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A Hungarian perspective on accreditation Impacts o f … and on …. Prof. György BAZSA, President Hungarian Accreditation Committee (HAC) ASEE Global Colloquium „Cultures, Markets and Regulations: Shaping Global Engineering Education” Budapest, 14 October 2009.

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A Hungarian perspective on accreditation

Impacts of … and on …

Prof. György BAZSA, President

Hungarian Accreditation Committee (HAC)

ASEE Global Colloquium

„Cultures, Markets and Regulations: Shaping Global Engineering Education”

Budapest, 14 October 2009


Hungary and Hungarian Higher Education (HHE)

Population: 10 million

HE enrollment: before 1990 < 10% of age group

at present ~ 40 % of age group

HE Students total: ~ 400.000 (half state funded)

Legal background: HE Law in 1993 and 2005

HE Institutions: ~7 HEI/ 1 million inhabits


System of training programs

Before 2005: parallel system of programs in

- college (practice oriented), 3-4 y.

- university (research oriented), 5-6 y.

Since 2005 (sequence 3 cycle Bologna system):

- Bachelor – 180/210 credits, 3-3,5 y.

- Master – 90/120 credits, 2 y

- long masters: 300 credits (med, law)

- PhD – 180 credits, 3+ years

Compulsory general changeover started in 2006. This loaded HHE and HAC enormously in last years.

Dr. univ. has a long tradition in Hungary. The present PhD form exists since 1993 at 25 universities.


Actors in Hungarian HE Quality

a) Government: HE Q policy, legal and financial conds.

b) HAC:external Q Evaluation and Accreditation

c) HEIs: key performers in quality of the „product”, responsible for internal Q Assurance

d) Faculty: determinesQ of teaching and research

e) Students: acceptsandreflectsQofteaching

f) Stakeholders: confirms/questions Q of HE graduates

g) Media: reports Q and prepares HE ranking

h) Europe +: Bologna, EHEA, ESG, ENQA: public Q + international Q labels + US NFCMEA


a)Government (Minister):

  • QA and accreditation is part of state HE policy. (No exceptions unlike at neighbors.)
  • Hungary signed Bologna declaration
  • QUALITY AWARD for HEI QA activity
  • After strong expansion (fourfold increase if student number in a decade) the main issue is now: quality!
  • Impact
  • Hungarian HE community accepts the need and benefit of QA and accreditation.
  • HEIs run QA systems and processes ordered by law.
  • State financing is not connected to QA and Accred.
  • Quality issue in general is now a part of society.


  • Independent, mainly academic board, funded by Parliament (stakeholders spots).
  • 29 members (formally appointed by PM), majority delegated by Rector’s Conference and HAS; secretly elected president, committees, experts .
  • Its resolutions are „expert opinions”, legal decisions come effective through ministe(rial organs).
  • There is an independent HAC appeal board.
  • HAC is a European QA player, charter member of ENQA (European Association for QA in HE), its membership affirmed twice with external reviews.
  • HAC accepted and applies ESG in all respects.


  • HAC is the only accreditation body in Hungarian HE, all HEIs have to apply for external QA and accreditation in different affairs.
  • HHEI-s take part in international Q label providing actions, like e.g. EUR-ACE, QUESTE-VET, EuroInf, EPAS, etc. by there own initiatives (and costs).
  • HAC has functions in external and in internal QA.
  • HAC raises public conditions and quality norms in evaluation and accreditation.
  • HAC activity and decisions are public:


  • HAC is strengthening its international relations and actions in QA activity permanently with different actions and co-operations. HAC has an active International Advisory Board.
  • HAC has to move from input to output evaluation. (Note! Filtering out a program at input is less painful than exclusion during the process.)
  • HAC wishes institutions at accreditation to show their values and results instead of fearing a critical evaluation. More self-awareness if it’s real!
  • HAC has its own QA mechanism.

A unique impact:parallel accreditation of all doctoral schools (PhD programs) in Hungary.

  • a new, full and living electronic database, with free access, covering all of the 25 Hungarian universities: (Information for students!)
  • ex post evaluation of ~170 existing (old) and
  • ex ante evaluation of ~20 new doctoral schools, as frame of the 3rd cycle of Bologna system, including
    • documents of function, structure, teaching and research plan, coherency, program of QA,
    • homepages,
    • ~2200 core members individually by qualification, performance and relevancy to the school.

This evaluates quality of scientific production of HEI.


