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Barski T. Opole University Opole, Poland Ph.: (+48 11) 4556118, e-mail:

Abstract – In the article standards and directions of quality assurance in the European Higher Education Area are presented. Quality of education is presented on examples of Poland and France. The independent agency – SAC (State Accreditation Commission) appointed in Poland and National Evaluation Committee CNE (Comite National d’Evaluation) in France directs and evaluates researches, teaching and management of higher education institutions. Processes of institutional evaluation are connected with higher education mission.

I.                                    Introduction

Europe of knowledge. European Higher Education Area is presently created by 45 countries and its horizon ranges to the year 2010. Declarations and announcements signed by the ministers responsible for higher education resorts constitute the most important documents which define character of Bologna Process [1]. Creating of Europe of knowledge is the goal of growing changes occurring in the higher education area. The beginning of the industrial revolution was the moment when machines were produced „by other machines» and similarly nowadays it becomes interesting to look for an analogy to create a system of using knowledge to „produce knowledge».

The aim of introduction of the term Europe of knowledge is to indicate the education development direction as well as European and global economy direction, which up to now is in contrast to the model of industrial society, in which the physical compulsion was replaced by a contract, and strength of muscles by a machine. The notion of knowledge emphasizes replacing machines work by knowledge, and their function is taken over by computers. Notions of Europe of knowledge, area of knowledge, knowledge based economy are a certain thinking shorthand. In reality we would like to use it effectively. Pure knowledge without ability to apply it and without e. g. motivation to work does not bring effects, measurable economical benefits.

In the Berlin Communique of 19 September 2003 the ministers of signatories countries of the Bologna Process turned to European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), to elaborate a set of standards, procedures and directions dealing with «assurance of quality» and «analysis of the methods ensuring a proper revision process within quality assurance and/or accredit agency or bodies». The notion of „quality assurance» encompasses such processes as: evaluation, accreditation, and audit.

Membership of the ENQA (European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education) is held by all countries forming the European Higher Education Area. Assurance of quality of education as a general term functioning in higher education area allows many interpretations [3, 7, 8, 9].

Accreditation. Education quality agencies. Education quality in higher education area together with its continuous improvement within scientific as well as didactic research is discussed in many European countries and in the United States. External agencies ensuring education quality were appointed in many countries. These institutions came under the government or the president or have a local academic character. Accreditation procedure of fields of study and higher education institutions refers to both the ones which already exist on the education market and those which apply to enter the market.

Accreditation of the higher education system is well known for a long time and it was established for over 100 years ago as an inherent element of the American education system. Many higher education bodies use accreditation as an element of education offer for the potential students. In the United States accreditation is conducted by the external nongovernmental agency, whereas in European countries accreditation is conducted by governmental agencies which were created in the second half of the eighties of the 20**^ century.

In the mentioned Berlin Communique, the Ministers entrusted ENQA with concrete tasks within coordinating education quality assurance and especially accreditation and evaluation.

On the international plane accreditation does not consist in awarding a school (institution, program) a quality sign, which is in the scope of vocational organizations, associations etc., but in ensuring that students and scientific-didactic staff mobility is based on defined and accepted program requirements (that is defined and accepted quality criteria).

In Poland state accreditation is conducted by the State Accreditation Commission (SAC) operating since 2002. The presidium of SAC prepares a list of higher education institutions and fields of study which are to undergo the accreditation process. It is obligatory to allow the accreditation procedure in the higher education institution. The Minister of Education and Science makes a decision taking into account marks by SAC. In the case of a negative mark the Minister withdraws the rights given and suspends student recruitment process on a certain field of study. The result of accreditation has a binary character: granting / non granting accreditation, whereas accreditation may be granted conditionally.

Education quality may be influenced by a three dimensional space which id created by:

>           State (its agencies) – which analyses realization of assumed standards and indicators;

>           Academic environment – which refers to self- evaluation and «peer review»;

>           Market – taking into account job market opinion.

Accreditation in Europe poses many questions,

doubts and misunderstandings due to a clash of two traditions;

>           American tradition based on market attempt,

>           European tradition which sees accreditation as a way to international diploma, qualification and mobility recognition.

A bigger activity of quality agencies which are looking for new alternative solutions such as e. g. British program of benchmark analysis as basis of quality education evaluation on an international scale can be observed. Benchmark – criteria, measurement, standard, competence, result, reference point (for comparison)

On the contrary to accreditation which concentrates on study programs and conditions of their realization, benchmarking concentrates on meaning of competences, that is education results.

