Quality Assurance Agency in Higher Education

Western Balkans Ministerial Conference: Quality and Quality Assurance in Higher Education – Trends and developments in the EU and Western Balkans

The Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of North Macedonia, in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Initiative for Educational Reforms of South-Eastern Europe (ERI SEE), with the participation of several ministers and other senior government officials, representatives of competent institutions, academics and experts from the Western Balkans and the European Union (EU) organized the conference "Quality and Quality Assurance in Higher Education - Trends and Developments in the EU and the Western Balkans", on September 26 and 27, 2023, in Skopje.

Over 80 participants in the conference discussed on this occasion the quality and quality assurance of higher education in the region and the steps to be taken for its growth.

"Education is a living thing that constantly changes in adaptation to numerous social and global factors and trends, so we must adapt the systems to these changes", said Mr. Jeton Shaqiri, Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of North Macedonia, in his opening speech.

The two-day event, divided into several panels, included presentations by high-level European experts, panel discussions with policymakers and representatives of key institutions competent for quality assurance in the Western Balkans, European and regional experts from academia, seminars, as well as study visits at "Kiril" and "Method" University as well as at the International University of the Balkans in Skopje.

Director of the Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education, Mrs. Xhiliola Bixheku, in the Second Panel, answered the questions on the challenges that this Agency has to face in the framework of the continuous work to raise the quality of higher education. Among others Mrs. Bixheku said: "Our biggest challenge remains membership in ENQA." This requires dedication and serious engagement in updating and raising the level of quality in accordance with European criteria and standards. Also, Mrs. Bixheku mentioned the cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Sports in the last 3 (three) years to complete and adapt the regulatory by-laws of ASCAL according to the requirements of ENQA.