Work programme 2015-2018
UNESCO Regional Consultation Meeting for Western Europe
The UNESCO Regional Consultation Meeting for Western Europe will take place in the International Conference Centre Geneva (CICG) on 15-16 February 2018 under the title "The role of Quality Assurance in Higher Education: challenges, developments and trends".
In preparation of the UNESCO global conference on Quality Assurance in Higher Education, to be held in Paris on 21-23 November 2018, UNESCO is currently organizing regional events in different parts of the world in partnership with quality assurance agencies and relevant regional or global organizations. Switzerland will be hosting the event for Western Europe.
The event is co-organized by UNESCO's Division for Policies and Lifelong Learning systems and the Swiss Agency of Accreditation and Quality Assurance (AAQ) with the support of the Swiss National Commission for UNESCO. In parallel, the National accreditation agency of the Russian Federation (NAA) and the Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education and Career Development (AKKORK) are co-organizing the related event for Eastern Europe, to be held in Moscow in April 2018.
Higher education is central to socio-economic development, and vital to competitiveness in an increasingly globalizing world. Higher education through its contribution to knowledge, innovation and capacity development plays a critical capacity building and professional training role in support of all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Research findings indicate that investment in higher education may promote faster innovative and technological catch-up and improve a country’s ability to maximize its economic output. Thus, higher education institutions are challenged to adjust their program structures, curricula, teaching and learning methods to adapt to new demands. In recognition of this challenge, greater attention is being focused on quality assurance as a critical factor to ensuring educational relevance. The principles guiding the recently adopted Education 2030 Incheon Declaration and Framework for Action: “Towards inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all” underscores the importance of establishing robust quality assurance systems as necessary instruments for addressing the above challenges.
With this in mind and to better understand the potentials for higher education and its quality assurance mechanisms in the implementation of Education 2030 and the Sustainable Development agenda, there is a major need for policymakers, educationalists, quality assurance professionals and other regulatory bodies and stakeholders to further explore the intricacies of quality assurance. Against this background, UNESCO, in collaboration with regional and global co-organizing partners will organize an International Conference on Quality Assurance in Higher Education in Paris, France, fall 2018.
As part of preparations for the Conference a series of regional events are being organized in different parts of the world, the proceedings and reports of which will feed into the final Conference. The present constitutes the fifth in the series and is organized in partnership with the Swiss agency of quality assurance and accreditation (AAQ) with the support of the Swiss National Commission for UNESCO. A parallel connected event will cover the Eastern Europe region and will be held in Moscow in spring 2018.
Main Expected Outcomes
- Identification of major opportunities and challenges to the development of QA in Higher Education in the region ;
- Reflections on the role of Higher Education and QA in sustainable development;
- Development strategies for engaging governments, QA bodies, HEIs and other stakeholders in enhancement of QA to enable it responding to system needs and transformations;
- Exchange of good QA practices in the region and beyond;
- Development of a regional synthesis report.
mainly European quality assurance agencies, higher education institutions, policy makers, governmental bodies, companies and other stakeholders dealing with the various facets of quality in higher education.