One of the purposes of the Bologna Declaration (1999) was to encourage European cooperation in quality assurance of higher education with a view to developing comparable criteria and methodologies. The European Ministers of Education adopted in 2005 the "Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG)" drafted by the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) in co-operation and consultation with its member agencies and the other members of the “E4 Group” (ENQA, EUA, EURASHE and ESU).
In 2007, the European Ministers of Education, having received the E4 London report agreed that the E4 should proceed to setting up the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR). The Register was set up on 4 March 2008 as the first legal entity to emerge from the Bologna Process. The ENQA membership and listing on the EQAR have as criteria the ESG and thus provide information on quality assurance agencies that are in substantial compliance with this common European framework.
The E4 Group also organises European Quality Assurance Fora annually, to discuss the latest developments in quality assurance.
Actions carried out in the Bologna work programme 2007-2009
One of the main advances in quality assurance was the setting up by the E4 (ENQA, EUA, EURASHE and ESU) of the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) in 2008. The Register lists Quality Agencies that have proven their reliability when reviewed against the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance. At its meeting in Lisbon in October 2007, the Bologna Follow-up Group elected five countries that would serve as observers to the Register Committee in the period 2008-2009.
- “Quality Assurance in Higher Education”, held in Strasbourg (France) on 9-10 September 2008.
- “Quality Assurance in Transnational Education (TNE) – from words to action”, organized by ENQA and hosted by the Quality Assurance Agency, in London (UK) on 1-2 December 2008.
- Also linked to the topic was “Recognition of Prior Learning, Quality Assurance and the Implementation of Procedures”, hosted by the Dutch Government on 11-12 December 2008.
European Quality Assurance Forum
The E4 Group also organized two European Quality Assurance Forums, one in Rome (Italy) on 15-17 November 2007 and the other in Budapest (Hungary) on 20-22 November 2008 to facilitate the exchange of good practices.