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(February 2014) Member States urged to improve Quality Checks in Universities and Vocational Colleges

Member States must shift from a box-ticking approach and upgrade their quality systems if they want to improve the performance of universities and vocational colleges, according to two reports published by the European Commission on quality assurance in higher education and vocational training.

The report on higher education sets out how quality assurance is helping to establish quality goals and address challenges such as the expanding student population in Europe, which has grown by more than 25% to 20 million since 2000.

The report on the European quality assurance reference framework for vocational education (EQAVET) shows that it has also helped develop a quality culture, through support such as an online tool to build and monitor quality assurance systems, and by encouraging the sharing of experience and best practice through the EQAVET network. But, here too, further action is needed to make quality assurance more transparent and increase mutual trust in qualifications awarded in different countries.

This would help vocational students and workers to get their skills, competences and qualifications recognised abroad. Priority areas for further cooperation include improving the quality assurance of work-based learning, including apprenticeships, and in defining and assessing learning outcomes.

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