International activities of NEAA
One of the main goals of this policy is to adopt methodically the “Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance across the EHEA”, considering the national traditions in the area of higher education. For this purpose the Accreditation Council has adopted a special document “Methodical guidelines for adopting Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance across the EHEA of ENQA and for applying them in the activity of the expert teams to NEAA”.
The international recognition of the NEAA as a competent public body in the European Educational Area and as a national body for external and internal evaluation of higher education in the Republic of Bulgaria has been legalized by the formal relations of the Agency with international institutions and organizations such as:
• Central and Eastern European Network of Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (CEEN), of which the National Evaluation and Accreditation Agency is a co-founder and of whose Management Council the Agency’s Chairman is a member;
• European Association of Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), of which NEAA is a full member in the period 2008-2013 and currently (since 24 April 2014) NEAA is a full member under review;
• European Quality Assurance Register (EQAR), where NEAA was registered in the period between 2008-2013 as the Agency operating on the territory of Bulgaria;
• Internal Quality Assurance Group of ENQA (NEAA has its representative in the group);
• European University Association (EUA), European Students Unions (ESU), European Network of Information Center - National Academic Recognition Information Centers (ENIC – NARIC).
NEAA has signed bilateral agreements with related foreign partner agencies:
- Agreement for cooperation with French National Evaluation Committee (CNE), now called AERES - Evaluation Agency for Research and Higher Education, Paris, France of 2006 which envisages establishment of common expert teams (one has already been set up), common research works, exchange of information and experts ;
- A framework agreement for cooperation in quality assurance was signed with the Romanian Agency for quality assurance in higher education (ARACIS); joint quality assurance process is in progress for evaluating doctor’s degrees at the Technical University in Sofia, Bulgaria and the Polytechnics of Bucharest, Romania, carried by a joint expert team;
- A framework agreement for cooperation in quality assurance was signed with the Agency for Development of Higher Education and Quality Assurance, Bosnia and Herzegovina towards establishing a cooperation platform to share information and good practices in areas as exchange of information, staff development, exchange of experts, joint researches, joint activities in quality assurance.
- An agreement with Commission des Titres d'Ingénieur (CTI), Neuilly sur Seine, France for a joint procedure for evaluation of programme accreditation of 5.13 General Engineering at the Francophone Faculty of the Technical Universty – Sofia by a joint expert team ;
- Agreement with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), USA, for appointing an expert from the NEAA as an external observer of the institutional accreditation procedure of the Amerian University in Bulgaria (15-18 October 2006).
NEAA cooperates and keeps active contacts with related foreign partner agencies:
- National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation of Spain, Madrid (ANECA);
- AQA, Austria;
- Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) in UK;
- French National Evaluation Committee (CNE)
- ARACIS, Romania
- Commission des Titres d'Ingénieur (CTI)
- NAA, Russia;
- Accreditation Agency for Higer Education of the Republic of Albania (AAHE);
- Agency for Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Croatia;
- HQAA, Greece;
- The Education Accreditation National Center of Georgia;
- CEEA, Cyprus;
- Estonian Accreditation Centre, Estonia;
- Finnish Higher Education Evaluation Council, Helsinki (FINHEEC);
- Center for Quality Assessment in Higher Education, Lithuania;
- Higher Education Office of the Republic of Slovenia;
- Agency for Development of Higher Education and Quality Assurance, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Board of Accreditation of the Higher Education of the Republic of Macedonia;
- NEASC, USA.
NEAA also cooperates and keeps active contacts with:
- British Council;
- CAMPUS – France;
- Alexander fon Humboldt Foundation;
- German Conference of Rectors;
- Education Reform Initiative of South Eastern Europe (ERI SEE);
- Ministry of Education and Youth of Moldova.
NEAA has hosted and been co-organizer of several significant international events such as:
- Conference “Institutional Еvaluation in the European Higher Education Area”, June 14, 2006, organized by the National Evaluation and Accreditation Agency with the kind support of the British Council-Bulgaria with the participation of Mr. Peter Williams – Chairman of ENQA and representatives of the agencies from South-East and West Europe;
- Conférence internationale “L`enseignement supérieur en Europe”, 08-09 Juin 2007, organisée par le Ministère de l’Education et de la science de la République de Bulgarie, l’Ambassade de France en Bulgarie, l’Agence Nationale d’Evaluation et d’Accréditation, le Conceil de Recteur et l’Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie ;
- ENQA seminar hosted by NEAA “Current Trends in the European Quality Assurance and the Situation in the SEE Region”, Sofia, Bulgaria, 09-10 November, 2007. Programme, List of participants;
- In 2010 NEAA will host the CEEN General Assembly meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria on 28 and 29 May 2010. Linked to this event will be a workshop "Quality Assurance in a changing world" celebrating the double anniversary of the EHEA and the CEE Network, with topics focusing on issues important for CEE Network members in the Bologna process.
Representatives of NEAA have participated in over 40 international forums for the last 5 years related to quality assurance of higher education and have given presentations on the activities of NEAA.
In order to enrich the contextual aspect of the criteria and procedures for external evaluation of quality of higher education with the experience of the European countries, the Accreditation Council attracts experts from abroad to participate in some of the procedures. The participation of international experts in the work of the expert teams in Bulgaria is highly appreciated.
In pursuance of the policy for partnership with the institutions concerned the Chairman of the Agency represents NEAA abroad and coordinates the relations and links with partner-agencies from abroad.
The above mentioned international contacts and agreements of NEAA constitute an important mechanism for external quality assurance enhancement either by an exchange of good practices with related European Institutions or by the opportunities to compare in practice the efficiency of the systems applied in different countries.