Differences in accreditation understanding in the USA and Europe rely on various understanding of a role and final effects of this process. For Europeans accreditation is a process which leads to achievement of a certain level – acquisition of allowance to run education activity. American accreditation is directed towards self-regulation, freedom of choice and responsibility for taken commitments in respect of accreditation institutions as well as students, the government and other interested parties.

II.                                       Main Part

External system of assurance of quality of education – example of France. National Evaluation Committee – СЛ/Е appointed in France on the basis of the Higher Education Act of January 26 1984, is an example of an external system of assurance of quality of education, СЛ/Е is obliged to perform assessment of state universities, higher schools and scientific institutes which are subordinate to the Minister of Higher Education (le Mninistre charge de I’Enseignement Superieur). The Minister of Higher Education may decide to perform the evaluation process in the schools which come under other ministers. The next Act of July 10, 1989 given CNE the administrative independence. Nowadays the committee is subordinate directly to the president of France. It has its own budget, and its functioning is defined by proper decrees. Independent to ministry it gathers materials on higher education area, but it also uses the documents prepared by higher education institutions for ministry needs. National Evaluation Committee cooperates with institution operating in a higher education system. In accordance with the decree of February 21, 1985 СЛ/Е prepares a program, defines assessment methodology, is responsible for evaluation process organization, external assessment and preparing a report [4, 5, 7].

CNE performs assessment of higher education institutions in the aspect of tasks assigned to a certain level of education, character of research, cooperation with region, exchange and cooperation with national and foreign academic institutes. The assessment procedure also takes into account the way of management of a unit and politics realized in this scope, in agreement with binding standards confirmed by habilitations, that is rights given to a higher education institution for a period of 4 years to run a field of study, a major, which is confirmed of a graduate’s diploma. The committee does not assess particular persons (lecturers, students, administrative and technical personnel) in respect of their achievements on education and management area as well as the research field. CNE is not empowered to conduct financial control but it turns attention to efficiency of administration and operation of organizational units in every institution (universities, higher schools). The overall objective is to help higher education institutions to improve education quality. Among the fundamental CNE tasks there are:

–         institutional evaluation of higher education area. This kind of education encompasses proper and repeat evaluation. The second type of evaluation was started in 1994 for universities and those higher schools and scientific institutes which already undergone the evaluation process. In the first period of institutional evaluation of universities and higher schools, in the second half of the eighties and in the nineties, attention was paid to the kind of «evidence» of description of the situation found. The repeat evaluation prefers a static analysis. Since the time of its establishment it performed evaluation of all French universities, and about 50 higher education institution of other kind (publishing over 180 reports) within the scope of institution management, vocational education and research.

–         Evaluation of a university in a local, environmental confexf – testing of cooperation between a higher education institution and a city, local community, region e. g. education in accordance with regional needs;

–         horizonal analysis dealing with specific activities in higher education area (e. g. giving a proper status to researches; practicing sports by students); these analysis are the example of parallel activity.

–         evaluation in a horizontal and comparative line, connected with the knowledge discipline (e. g. geography, chemistry), and the level of education (Master cycle, Bachelor cycle) [2].

Institutional evaluation includes internal and external evaluation. Internal evaluation is performed by a higher education institution which during a period from two to three months prepares a document, on the basis of the «University Evaluation Guide» {Guide de revaluation des universites), including data on: management system, human resources, material resources, students number, fields of study, conducted research meaning and degree of their spreading. It constitutes the basis for external evaluation performed by experts during a three day visit, the experts establish possible discrepancies between the internal evaluation document and the real state [2, 6].

The final report together with advice is accepted by the Management Board and the president (director) of the university assessed receives the document, and he comments on its content in a written form. The answer is attached to the report published. The minister, members, members of parliament, higher education institutions receive the printed document. It may also be read at the website (http://www.-evaluation, fr).

The reports value realization of the fundamental tasks of the assessed institutions, assess the plans and their realization. Recommendations included in the report deal with strategy choice, which could be used by presidents (directors) of higher education institutions and proper teams working on improvement of quality of education methods, conducting researches and management.

Scientific and pedagogical politics of each institution is assessed in the aspect of: research quality, that is analysis of institution scientific politics conducted during last four years, equipping a higher education institution with proper structures for research control, relation of a higher education institution with huge scientific centers, evaluation of research conducted for the region, participation of scientific workers in researches and also in aspect of teaching, education quality and scientific staff development, human resources and equipment management, life conditions in the academic campus, services for students (services in dean’s office, library etc.), cooperation with local, regional and state environment and cooperation on an international scale.

