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About the project

Introduction into the content


The project is directed at analysing the quality assurance systems in professionally oriented higher education in five EU countries, in particular with regard to the involvement of labour market actors and factors in the quality assurance process. The project idea was inspired by the Bologna declaration, which had two focal points:

a)      the restructuring of higher education in Europe into a two tier system, in which the first degree cycle would prepare students for the labour market, and

b)   the emphasis of quality assurance as the most important mechanism to enhance transparency of higher education degrees, in order to contribute to increasing possibilities for graduates to mobility on the European labour market.


The main objective of the project is to provide in depth information about quality assurance in professional first degree programmes, because this in particular is the education level and sector, which is concerned by the aforementioned two focal points of the Bologna declaration.

The project has resulted in an in depth analysis of the developments and current situation with regard to quality assurance in professionally oriented higher education in the five countries which were selected according to the criterion: a unitary or a binary system of higher education. These analyses have been laid down in an extensive report for each country. Each report gives information about the following topics and is based on the following research activities:

- analysis of the origins and history of professionally oriented higher education  (documentary study)

- analysis of the history of the quality assurance (documentary study, interviews)

- analysis of the quality assurance structure and procedures (documentary study, interviews)

- analysis of the involvement of labour market (f)actors in quality assurance (documentary study,  interviews, case studies (including documentary study, interviews with various stakeholders)

- analysis of employers opinions about professional higher education and quality assurance (interviews, survey research)

Each country report results in considerations and conclusions of the national researchers with regard to the research topic.


The national research results are input for the comparative European analysis with regard to the same research topics. This comparative analysis makes clear that quality assurance in higher education in the countries involved, is in motion continuously and that the developments in the quality assurance structures and regulations in these countries, superficially observed, seem to be converging. In reality, however, the national structures and regulations as well as their implementation in practice are quite different. It also has become apparent from the comparative analysis that the involvement of labour market (f)actors in quality assurance in these countries varies strongly. Anyway much work has to be done to attain a real transparent European Higher Education Area.  


The research project is the first international comparative study ever into the relationship between professional oriented higher education and labour market (f)actors, from a viewpoint of involvement of the latter in quality assurance in (professional) higher education. The results provide new, international comparative insights in this relationship, which can be utilised in the on going discussions at national and also the international (Bologna, Prague, Berlin, Bergen) level in the frame of the realisation of the European Higher Education Area.