This is a case study focused on the institutional change in the quality assurance process that the Romanian higher education organizations are beginning to face. Quality assurance in Romania has been a State policy implemented by quasi-State bodies composed of representatives of the universities working under State regulation. The formal implementation of quality assurance policies and procedures at national, institutional and departmental levels has been quite thorough, reaching out to most of the programs and institutions. Although most of the higher education institutions and programs have complied with the rules, the quality assurance policies and structures at program and institutional levels, they have become ritualistic and decoupled from the day to day teaching/learning and research activities aiming only at acquiring the State’s acknowledgement, the accreditation of the program and/or the higher education institution. The new measures and policies at State level acknowledge the current state of fact and sets to trigger an institutional change making quality assurance embedded into current teaching/learning and research activities of the universities; it is meant to increase institutional responsibility towards quality thus to institutionalize quality enhancement along a different rationale than that of accreditation. We will explore alternative approaches and policies for internalizing quality assurance in higher education institutions and their study programmes.
- High Education
- Quality Assurance
- High Education Institution
- High Education System
- External Evaluation
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Institutional environments are, by definition, those “characterized by the elaboration of rules and requirements to which individual organizations must conform if they are to receive support and legitimacy” (Scott and Meyer 1991:123).
For a detailed description of the three models see Taylor and Miroiu (2002).
Law no. 88/1993, regarding the accreditation of higher education institutions and degree recognition; presently this law is no longer valid. A Romanian language version of this law may be found at the following address: http://www.cdep.ro/pls/legis/legis_pck.htp_act_text?idt=13868.
For example, if one wanted to organize a study program in the field of Political Science, they had to include compulsory courses like “Introduction to Political Science”, “Political Parties”, “Political Ideologies”, “History”, etc. in the curricula.
Law no. 87/2006 which approved the 2005 Government Ordinance (no. 75/2005). A Romanian language version of the text is available at http://www.aracis.ro/uploads/media/legea87.pdf.
“Primary and Secondary Indicators for Quality Evaluation” published by ARACIS in 2009 the text is available in English at the following address: http://proiecte.aracis.ro/fileadmin/Academis/A3/2.b._Brosura_act_3_EN.pdf.
Within the Romanian New Law on Education, no. 1/2011, the term institution refers to organizations.
According to the New Law on Education, no. 1/2011, there are two major categories of beneficiaries: direct beneficiaries (e.g. students) and indirect beneficiaries (e.g. the families of direct beneficiaries, employers, local communities, and, generally, the whole society).
See The New Law on Education, no. 1/2011, http://www.edu.ro/index.php/base/frontpage (Romanian only).
Throughout this section, the concept of State is used in a general sense.
See, for this matter, the standards of quality established by Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (i.e. ARACIS), which are available at http://www.aracis.ro/en/procedures/.
The ACADEMIS project is implemented by ARACIS and aims at supporting the development of academic quality management at system and institutional level. See, for further details, http://proiecte.aracis.ro/en/academis/about-academis/. Accessed on 3rd September 2011.
For instance, within the ARACIS survey, 41% (in 2009) and 47% (in 2010) of the interviewed students (the highest percentage) reported that Romanian higher education is at least as good as Western Europe higher education, while 69% (in 2009) and 76% (in 2010) of the interviewed students and 95% (in 2009) and 94% (in 2010) of the interviewed academics reported that the study program attended provides all the necessary competencies required to become a good professional. The empirical findings were reported in Vlăsceanu et al. (2010, 2011).
For instance, within the ARACIS survey, only 27% (in 2010) of the interviewed employers reported having confidence in Romanian universities capacity of delivering graduates for the national labor market. Furthermore, 54% (in 2010) and 51% (in 2009) of the interviewed employers reported that they would rather hire candidates that had graduated before the implementation of the Bologna system, because they received a better education. The empirical findings were reported in Vlăsceanu et al. (2010, 2011).
For example, a qualitative in-depth interview based research study, supported by Digital-School – Academic Innovation and Success for Labor Market (an academic research project implemented by National School of Political and Administrative Studies, NSPAS Bucharest), revealed high levels of dissatisfaction among Romanian social science graduates, concerning the utility of their university learning experience in getting a job. The empirical findings are available on http://www.scoaladigitala.ro/, Romanian only. Accessed on 3rd September 2011.
By political elite we refer to the decision-makers, while by professional elite we refer especially to the evaluation expert panels of the ARACIS.
See the Governmental Decree no. 789/10th August 2011 on the Methodology for University Classification and Study Program Ranking, available on http://www.edu.ro/index.php/articles/c965/ (Romanian only). Retrieved on 3rd September 2011.
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Păunescu, M., Florian, B., Hâncean, GM. (2012). Internalizing Quality Assurance in Higher Education: Challenges of Transition in Enhancing the Institutional Responsibility for Quality. In: Curaj, A., Scott, P., Vlasceanu, L., Wilson, L. (eds) European Higher Education at the Crossroads. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-3937-6_18
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