in your setting?

 

Ms. Mubera Kurpejovic, the new Deputy Minister for Higher Education, made a presentation about recent major changes in the legal framework for quality assurance in higher education in Montenegro. One of these changes is that student participation is now included within the accreditation and re-accreditation processes. A student representative will be nominated to the Accreditation Council.  This is a significant move forward in recognition of the importance of engagement of students in policy development and implementation.

 

Students stressed the importance of having national seminars on implementation of higher education reform which include students.  They suggested that such meetings need to be held regularly with managers from their own institutions and with national policy makers. As a next step to their national representation in the external quality assurance they plan to arrange for their international representation in relevant European organisations like ESU (European Union of Students). This, however, requires that a national student body would be established.  Participants agreed to work in the next period.