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Measures of Quality: More than ‘good enough’?

Paper presented at the EAIR 36th Annual Forum, 27.-30. August 2014 Essen, Germany.

Introduction

Now it is all about one thing: Quality! It is important for us to have world class universities; we must be able to compete internationally. There are too many institutions with poor quality, with too low ambitions. – Norwegian Research and Education Minister T. R. Isaksen (11 Nov. 2013)

Traditionally, ‘quality’ is thought of as an extendable phenomenon, manifesting itself on a continuum that stretches from ’weak’, through ‘acceptable’ and shades of ‘good’, to ‘excellent’ –  relative to other phenomena of the same category. In Europe, the quality of higher education has been the object of organized assurance and scrutiny for many years. Does this mean that we now have a firm grasp on the quality status of our national HE sectors, when quality is seen as more than compliance with certain standards and the achievement of certain performance goals? Do we have the reference and the methodology that enable us to know when a particular programme or institution has ‘world class’ or ‘high international quality’? Does the Minister know, or is he assuming?


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Author(s): Jon Haakstad
Date: 27.08.2014