Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ)

The review will evaluate the way in which and to what extent the Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) 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 October 2020.

Background and context

The Swedish Higher Education Authority (Universitetskanslersämbetet, UKÄ) was established in 2013, partly replacing the former agency for quality assurance the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education (Högskoleverket) established in 1995. UKÄ is an independent government agency and its responsibilities and operations are regulated through instructions. The targets and funding of UKÄ operations are specified in a yearly public service agreement. The agency is also given government assignments as on-going tasks during the year. UKÄ is led by the Director General, who reports directly to the government, and is comprised of four departments. The agency also has an Advisory Council that aids the Director General.

Quality assurance in higher education in Sweden is a shared responsibility between the HEIs and UKÄ. UKÄ is the official quality assurance agency for higher education and research in Sweden. The objectives of UKÄ’s quality assurance activities are both to review the performance of higher education, and to contribute to the HEIs’ quality improvement.

The quality assurance activities of UKÄ comprise  institutional reviews of the HEIs’ quality assurance processes, programme evaluations, appraisal of applications for degree-awarding powers, and thematic evaluations. Although they differ in scope and focus, the activities are conducted within the national quality assurance system established in 2016. The system has been developed in accordance with the ESG, the Swedish Higher Education Act, and the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance.

In addition to quality assurance of higher education and research, UKÄ is tasked with the legal supervision of HEIs, and with monitoring developments and trends in the higher education sector. The agency is also responsible for statistics in the higher education sector. These activities also contribute to the national quality assurance system.

UKÄ has been an affiliate of ENQA since October 2014 and is applying for ENQA membership. The agency was a full member of ENQA between 2000 and 2012.

UKÄ is applying for EQAR registration for the first time.

Review process

This review will evaluate the way in which and to what extent UKÄ fulfils the requirements of the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG). Consequently, the review will provide information to the Board of ENQA to aid its consideration of whether membership of UKÄ should be granted and to EQAR to support UKÄ application to the register.

Review panel

The panel is composed of the following members:

  • Tue Vinther-Jørgensen, Chief Consultant, Ministry of Higher Education and Science, Denmark – Chair, quality assurance professional (ENQA nominee)
  • Patrick Van den Bosch, Quality Assurance advisor, Flemish Council of Universities and University Colleges – Quality Assurance Unit, Belgium – Secretary, quality assurance professional (ENQA nominee)
  • Melita Kovacevic, Full Professor at the Department for Speech and Language Pathology, Faculty for Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia – Panel member, academic (EUA nominee)
  • Gohar Hovhannisyan, Executive Committee member of the European Students’ Union; PhD student at the Armenian State University of Economics, Armenia – Panel member, student (ESU nominee, member of the European Students’ Union Quality Assurance Student Experts Pool)

You can read UKÄ’s self-assessment report on their website here.
This review is being coordinated by Goran Dakovic.