A snapshot of quality in public higher education institutions


QQI has published a new report on quality assurance and enhancement within public higher education institutions as part of its Insights series. The report is based on a synthesis of the annual quality reports (AQR) submitted by public HEIs and the NUI in 2021.

The report’s findings relate to quality assurance initiatives and enhancement activities and reveals the commitment of the public higher education sector to quality assurance and its enhancement and to the learner-centred approach of QA activities.

Summary Themes

The report identifies several contextual and institution specific topics and themes arising across the AQR impacting on internal quality assurance systems (IQA) and IQA enhancement during the reporting period.  The ubiquitous theme arising was the public-health restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic and the significant and unprecedented challenges arising for internal QA systems in all HEIs.  In the response of institutions, the AQRs evidence a culture of supporting learners and staff, and a commitment to quality of teaching, learning and assessment activities and outcomes. The financial impact on institutions and loss of income streams resulting from the pandemic was also highlighted.

This Insight report provides insight into QA innovations and practices across a wide range of themes in the institutions,  including;  European universities and other international collaborations, in  governance and management of quality,  initiatives in implementing UN sustainable development goals, activities to support academic integrity, quality enhancements in teaching, learning and assessment, initiatives in student wellbeing and support, enhancements to information and data management, communication and community engagement , engagement with professional bodies, and quality assurance of research activities and programmes.

The Insights report includes examples from institutions, and a separate publication of case studies from both the public and private HEIs will be available shortly.


The AQR is part of QQI’s quality assurance framework for higher education institutions. It is submitted and published annually and provides evidence of the implementation and monitoring of internal quality assurance.   This is the fifth synthesis on quality in Irish public higher education to be published by QQI, and provides Insights into the main topics and themes arising across the suite of AQRs submitted in 2021 by the 20 publicly regulated HEIs and the National University of Ireland (NUI).