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Together with the higher education sector and society as a whole, quality assurance agencies are currently facing unprecedented challenges in their normal activities and continuing uncertainty regarding the duration of current epidemiological measures, as well as the possible long-term impact on their daily work.

The European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), of which ASHE is also member, published the Statement on COVID-19 Pandemic on 5 May 2020. According to the Statement, no agency will jeopardize their compliance with the ESG if they adapt their procedures to the current circumstances. Postponement of the evaluation procedures or transfer to online mode of work in this situation is fully aligned with the ESG, and ENQA encourages its members to allow flexibility to higher education institutions with regard to that.

ENQA is aware that certain challenges are shared by numerous agencies, while others are unique and depend upon a specific context in which a particular agency operates. Therefore, they strongly encourage dialogue between agencies and institutions and national bodies to solve any issues at the national level which could make such flexibility difficult.

Extraordinary measures are needed in times of crisis, but as the situation progresses, there will certainly be a need for ongoing evaluation and consideration to ensure that all changes are appropriate and fit for purpose. ENQA will work hard on supporting its member agencies and encouraging joint discussions on both these aspects.

 

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