Development of Quality Assurance System in Higher Education (QUASIS)
Vienna, July 6, 2002
Present: Prof. Helena Jasna Mencer (University of Zagreb), Mr. Peter Gabko (Vienna University of Technology), Prof. Aleksa Bjeliš (National Council for Higher Education), Prof. Vlasta Vizek-Vidović (University of Zagreb), Prof. Ivan Vicković (as the representative of the Ministry of Science and Technology, instead of Prof. Davor Butkovic), Prof. Jasminka Ledić (University of Rijeka), Prof. Željko Dujić (University of Split), Mrs. Marta Vilalta (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona), Mr. Josep Grifoll (Agència per a la Qualitat del Sistema Universitari a Catalunya), Prof. Giancarlo Spinelli (Politecnico di Milano), Prof. Albert Weckenmann (University Erlangen-Nuremberg), Mr. Karl Holm (Finnish Higher Education Evaluation Council), Prof. Peter Herbert Osanna (Vienna University of Technology) and Ms. Arijana Mihalic (University of Zagreb).
Absence: Prof. Marijan Šeruga (J. J. Strossmayer University of Osijek), Prof. Jan Elen (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), Prof. Dirk Van Damme (Flemish Interuniversity Council)
2. Introduction of the project partners
3. Introduction to the project and its objectives
4. Project budget – overview
General rules for eligible expenditure, financial documentation (presentation of the
5. Revised activity plan for the 1st project year
6. Revised budget for the 1st project year
7. Administrative and financial project management
8. Preparation of the optimised version of the project budget and activities.
Timing of the project activities.
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Prof. Helena Jasna Mencer opened the meeting and greeted all the participants. She thanked them for their presence and involvement in the consortium of the Tempus project – Development of Quality Assurance System in Higher Education. She noted that the coordinator of the project is the University of Zagreb, while the Vienna University of Technology stands as the contractor. The project should have started last year, but due to its late authorization, the official beginning of the project is April 15, 2002. It will last for two years and end on April 14, 2004. Prof. Mencer identified the 14 institutions involved in the project and explained the reason for selecting them for the consortium. The project also required the help of experts: Guy Haug (France), Laszlo Frenyo (Hungary), Malcolm Frazer (United Kingdom) and Marek Frankowicz (Poland).
After each of the members present at the meeting introduced themselves and the institutions they represent, Prof. Mencer gave a short description of the project Development of Quality Assurance System in Higher Education (QUASIS). She noted that the wider objective of this project is to contribute to:
* the development of a new culture and policy in higher education in Croatia, resulting in a broader acceptance of quality management measures and overcoming the resistance of the academic community to changes.
* the development and implementation of a comprehensive, efficient and effective system for quality management in higher education in Croatia, leading to a modern, competitive university system.
The specific objectives of the project - to develop and implement a quality assurance system - will focus on:
a) establishment of a sustainable enrolment policy
b) enhancement of culture quality; focal points are:
- higher education structure, curricula development, use of the ECTS, teaching and learning methods
- human resources development (the raising generation, criteria for advancement)
c) development of an institutional evaluation model:
- institutional structure of a quality assurance system
- institutional evaluation, self-evaluation, quality indicators, site visits, student evaluation, teacher evaluation, course evaluation.
d) development of corrective procedures to be applied in case of unsatisfactory results of the evaluation process.
One of the important outcomes of the project will be a Handbook on Quality Assurance System and Quality Management in Higher Education.
The broad spectrum of the project partners will enable the use of recommendation, practical application of the know-how, and the best experiences from many European countries and different management levels. This recommendation will be a valuable information source for the Croatian Ministry of Science and Technology, National Council for Higher Education, as well as Croatian universities, with a high relevance for further development of the quality assurance system in Croatia.
The developed quality assurance system will be designed for the area of higher education. Therefore, the main target group of the project are Croatian universities and other Croatian higher education institutions. As the introduction of the mechanisms and rules of the quality assurance system is a top-down process while the implementation of the rules should be broad (teachers, professors, students), the decision-makers from Croatian universities - rectors, vice-rectors, and deans as well as all the others involved in higher education will have a very important role in the project.
It has been proved that an improvement of the quality management in Croatian higher education is necessary for it to be integrated into the European higher education, and then better serve the needs of all faculties, students, professors and the society.