Evaluation is of quantitative and qualitative character. Quantitative statistic data analysis allows to compare universities and higher schools in the whole country. Whereas, the qualitative analysis done on the basis of proper documents enriches the knowledge about the specificity of the assessed bodies of higher education, it shows their development and special features, it emphasizes that the higher education evaluation should be first of all qualitative.

The assessment conducted finishes with conclusions and recommendations which are not compulsory for the assessed institution. However, in the period from 12 to 18 months after publishing the report the meeting of the experts with the management of the assessed institution is planned in order to analysis the degree of realizing the recommendations. Cooperation results and fulfillment of the agreements entered is assessed. The quality of PhD studies is assessed. СЛ/Е advises how to improve functioning of the assessed units and to improve their effectiveness, efficiency and education quality.

Evaluation reports may deal with a higher education unit, field of study or a particular topic. The reports are made available for the interested and published, similarly as the annual activity reports which encompass four years of synthetic balance sheets defining the higher education area state.

CNE every year reports to the president of France, the reports constitute a significant source of information for the politics of a higher education strategy worked out by the Government. CNE is made by 25 members appointed by the decree of the Council of Ministers for four years: 19 members represent scientific community,

4  persons are designated by the Socioeconomic Council, besides there is one representative of the Council of State and one of the Tribunal of State.

III.                                    Conclusion

All in all, it appears necessary to distinguish two basic aspects of education quality, that is mechanisms of assurance of education quality at a higher education institution and creating and applying education quality assessment systems (review). The first aspect includes activities performed in favor of maintaining a given standards of academic education. Whereas creating education quality assessment systems is connected with appointing and formalizing certain procedures and their implementing. Forecasts concerning the higher education future and quality of education are rather tough, the demographic factor and market competitiveness shall be crucial. The employment market role is growing as a verifier of higher education diplomas. On the European employment market only the diplomas which confirm real qualifications of their holders will be valuable. The position of schools caring for high quality and modernity of education is growing. In Poland the education indicator (the ratio of the number of the studying in the age of 19- 24 to a general number of people in this age) at the beginning of the decade of nineties of the 20* century it was 12.9%, and in 2003/2004 it reached 47%. The academic society has almost 1.9m people. Does the quantitative success is accompanied by a proper quality of education?

IV.                                     References

[1]  Барски Т., Слободянюк A. A., Болонская декларация и качество высшего образования, – В кн.: 15th. Int..

Crimean. Conference.«Microwave.&. Telecommunication. Technology».(CriMiCo’2005).12-16. September,.

Sevastopol,. Crimea,. Ukraine CriMiCo’2005. Organizing. Committee:. Weber. Co.. IEEE. c. 95-98.

[2]  Barska A., Barski Т., Francja – Narodowy Komitet Ewaluacji. [w:] Zewn^trzne zapewnienie jakosci ksztatcenia w szkolnictwie wyzszym,. red М., Wojcicka, J. Urbanikowa, wyd.. CBPNiSW Uniwersytet Warszawski, Warszawa 2001.

[3]  Korporowicz L., Nowe twarze ewaluacji. Wkierunku interwencji, analizy czy inspiracji, w: Socjotechnika: kontrowersje, rozwoj, perspektywy, red. J. Kubin,

J. Kwasniewski, wyd. IPSiR UW, Warszawa 2000.

[4]  Les lUFM au tournant de leur premiere decennie Panorama et perspectives. Raport d’evaluation. 2001 fevrier, CNE, ed. Francine Sarrazin, Paris.

[5]  Les missions et les principes d’action du Comite, PRES- missi.html

[6]  Memento de I’expert, CNE 2000, ed. Autorite administrative independente, Paris.

[7]  Organisation et deroulement de revaluation d’un etablissement, evaluation.html

[8]  Scott P., Recent developments in quality assessment in Great Britain, w: D. Westerheijden, J. Brennan, P. Maassen (red.). Changing Context of Quality Assessment, recent Trends in Western European Higher Education, Uitgeverij Lemma B. V., Utrecht 1994.

[9]  Wojcicka М., Jakosc ksztatcenia w szkolnictwie wyzszym, w: Jakosc ksztatcenia. Stownik tematyczny, red. M. Wojcicka, wyd. UW, Warszawa 2001.

Источник: Материалы Международной Крымской конференции «СВЧ-техника и телекоммуникационные технологии», 2006г. 

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