More than 35 government officials and education professionals gathered in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on the 30 June, at the Conference Hall of the Academic Council of the Tajik Technical University, to discuss current developments and challenges in the field of Quality Assurance (QA) and Accreditation in Higher Education (HE) and Vocational Education and Training (VET).
The meeting was opened by Mr Rakhmatullo Mirboboev, First Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Republic of Tajikistan; Mr Nozim Sidikov, Deputy Head of Department of the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Employment, Republic of Tajikistan; and Mr Maciej Adam Madalinski, Head of Operations Sections, EU Delegation. They welcomed the participants and expressed their support in strengthening the dialogue between the EU and Tajikistan on current issues in education. Representatives of both ministries also shared their views on the current status of QA and Accreditation in HE and VET in Tajikistan. The introductory speeches were followed by a lively discussion moderated by CAEP Expert Mr Claudio Dondi, in which representatives of the QA authority and educational institutions pointed out different aspects of internal and external Quality Assurance, also touching on the opportunity for intensified regional cooperation in Central Asia.
The first session, “Standards and guidelines for Quality Assurance and Accreditation in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) – Latest Trends and Challenges” included presentations on good practice and lessons learned in the practical implementation of QA and Accreditation in both Latvia and Poland. Topics covered the policies and processes influencing implementation, existing national regulations and organisational structures, and the criteria used for quality assurance. The session was delivered by Ms Baiba Ramiņa, Academic Information Centre, Director, Riga, Latvia and Prof. Ewa Chmielecka, Educational Research Institute, Warsaw, Poland.
The second session saw representatives from HE and VET in Tajikistan discuss good practice and lessons learnt in implementing internal quality assurance and looked at the potential for linking QA and accreditation between the two sectors. This was followed by a round table discussion focusing on practical implementation; relevant legislation, the regulatory framework and the institutional setting. The questions posed by the moderator focused on: QA and accreditation related normative basis and the regulations to be put into place, internal and external quality assurance and possible adjustments to existing or planned legislation and regulation. As a result of discussion a series of recommendations for next steps in strengthening QA and accreditation at national level were developed by the EU and Tajik colleagues, including the organisation of a Central Asian register of quality assurance experts and the development of self-certification for HEIs.
The aim of the meeting – to support the process of modernisation of education and professionalization in the field of Quality Assurance – was achieved by sharing EU expertise, facilitating policy dialogue at national level and exploring opportunities for regional and international cooperation, such as Peer Learning Activities and Country Twinning in the sectors.
In feedback, participants commented on the high quality of the meeting. The value of continuous dialogue and knowledge exchange on the current issues on QA and Accreditation in HE and VET was also expressed and the understanding that developments in the field will lead to an improvement in the quality of graduates in the CA countries and subsequent economic and social advancements in the region.