National Center for Educational Quality Enhancement (NCEQE)

The review will evaluate the way in which and to what extent the National Center for Educational Quality Enhancement (NCEQE) fulfills the criteria for ENQA membership and thus the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area. The evaluation is scheduled to finish April/May 2019.

Background and context

In 2005, Georgia joined the Bologna Process and took the responsibility to harmonize its educational system with the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and to implement higher education quality assurance system. In 2006, the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia established a quality assurance agency – the National Center for Educational Accreditation (Order N222, the Ministry of Education and Science), which was authorized to conduct institutional accreditation of higher education institutions of Georgia. The system has been reformed in 2010 aiming at strengthening the role of the external quality assurance and extending the mandate of the quality assurance body. In this regard, the Law on Educational Quality Enhancement has been introduced. By this law an independent quality assurance body – the National Center for Educational Quality Enhancement (NCEQE) has been established as a legal successor of the National Center for Educational Accreditation. The core functions of the NCEQE are: implementing external quality assurance mechanisms of all educational institutions (higher education institutions (HEI), vocational education institutions and general education institutions) operating in the country, on both institutional and programme level; development of the national qualifications framework; recognition of foreign education. The NCEQE represents Georgia in the ENIC-NARIC Networks.

To fulfill its function of implementation and development of external quality assurance mechanisms for higher education institutions, the NCEQE continuously works on the development of the education quality concept, creates and maintains up-to-dated quality assurance (QA) standards and procedures and ensures relevant mechanisms for their proper implementation. In this regard, several external reviews of the agency’s activities and the external quality assurance mechanisms have been conducted by international peers. The recommendations of the reviews have been considered for the development of the QA system.

Currently, two main external quality assurance mechanisms – authorization of educational institutions and accreditation of educational programmes are in place.

The authorization of higher education institutions is an obligatory for all HEIs in order to be allowed to carry out educational activities and to issue a diploma that is recognized by the state. The procedure identifies the compatibility of educational institutions with authorization standards. The term of the authorization is 6 years after which the HEIs are obliged to go thought the re-authorization procedure in order to continue its activates.

The accreditation of educational programmes determines the compatibility of educational programmes with accreditation standards. Programme accreditation is mandatory only for doctoral programmes and programmes of regulated professions (Medicine, Law, Teacher Education, Veterinary, and Maritime). However, due to the fact that state funding goes only to accredited programmes, 98% (1950 accredited programmes) of all academic programs are accredited.

To ensure the continuous development of education quality and the consideration of the external evaluation results by the HEIs, the NCEQE carries out follow-up monitoring procedures for both educational institutions and educational programmes.

Furthermore, the NCEQE supports the development of internal quality assurance mechanisms of HEIs through providing various capacity building activities, including provision of guidelines, consultations and workshops for HEIs.

In 2015-2017, NCEQE revised the system of higher education quality assurance to strengthen the development-oriented and outcome-based function of quality assurance and to ensure its compliance with the requirements of Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG 2015). Specifically, the quality assurance standards and procedures have been revised; formal procedure of complaints and appeals has been introduced; students, employer representatives and international experts have been involved in the review panels; evaluation reports became publicly available.

In order to foster the proper implementation of the revised QA system special programme the NCEQE carried out pilot evaluations of HEIs, provided capacity building activities to HEIs and experts, and developed review process guidelines. Special programme under the project “Study in Georgia” has been designed to support the above mentioned activities.

From 2018, the NCEQE has started the system-wide implementation of the revised quality assurance standards and procedures at Georgian HEIs.

The NCEQE has been an ENQA affiliate since October 2013 and now is applying for ENQA membership.

The NCEQE is also applying for registration on EQAR.

Review process
The process is designed in the light of the Guidelines for ENQA Agency Reviews and in line with the requirements of the EQAR Procedures for Applications.

The evaluation procedure consists of the following steps:

  • Formulation of the Terms of Reference and protocol for the review;
  • Nomination and appointment of the review panel;
  • Self-assessment by NCEQE including the preparation of a self-assessment report;
  • A site visit by the review panel to NCEQE;
  • Preparation and completion of the final evaluation report by the review panel;
  • Scrutiny of the final evaluation report by the ENQA Review Committee;
  • Analysis of the scrutiny by the ENQA Board and their decision regarding ENQA membership;
  • Follow-up of the panel’s and/or ENQA Board’s recommendations by the agency, including a voluntary follow-up visit.

Review panel
The panel is composed of the following members:

  • Mark Frederiks, International Policy Coordinator, Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO), The Netherlands – Chair, Quality assurance professional (ENQA nominee)
  • Jana Moehren, Head of Higher Education and Professional Learning, East Kent College Group, Former Head of International Office at Accreditation Agency for Study Programmes of Engineering, Information Science, Natural Sciences and Mathematics (ASIIN e.V), Germany – Secretary, quality assurance professional (ENQA nominee)
  • Melita Kovacevic, Full Professor, Head of the Laboratory for Psycholinguistic Research, University of Zagreb, Croatia – Academic (EUA nominee)
  • Gohar Hovhannisyan, Master student at Armenian State University of Economics (ASUE), Armenia – Student (ESU nominee)

NCEQE’s self-assessment report is available here.

This review is being coordinated by Agnė Grajauskienė.