The project aims to support Higher Education Institutions in the implementation of an effective internal quality management system by designing a set of harmonised quality indicators at European level. These indicators address the monitoring, evaluation and improvement of the three main processes within Higher Education Institutions: teaching and learning; research; and relations with the society.
In 2015, the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) were revised again and approved (first version in 2005). Although not being mandatory or prescriptive, the set of standards and guidelines in Part 1 of the ESG contribute to ensure that the internal Quality Management Systems of HEIs in the European Higher Education Area adhere to the same set of principles.
In 2018, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) published in 2018 a new standard entitled “Educational Organisation Management Systems”, providing criteria for the alignment of the HEIs’ internal QM systems to the world-known ISO 9001 standard.
Despite these attempts of standardisation, Internal Quality Management System in Higher Education is frequently criticised for being more process-oriented than results-oriented and difficult to generalize due to the numerous indicators involved.
In this context, Smart-Qual project born to cover some existing important needs:
- Lack of a comprehensive framework of harmonised quality indicators and benchmarks.
- Lack of internal Quality Management systems’ evaluation process by quality assurance agencies, based on common criteria and indicators, which translates in efforts of Higher Education Institutions to implement internal Quality Management systems not being officially recognised.