The Kosovo Accreditation Agency (KAA) and the Austrian counterpart Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation, with the support of the Heras Plus project, funded by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) have launched the twinning project. This project increases the cooperation in the field of education between Kosovo and Austria.
The main beneficiaries of this project will be the KAA and all stakeholders in higher education in Kosovo, including public universities and private colleges which have thousands of students and teaching staff. Improving policies and increasing the capacity of the KAA directly affects the quality of higher education in Kosovo. Through the implementation of European Standards and Guidelines (ESG) from Kosovo, the academic exchange of students and academic staff becomes much easier. With the implementation of ESG standards, spaces are created to facilitate the integration of the education system of Kosovo in the EU, as well as entities are created for the recognition of diplomas of Kosovar students in EU countries.
The twinning project aims at the exchange of Austrian experiences for the KAA, through mutual visits, conferences, training, and consulting in the field of ESG standards implementation. KAA staff will visit the Austrian Accreditation Agency and the Austrian partners will also visit Kosovo, where they will exchange experiences and best practices of institution management, process management, quality assurance, and supervision of results. Exchanges will take place at all levels related to quality in higher education.
The planned activities in this project will support KAA to advance processes such as: selection, nomination, onboarding of the international experts, as well as supporting them during the onsite evaluations of institutions; a very important exchange is aimed regarding the appeals committee which would result in designing a model of mandate and procedures that will ensure objectivity and independence of the committee as well as transparency and accountability.
Exchange of best practices of a human rights-based approach in Higher Education Institution is aimed to be transferred from the Austrian Partner to the Kosovo Partner pertaining to all planned activities, but more specifically regarding the relevant appeals committee procedures that will be developed as parts of this exchange.
This aim also aligns with the requirements of the ESGs for ensuring student participation in the accreditation process and the relevant bodies of the respective agency, to ensure that the relevant issues are addressed for and by the concerned groups.
The project will focus on these more specific areas on designing of methodologies for accreditation and implementation process / decision making / reporting and appeal process in accordance with European Standards and Guidelines (ESG):
- Learn from AQ Austria model of implementation of external quality assurance processes (focus: Institutional / Programme Accreditation);
- Design of Methodologies (stakeholder involvement – guidelines, administrative procedures) etc;
- Peer-review (selection, nomination, appointment of experts);
- Preparation of decision-making processes;
- Reporting of outcomes (transparency);
- Appeals / Complaints procedures.