The international politics of quality assurance and accreditation: from legal instruments to communities of practice
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This paper will review the developments that led to the internationalization of quality assurance and accreditation. It begins with the 1990s, when a new approach to the recognition of qualifications was adopted through the Lisbon Recognition Convention (LRC). The growing importance of quality assurance (QA) in this context was also stressed in the 1990s. The paper will examine how this situation contributed to placing quality assurance at the heart of the construction of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and the Bologna Process. It will review the strengthened links between quality assurance and qualification recognition that make these two interlinked processes central to developing policy frameworks. Global attempts at recognition, quality assurance and accreditation will be presented. Such attempts are essential as we enter a more interdependent world, brought about by globalization, the greater mobility of students and academics, and by programmes and institutions that blur the established boundaries of time and space and cross geographical and jurisdictional borders. The paper will also highlight the roles international organizations play in this arena. In particular, it will focus on UNESCO’s World Conference on Higher Education (WCHE), the Global Forum on International Quality Assurance, the UNESCO/OECD Guidelines on Quality Provision in Cross-Border Higher Education, and the processes surrounding these meetings and guidelines. Finally, it will conclude by highlighting the links between politics and quality in higher education. Such links are the determinants of possible international schemes in a more globalized and interdependent world.
CitationUvalic Trumbic, Stamenka. The international politics of quality assurance and accreditation: from legal instruments to communities of practice. "Report: Higher Education in the World 2007: Accreditation for Quality Assurance: What is at Stake?", 2006.