NOKUT fulfills all criteria in ENQA evaluations

After an extensive evaluation process, NOKUT got green light from ENQA, the umbrella organization for quality assurance agencies in Europe. In their final report, the evaluation committee commends NOKUT on its work, but also comes with suggestions for further improvement.

– ENQA’s report has arrived and the evaluation committee concludes that NOKUT meets all criteria. We are complimented for our work in several areas, and received helpful suggestions for the future, says NOKUT’s director Kristin Vinje.

On that basis, NOKUT can apply for renewed membership in ENQA (The European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education), and continues to be registered in the European Register for Quality Assurance in Higher Education, EQAR (The European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education). The final decision by EQAR will be made later this year.

– We are very happy with the committee’s feedback and that all the requirements for our continued membership with ENQA are met. It is particularly positive that the evaluation shows that we have managed to integrate our various knowledge-based activities into our quality assurance and developmental work in an effective way, says Vinje.

The committee's report also includes suggestions for improvements, which are now reviewed by NOKUT.

– These are good recommendations, which NOKUT will continue to work on. The suggestions for further improvement and the input we have received, are in line with our new strategy and how we want to develop NOKUT in the future, says Vinje.

ENQA evaluates NOKUT every five years

NOKUT's membership in ENQA must be renewed every five years. An evaluation committee appointed by ENQA assesses whether NOKUT's work with external quality assurance is in line with the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG).

Following NOKUT activities are included in external quality assurance: Institutional and study programme accreditation, periodic review of institutional quality assurance practices, supervision of institutional and study programme accreditation, and evaluations of quality in education.

NOKUT also wants to link the ESG to external quality assurance of tertiary vocational education, even though  the ESG formally does not relate to this part of the education system.

In which areas is NOKUT commended by the committee?

ENQA's evaluation committee points out that NOKUT has shown significant progress on those standards that were partially compliant in the previous evaluation five years ago. This applies, amongst other things, to the way NOKUT is monitoring how recommendations are followed up after periodic reviews of institutional quality assurance practices have been conducted, and that we write out thematic analyses from our evaluations and periodic reviews.

Furthermore, the committee is impressed with NOKUT taking a step outside the usual quality assurance activities, and developing new and innovative activities, such as evaluations of quality in education.

NOKUT is also commended by the panel for its open dialogue with stakeholders and for revising its methodology. The evaluation committee believes that this is something that will contribute to strengthening  quality enhancement  and not just quality control.

What does NOKUT have to address in the future according to the evaluation?

The committee makes recommendations in three areas that must be followed up by NOKUT:

ESG 2.2 Designing methodologies fit for purpose

The first recommendation is that NOKUT, together with the institutions, must develop a better and more efficient method for collecting and giving access to documentation and analyses.

– This concerns, amongst other things, documents we receive for the periodic reviews and the accreditation processes. Here, the committee believes that we, together with the institutions, should use digital tools to a greater extent. This is expected to reduce the workload for the institutions and will be more effective than the current system, where we often receive very large amounts of documentation, explains Director of The Department for Evaluation and Analysis Ole-Jacob Skodvin, who has been responsible for following up the evaluation internally at NOKUT.

ESG 2.3 Implementing processes

The second recommendation is that NOKUT must communicate more clearly timeline and workload for the institutions in our evaluations of quality in education, as well as actively communicate any changes to the suggested timeline.

ESG 2.7 Complaints and appeals

The committee's last recommendation to NOKUT is to make the complaints procedures more transparent and accessible in the documents that are sent to the institutions.

Read the Executive summary

Read the report (pdf)

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