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This year, the Agency for Science and Higher Education (ASHE) is to undergo an international review to be coordinated by the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education - ENQA.

On 3–6 October 2016 ASHE will host an international panel of experts chaired by Professor Jürgen Kohler, PhD, professor of law at Greifswald University, Germany, and a former president of the German Accreditation Council, the central body governing external quality assurance in higher education in Germany.

Independent agency review panels are appointed by the ENQA Board. They comprise at least two former or present employees of quality assurance agencies, one student and one university professor. Agency employees are nominated by ENQA while other members are nominated by the European University Association, EUA, and the European Student Union, ESU, respectively.

The purpose of the review is to establish whether ASHE still meets all membership standards and criteria, the most important being compliance with the revised Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area, ESG, especially the standard related to ASHE's independence in carrying out its activities and issuing final decisions on the outcomes of evaluation procedures. The review will also verify compliance with the standard related to the adequacy of the Agency’s physical, financial and human resources, such as the number of employees and the adequacy of their training for work on procedures of conducting external evaluation in higher education and science.

ASHE also needs to prove its compliance with the standards related to external evaluation process, i.e. demonstrate that foreign students and experts are involved in the procedures, the final reports of external evaluation are published, that the evaluation process includes a follow-up phase as well as an appeals process, etc.

ASHE also has to prove that the standards related to internal quality assurance put in place by higher education institutions are taken into account in external evaluation. By doing so, higher education institutions are encouraged through external evaluation to be actively involved in the quality improvement and development of quality culture.

Prior to a visit by the expert panel ASHE is required to draft a Self-evaluation report explaining ASHE's compliance with ESG standards and to submit evidence thereof.

The international review to be carried out by ENQA is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. 

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