Overview of QA System
Quality assurance and improvement in higher education are achieved through accreditation, self-evaluation and reaccreditation.
The accreditation process is the responsibility of the Agency for Control and Quality Assurance of Higher Education (Agency). The institution is obliged to submit to the Agency, at least six months before applying for a license, a request for accreditation of the study program. The process of accreditation of the study program evaluates the quality of the study program and its compliance with professional needs and standards adopted and comparability with the same or similar programs abroad, as well as the representation and credit evaluation of practical training. The accreditation of the study program is issued for a period of no more than five years. Exceptionally, accreditation for study programs lasting more than five years is granted for the duration of that study program. The Agency shall set up a committee for the accreditation of study programs. The Commission is formed of independent experts from Montenegro and abroad from the list of experts. The list of experts shall be determined by the Agency following a public invitation. The cost of accreditation of study programs is funded by the institution itself. The funds are paid to the Agency. The procedure for accreditation of study programs, the content and form of the accreditation certificate are prescribed by the Ministry of Education, upon the proposal of the Agency. In 2019, the Agency has accredited another 52 new programs at private higher education institutions, following the new 3 + 2 + 3 study model.
At the end of each academic year, an institution conducts a self-evaluation procedure related to quality of study programmes, teaching and working conditions, in compliance with statute of the institution. Within the procedure of self-evaluation student surveys concerning study programmes, teaching, conditions and work of academic staff are carried out at all levels, at least once a year. Participation of students in the survey is mandatory. The survey is anonymous. Self-evaluation reports of an institution are passed by the governing body of the institution. An institution submits a self-evaluation report to the Ministry of Education and Agency. Method and criteria of self-evaluation concerning study programmes, teaching equipment, qualifications of academic staff, teaching methods, enrolment of students, exam pass rate, percentage of graduate students and the content of survey are defined in more detail by act of the Agency.
The institution's self-evaluation is carried out on a continuous basis and is conducted by the higher education institution in accordance with its statute (internal evaluation). In the process of self-evaluation, students are interviewed at all levels, at least once a year, about study programs, teaching, conditions and work of academic staff. The internal evaluation report is an integral part of the re-accreditation. Also, the research on the applicability of acquired knowledge and competences in the labor market is obliged to conduct the institution once every five years, and the findings are considered during the preparation of the self-evaluation report.
Reaccreditation of Institution
Reaccreditation of institution is carried out by the Agency. Reaccreditation of institution is carried out every five years. The Agency conducts the evaluation of institution on the basis of evaluation standards for institutions, in compliance with Law on Higher Education. Within the reaccreditation procedure, an institution prepares a self-evaluation report covering the period not longer than five years. Based on the self-evaluation report and the conducted evaluation procedure the Commission for reaccreditation, appointed by the Agency, prepares a reaccreditation report for the institution. The reaccreditation report is submitted to the Agency, the institution and the Ministry of Education. Based on the positive reaccreditation report of the Commission, the Agency issues a certificate on reaccreditation of the institution. The form of the certificate is prescribed by the Ministry of Education and published by its website. Evaluation costs are covered by the institution.
If an institution fails to obtain a reaccreditation certificate, the license is valid maximum one year, without the possibility to enroll students during that year. If an institution fails to obtain a reaccreditation certificate after this period the Ministry shall by means of a decision revoke the license granted to the institution. An administrative procedure may be initiated against this decision.
During the validity period of accreditation or reaccreditation, a licensed institution can make alterations in study a programme at undergraduate level up to maximum 30 ECTS credits without undergoing accreditation and licensing procedure.
An institution carries out labour market research at least once in five years by conducting survey among graduate students, associations of employers, commercial entities and entrepreneurs concerning the applicability of the obtained knowledge, skills and competences required in the labor market. The results of the research are considered on the occasion of preparing self-evaluation and reaccreditation reports, and shall be published on the website of the institution.
Institution reaccreditation is a process based on the Institution's external evaluation report and its study programs in accordance with the prescribed standards for institution reaccreditation. The re-accreditation process is implemented through the following stages:
- The institution shall apply for accreditation of the institution with a report on selfevaluation and other supporting documents.
- The Agency shall delegate a procedure coordinator from among the staff of the Agency.
- The coordinator checks the formal fulfillment and timeliness of the reaccreditation request and supporting documents.
- After establishing that the material is complete, the Director of the Agency shall form an expert committee that will evaluate the reaccreditation request with at least fivemembers that include the student as compulsory and the representative of the economy as the required member.
- The Commission, on the basis of standards and criteria for the reacreditation of the institution, documentation and visits to the institution, evaluates the request for reaccreditation and sends to the Agency a report with an reaccreditation position.
- The Agency shall send the report to the institution for its opinion;
- The Commission shall, in accordance with the justification of the opinion of the institution, submit to the Agency a final reaccreditation report with an reaccreditation position.
- The Director of the Agency shall decide on the request for reaccreditation of the institution based on the reaccreditation report.
- The Agency shall notify the institution of the decision on reaccreditation and publish the report and decision on the website.
- The Agency shall issue a certificate for reaccreditation of the institution.
The establishment of higher education institutions and the licensing process are regulated by the Law on Higher Education. An institution can perform its activity and admit students after the Ministry identifies that the institution has met the requirements prescribed by this Law and renders a decision on licensing. The license determines the type of institution, accredited study programmes, maximum number of students that can be admitted to certain study programmes, levels of education and degrees that can be obtained at the institution. The decision on licensing is passed by the Ministry of Education and published in the Official Gazette of Montenegro.
Licensing procedure is performed in accordance with the Rulebook on more detailed Conditions for the Establishment, Performance of Activities, Licensing Procedure and the Manner of Keeping a Register of Higher Education Institutions
Within the Project "Higher Education and Research for Innovation and Competitiveness" financed by the World Bank loan, an external evaluation of all higher education institutions in Montenegro was carried out by the experts of the European Association of Universities - EUA in 2014. The external evaluation reports of the individual higher education institutions as well as integrated report of higher education system quality are available on the official EUA IEP website.
(Source: Eurydice, page updated 30 December, 2019)