Agència per a la Qualitat del Sistema Universitari de Catalunya

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Common position of the AQU Board of Management regarding CORA Report

The Board of Management of AQU Catalunya, in its meeting of December 17, 2013, expressed its total disagreement with proposal measure 1.07.004, together with its specific objectives, proposed by the Commission on the Reform of Public Administration (CORA Report, November 2013).

With regard to the objective defined in the CORA Report that proposes the setting up of a "national (state) strategy in higher education quality assurance for the assessment of contract teaching staff and university degree programmes and awards", the Board of Management of AQU Catalunya believes that:

  • This represents a regression in autonomy for the universities as regards university degrees, and
  • It aims at putting the system of external review on an equal footing without taking into account the characteristics peculiar to each universitary system in the regional Autonomous Communities, which would thereby limit their development.

In the case of the second objective, "To bring together all QA competences into one agency, in a way similar to other European countries, to create a more uniform policy for quality assurance", the Board of Management of AQU Catalunya is of the opinion that:

  • It proposes changing the regional Autonomous Community-based model into a centralised model, in which the regional agencies are subordinate to the national agency without any thorough comparative analysis being made of the existing models and ignoring their dynamics, and
  • It puts forward either the elimination of the regional Autonomous Community QA agencies or their conversion into regional delegations, at the same time that these agencies have obtained a better qualification that the national agency in terms of compliance with the European standards and guidelines.

Lastly, as regards the aim to "Avoid any existing duplication in certain QA programmes and to optimise the cost of programme review with a more effective system that allows for lower costs", the Board of Management of AQU Catalunya believes that:

  • It calculates savings of the proposal measure on the basis of a calculation methodology that is unsound, arbitrary and based on a total lack of understanding of the structure and different functions carried out by the different regional Autonomous Community QA agencies, and
  • It overlooks the costs, and not just the economic costs, for a system that does not have an agency close at hand, together with those associated with a decrease in economic activity at local (regional) level.

In short, the Board of Management of AQU Catalunya considers that proposal measure 1.07.004 stems from certain intentions of the Spanish government that have nothing to do with quality enhancement of helping the universities to develop all of their potential so they can compete in a globalised world, or the search for effectiveness or economic efficiency, or the building of the EHEA.

PDF document Common position of the AQU Board of Management regarding CORA Report