Processes(standards are published in advance):

  • Ex ante accreditations(input conditions):
    • written proposal submitted
    • 2 experts’ review (anonymous) →
    • disciplinary committees (15 members) →
    • resolution of HAC plenum
  • Ex post accreditation(during operation):
    • self-evaluation report (including C-SWOT) →
    • site visit by a visiting team (5-9 members, incl. student, QA specialist and stakeholder) →
    • draft of the accr. report of the visiting team →
    • comments of HEI →
    • resolution of HAC plenum

Impact of HAC on HEIs

  • HEIs consider in all affairs the quality norms and consequences of external evaluation: applications are prepared mainly carefully, except ~25%.
  • HAC conditions and norms are the same for all – state and non-state (but state recognized) – HEIs.
  • HAC has high quality norms in order to compensate the expansive ambitions of HEIs (state financing follows quantity of student number, not quality).
  • HAC evaluations results in requests and advice for QA systems and management of HEIs.
  • HAC as a strong quality safeguard reduces the responsibility of HEIs: HAC whishes to change it!

c)HEI quality management1 – 2 documents

  • HE Act: „The HEI operates an internal QA system.
  • The HEI prepares a quality development program.
  • It specifies the process of operation, like the execu-tionofmanagement, planning, control, measurement,assessment, and consumer protection related tasks,
  • regulates the rules pertaining to the evaluation oflecturer performance by the students.
  • The HEI annually revises the implementation of theprogram and
  • publishes its findings on the website.”
  • QA systems are developed, programs start formally.

HEI quality management2

  • ESG (Part 1)
  • 1.1 Policy and procedures for quality assurance ***
  • 1.2 Approval, monitoring and periodic review of programs and awards *
  • 1.3 Assessment of students *
  • 1.4 Quality assurance of teaching staff *
  • 1.5 Learning resources and student support **
  • 1.6 Information systems ***
  • 1.7 Public information ***
  • HEIs begin to follow ESG standards, HAC requires it.

HE quality management3

  • An institutional answer (Quality Awarded HEI)
    • University and QA management
    • Mission of HEI
    • Human resources
    • Inside and outside sources, partners
    • Processes of QA
    • Satisfaction of students and employers
    • Satisfaction of faculty and staff
    • Social impact
    • Important results

Impact in HEIs

  • University was traditionally an institution of excel-lence, with quality based selection of professors and students (Nobel-laureates with Hungarian HE roots: Lénárd, Zsigmondy, Bárány, Szent-Györgyi, Hevesy, Békésy, Wigner, Gábor, Oláh, Harsányi).
  • Mass education age requires systematic QA.
  • QA system should exist in all HEIs: committees, bylaws, standards, development programs etc.
  • Regular self evaluation, incl. C-SWOT analysis
  • The impact of all these is very diversified: quantity beats quality if interest is stronger than values.
  • A broadly and deeply effective quality culture is not yet common although is improving.


  • In most cases selected on meritocracy principle, vs. HHE salary conditions.
  • Quality based mentality dominates, organized QA is slowly accepted. Formal and alibi Q actions hurt.
  • Realizes: Q is a winning factor in all competitions.
  • Student evaluation of teaching is in progress, its consequences are still moderate.
  • Methods of earlier elite education must be replaced by mass education procedures.
  • Student centered learning gradually replaces knowledge based teaching.


  • Quality, in principle, is their strong interest.
  • Quality of teaching can be achieved only with their active participation.
  • At mass education students’ motivation, participation and quality varies on a broad scale: from excellent performance to leisure school-days.
  • Empowering required: students should influence their own transformation
  • Credits (ECTS) are used and misused
  • Student associations in most cases are partners in QA actions.

f)Stakeholders (employers, labor market):

  • 4 HAC members represent stakeholders.
  • HAC has a Stakeholders Advisory Board.
  • They demand general skills, like being motivated, team working, critical thinking, management and IT skills, foreign languages, ready learn to adopt etc.
  • Labor Market moderately acknowledges Q of individual degrees, Q of HEI has bigger influence.
  • Reputation of HEI and salaries (incomes) strongly influence pupils interest in choosing study programs.
  • Rising recognition of HE excellence from private. sector (awards, scholarships) stimulates Q in society


  • Shows reasonable balances between good news (Q, excellence) and bad news (scandals).
  • HAC has to manage its media-appearance much better.
  • Domestic ranking is now flourishing in Hungarian media too.
  • Every HEI likes to find and finds good ranking position to glaze and advertise itself.
  • Ranking, despite distortions, have more popular appeal than the accurate hard work of quality agencies.

h)Europe +

  • Hungarian HE is traditionally a European HE, pioneer in several cases (Selmecbánya, Georgikon).
  • Hungary signed Bologna in 1999. Next Bologna meeting (2010) takes place in Budapest/Vienna.
  • Hungary takes part in creation of the European Higher Education Area (+ European Research Area).
  • ESG effects Hungarian QA policy and practice.
  • ENQA membership has significant importance.
  • US National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation accredits through HAC.
  • All these influence positively Q in HHEIs.

The Hungarian perspective of accreditation:

(„I have a dream!”)

internal program accreditation

(instead of external ones) based on

by HAC accredited QA of HEI.

It requires a new and severe quality cultureinside institutions, where - common values meet particular interests,

- social and individual goals converge,

- high quality is favored against mass quantity.


QA vs. QP:

QA isn’t an art for art sake: the main aim of QA is good Quality Product: - high class graduates, - excellent science and innovation, - efficient local/social services.