Mid-term Report Card on Higher Education Quality Assurance


​​​​​​A key function for QQI is to organise and oversee independent quality reviews of each of Ireland’s public higher education institutions.  We are currently mid-way through the current review cycle, CINNTE, which runs from 2017 to 2023.

An independent mid-cycle review commissioned by QQI has found that all seven institutions reviewed between 2018 and 2020 have established and implemented quality assurance (QA) arrangements based on effective governance structures. 

​Conducted by Dr Achim Hopbach, a former Managing Director of AQ Austria and the German Accreditation Council, and former president of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), the report identified and analysed key themes and topics arising within the CINNTE institutional review reports. 

This revealed that the reviewed institutions: 

  • made good use of the cyclical review process to enable sound self-evaluations, involving a broad range of internal and external stakeholders, 
  • have implemented effective quality assurance arrangements that comply with the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) and take into account QQI Statutory Quality Assurance Guidelines, 
  • established and implemented quality assurance arrangements based on effective governance structures,
  • implemented access, transfer and progression policies and procedures and focus on widening participation in higher education,
  • place great importance on attracting international students and creating the roles and supports units to facilitate this.

As part of the CINNTE process, institutes of technology are subject to an extra review ojective about the governance and managment of their awarding procedures. The mid-term review found that all institutes had in place robust procedures to estasblish, maintain and review programmes of education and training, and the resulting awards.

The analysis also revealed three areas which are challenging for all the institutions reviewed to date: 

  • ensuring the efficiency of governance structures, particularly those below the governing authority, management committee and academic council levels, 
  • maintaining sets of policies or, at times, maintaining the overall quality assurance system
  • ensuring they implement quality assurance policies consistently across the institution. ​

While the CINNTE review approach includes teaching, learning, research and other activities, the author found that the reports focus mainly on teaching and learning - in particular, the learning experience.

You can read the full report​ here​.