The National Entity for Accreditation and Quality Assurance in Higher Education (NEAQA)
The review will evaluate the way in which and to what extent the National Entity for Accreditation and Quality Assurance in Higher Education (NEAQA) 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 in March 2020.
Background and context
The National Entity for Accreditation and Quality Assurance in Higher Education (NEAQA) is an independent agency in Serbia, established in 2018, for the purpose of quality enhancement of higher education institutions and study programs. According to the previous Law on Education the Commission for Accreditation and Quality Assurance (CAQA) was founded in 2006 as the central body for accreditation and quality assurance in Serbia until the new Law of Education of 2017. NEAQA provides the legal, institutional, substantial and functional continuity with the previous institution. As a new independent legal entity NEAQA is consisted of Managing Board, Director, Commission for Accreditation and Quality Assurance (CAQA), and Professional and Administrative Service.
By virtue of the Law of Higher Education NEAQA is responsible for performing the accreditation tasks, the assessment of quality of higher education institutions and the units therein, evaluation of study programs and assurance of quality in higher education. In realizing those goals CAQA is an expert / professional body of NEAQA who decides on the requests for accreditation, conducts the accreditation procedure and the procedure of external quality evaluation upon opinion of five peer review experts. The Director of the NEAQA appoints peer -review experts upon the proposal by CAQA.
Working plan of NЕАQА is focused on promotion of higher education in Serbia through ensuring its compliance with the internationally recognized accreditation and quality assurance standards. The planned activities will be performed in the process of accreditation and quality assurance in accordance with the quality principles in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG) and the regulations in the Republic of Serbia.
In the process of preparation for the new cycle of accreditation, new procedures were adopted and published on 28 February 2019 in accordance with the requirements of ESG and the Law on higher education of the Republic of Serbia. The new procedure changed the accreditation system regarding the role of the peer reviewers, as suggested by ENQA and EQAR report about CAQA/NEAQA. The new CAQA had to review around 350 requests for accreditation which were left from the previous CAQA. During this process CAQA has noted numerous and various shortcomings, informed the academic community about these findings and established cooperation with it in order to overcome the shortcomings. CAQA informed the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) about the shortage of international peer-reviewers necessary for the review of Ph.D. study programmes and NCHE decided to keep the call for experts open constantly. Moreover, the members of NCHE and CAQA took the obligation to spread the information about the call among the international academic community. The call is published on NCHE website in two languages: Serbian and English.
NEAQA has been ENQA member under review since 22 February 2018 (the predecessor organization CAQA – Commission for Accreditation and Quality Assurance) and is now applying for ENQA membership. The review will also be used for the agency’s application for registration on the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR).
 In charge for the creation of the list of peer reviewers
This review will evaluate the way in which and to what extent NEAQA 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 ENQA Board to aid its consideration of whether membership of NEAQA should be confirmed and to EQAR to support NEAQA application to the register.
The review panel is not expected, however, to make any judgements as regards granting membership.
The panel is composed of the following members:
- Doris Herrmann, Managing Director, Agency for Quality Assurance through Accreditation of Study Programmes
Germany – Chair, quality assurance professional (ENQA nominee)
- Durdica Dragojevic, Head of the Department for Higher Education Quality, Croatian Ministry of Science and Education, Croatia – Secretary, quality assurance professional (ENQA nominee)
- Pedro Teixeira, Associate Professor, Faculty of Economics, University of Porto; Director, Centre for Research in Higher Education Policies (Cipes), Portugal – Panel member, academic (EUA nominee)
- Ignas Gaižiūnas, Student in Physics, study programme Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics, Vilnius University
Lithuania – Panel member, student (ESU nominee)