A bimonthly publication of AQU Catalunya


March 2014


Accreditation: the maximum added value from the minimum amount of information

Programme accreditation is, without doubt, the greatest challenge facing the Agency this year and quite possibly in the years to come. Unlike validation, which an unusual process at international level and one where state regulation is detailed and complex, this is a process that exists around the world and is, in fact, the most important work that a quality assurance (QA) agency should carry out.

The accreditation process is based on a site visit to the educational facility (faculty), in which use is made of indicators and the evidence brought together in the self-assessment report plus the information provided in the different focus groups and interviews to verify that each degree programme is being delivered according to the conditions established at the time of validation. A favourable accreditation means that faculties can certify the degree qualifications of graduates (Bachelor awards, as well doctorate degrees for those completing PhDs) for a period of six years, and in the case of those completing Master's degrees, for four years. This slight difference of two years, established by Spanish lawmakers, will make it difficult for the Agency to easily establish a regular timetable for site visits to faculties where Bachelor's and Master's programmes are organised simultaneously, which happens to be the majority of those in the university system.



  • The Ocupadors/Employers survey: what it is and why we need it
    The purpose of the Ocupadors/Employers survey (henceforth Employers survey) is for the universities to receive feedback from the labour market regarding university education with the aim of aligning the preparation and training that students receive at university with the needs of the labour market. The survey's ultimate aim is to develop policies for improving and enhancing higher education and the university system as a whole, in terms of both academic provision (for example, in the form of programme curricula that are more relevant for the labour market and improvements to the practical dimension of curricula) and institutional actions and services that facilitate the transition to the labour market.
    Anna Prades Nebot and Carme Edo Ros - Project managers
  • Accreditation and external site visits
    On 2 July 2010 the Board of Management of AQU Catalunya (Agència per a la Qualitat del Sistema Universitari de Catalunya) endorsed the Framework for the validation, monitoring, modification and accreditation of recognised degree programmes (VSMA Framework) , the aim of which was to establish the guidelines for these four processes and link them together in a coherent and logical way to provide for more effective management of the different review processes.
    Josep Manel Torres Solà - Coordinator of Quality Assessment department


  • University graduates and the labour market

    Jaume García Villar
    Professor of Applied Economics, Universitat Pompeu Fabra and president of the Scientific Committee for AQU Catalunya's employers project/survey

    Aside from the months of July and October in 2006, when it was surpassed by the issue of immigration, unemployment has been the number one problem for people in Spain since 1985, according to figures from the Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas. And in February of this year over 80% of those interviewed were of the opinion that unemployment is one of the three main problems, with a rate similar to that in 1985 and 1986, when it was over 20%.

    The evidence above should be no surprise, given that around six million people are unemployed in Spain, of which 800,000 live in Catalonia. It is clear that the economic and financial crisis of recent years has contributed to the rise of unemployment rate from 8.3% at the end of 2007 to 26% at the end of 2013, although it is also true that unemployment has affected different sectors of society in different ways.




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