Overview of QA System

In Kosovo*, the quality assurance framework in higher education follows the principles applied in the European Higher Education Area by applying standards which are consistent with ESG 2015. The process of accreditation is applied in Kosovo* which implies a formal recognition that the HEIs and their study programs meet the internationally accepted standards of quality and that their qualifications give the students a number of rights such as access to further education. The accreditation process is a mandatory process for all higher education institutions. Therefore, any degree is subject to an external review and accreditation decision. Students shall enrol only in accredited study programs in order for their diplomas to be recognized both in Kosovo* and abroad.

The main mechanism for quality assurance in Kosovo* is the Kosovo* Accreditation Agency (KAA) which is recognized by the Law on Higher Education. The KAA activity and decisions shall be independent and are not subject to any review by either the Ministry or the Government. Competences and responsibilities of the KAA are laid down in the Law on Higher Education No. 04/L-37, article 7, which stipulates that the KAA is an independent agency responsible for assessing and promoting the quality of higher education in Kosovo*. According to this La, the KAA is responsible for a number of activities, including evaluation, accreditation, monitoring and periodic control of institutions of higher education and their study programs in the territory of the Kosovo*.

Approaches and Methods for Quality Assurance

The KKA’s primary activities concern:

  • The accreditation of public and private institutions of higher education
  • The accreditation of new institutions of higher education and their programs (preliminary accreditation)
  • The accreditation of new programs at those institutions of higher education that are already accredited.

Besides the Administrative Instruction on Accreditation, which sets out the main procedures applied in an external review procedure, the Accreditation Manual stipulates the standards which should be met by the HEIs in order to gain accreditation. According to the Manual, the KK decisions for reaccreditation of study programs are made and apply separately for each geographical location (campuses/branches), form of delivery (full time/part time) and teaching language. These are considered distinct processes and are subject to separate submissions for accreditation to the KAA and each of them is expected to individually meet the minimum level of quality standards set out in the present manual.

All external quality assurance activities are carried out through an external review procedure which includes 4 steps: a self-assessment report by the HEIs, a site visit by the international team of experts, the decision y the SCQ and follow-up procedures of the KAA. Accreditation is a cyclic process which implies that every HEI should seek accreditation every three to five years, depending on the decision issued by the SCQ. According to article 15, paragraph 2, of the LHE, a provider of higher education seeking accreditation of the first time submits a request to the KAA at least a year before the expected date to obtain accreditation. Also, paragraph 2, stipulates that the reaccreditation of providers shall be carried out by the KAA at intervals of not more than five (5) years and the re-accreditation is not done without a review od the provider’s self-evaluation report, but in exceptional circumstances.

(Source: EACEA Overview of the Higher Education System, 2020, accessed November, 2021)