Meetings, discussions, workshops and visits will be organised within the project. Partners from Croatian and West- European universities and institutions will be invited to exchange knowledge and experience, get acquainted with each other, with the quality assurance and its procedures, as well as criteria, control and monitoring of quality that are in use.
During the short visits, the co-workers in the project will be observing practises at the West- European universities, trying to find the reasons for those practises and compare them to the practises in Croatia. Involvement in practical work will help them overcome their resistance to change, as they will be skilled to implement new developed systems and schemes.
Prof. Mencer stated that organization, financing and management have been entrusted to Mr. Peter Gabko.
Mr. Peter Gabko noted that the total project budget, as approved by European Commission amounts to 296.715 EURO (we applied for 300.000 EURO in the project application). He presented a table showing the overview of the planned project activities and the respective planned budget. The table gives a detailed presentation of the budget planned for each of the partners – staff costs, travel costs & costs of stay, equipment, printing costs, other costs, overheads. He made a comparison of the amounts requested for the individual budget headings in the application and those actually received. The grant for the first project year is 164.275 EURO. He introduced the project documentations: Annex I (Guidelines for the Use of the Grant), Annex II (Progress Report) and Contract. He stated the general rules of an eligible expenditure and a presentation of the contractual rules. He drew attention upon some of the articles of the Contract (Article 5 – Payment of the Grant, Article 6 – Composition of the Grant, Article 7 – Beneficiaries of the Grant, Article 11 – Bank account, Article 16 – Reporting, Article 17 – Reference to the Commission’s support, Article 22 – Annexes).
The Tempus grant is intended to cover all eligible expenses which include: Staff Costs, Equipment, Printing and Publishing, Other Costs, Overheads, Travel Costs and Costs of Stay. These costs must be related to the activities described in the Original Application and aim at fulfilling the objective indicated in the Special Provisions of the present contract. All activities must be carried out during the contractual period. All expenses must be paid before the end of the contractual period.
The conclusions of the coordination meeting are as follows:
- Mr. Gabko is to modify the tables of the project budget (for the first year of the project), the timetable and the project activities (work plan).
- For any new equipment or printing costs, invoices and original certificates must be enclosed. Equipment (except software and books/periodicals) purchased with the Tempus grant must originate (i.e. be manufactured or assembled) in the European Union Member State or in the partner countries.
- The members of the consortium fill in the Convention of Staff Costs.
- The first workshop will take place in Split, at the beginning of October. Prof. Željko Dujić, the vice–rector of the University of Split will be the coordinator. According to the project, the workshop will take place for two days.
- The EU institutions should send a list of 5 items, which should include the main topics of their interest. (e.g. the University of Split is interested in the establishment of sustainable enrolment policy). Particular interests of each of the participants are to be identified later on.
- It has been suggested that all the members of the consortium give short presentations of quality assurance within the Workshop in Split.
- During the Workshop in Split a plan of study visits shall be established. The suggestion is that representatives from each of the Croatian universities visit each of the institutions together.
- It has been decided that the estimated 10 days are a too long period for the visit of the institutions. Instead, 4-7 days have been recommended.
- University partners should notify the guests about the date and time of the study visits.
- Prof. Aleksa Bjeliš shall decide on the people who shall visit the national councils.
- The second Workshop will take place in Zagreb, in February or March 2003.
- A Glossary of the terms related to the quality assurance has been distributed on the meeting, and Prof. Mencer asked for feedback, suggestions or remarks regarding this document. The definition of benchmarking should be added into the Glossary. Prof. Weckenmann promised to contribute with his suggestions.
- The institutions should send their account numbers and name of the bank so that all the payments regarding travel costs, staff costs, equipment etc. could be made.
- The Progress Report (1st report) should be sent to the European Commission, not later than July 30, 2002. Prof. Mencer is to set down in writing a short description of the activities that have taken place in the first 4 months of the project including, if relevant, any deviations from the original plans. Also, she should prepare "Proposed recommendations and issues for clarification". Mr. Gabko should prepare a table on planned/achieved outcomes, a mobility tables, a project timetable on planned outcomes and activities and part II – general budget statement (budget overview table).
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The meeting ended at 16:10.
Prof. Helena Jasna Mencer