Initial assessment of study programme groups
To open a study programme in a new study programme group, the institution of higher education submits an application to the Ministry of Education and Research (MER). The MER organises expert assessment of the application and the submitted data, involving the Estonian Higher Education Quality Agency (EKKA) in assessing the quality of studies.
For initial assessment of a study programme group the EKKA assesses:
- whether the qualification requirements of lecturers established by the educational institution and the qualifications of the lecturers involved in the studies are sufficient;
- whether the resources required to conduct the studies are sufficient; and
- whether the learning outcomes described are achievable with the study programme and whether the learning outcomes conform to the requirements of conducting studies at the level of higher education.
If foreign experts are involved in assessing an application, the EKKA informs the institution of higher education of the need to submit the documents in English.
The applicant bears the cost of expert assessment. The fees for expert assessment and the calculation of the expenses forming their basis are established in the regulation of the chairman of the management board of Archimedes Foundation ‘Fees for Expert Assessment of Quality of Studies’. As of 2013, the base rate is €6870.
Submission of data for initial assessment of study programme group
An application for the initial assessment of a study programme group must be submitted via the Estonian Education Information System (http://www.ehis.ee) at least nine months before the start of an academic year.
The following data must form part of the application (including in English, where necessary):
- the study programmes forming the basis of studies, incl. the goals and learning outcomes of the study programmes and a comparative analysis of the learning outcomes of the study programme and the standard of higher education (see the recommended template ‘Comparative analysis of learning outcomes of study programme and standard of higher education’);
- justification of the need to open the programme, including data concerning the target group and proposals of vocational and professional associations;
- the development plan of the institution of higher education;
- data concerning the lecturers involved in the studies (including dissertation instructors in the case of doctoral studies) and their qualifications: the name, position and qualifications of the lecturer; the subjects to be taught by them in the study programmes of the study programme group; an overview of the teaching or research work done by them at foreign universities in the last five years; and their most important publications and research and development projects from the last five years that support the studies in the study programme group being assessed;
- data concerning the study material necessary for teaching and research, investments and funding sources of studies (see the recommended templates ‘Study material and financial information of educational institution’ and ‘Data of infrastructure of study programme group’);
- information concerning the most important databases, ICT services, support structures and staff concerning the study programmes of the study programme group;
- an overview of the elimination of shortcomings highlighted in the previous assessment of the study programme group (if previously assessed) and the relevant action plan;
- in the case of an application to open doctoral studies, data concerning the positive evaluation of research activities in the field forming the basis of the studies;
- other data evidencing the quality of the study programme group or which the educational institution deems necessary to append to the application; and
- in the case of a joint study programme, data concerning the conformity of the programme to § 22.1 of the Universities Act and data concerning the conformity of the cooperation agreement of the programme to § 22.2 of the Universities Act.
Documents regulating the initial assessment of study programme groups
Guidelines for Initial Assessment of Study Programme Groups: please see EKKA -> Regulations -> Initial Assessment of Study Programme Groups
Study programme group initial assessment template: please see EKKA -> Guidelines and Useful Links for Experts
Initial assessment decisions
Initial assessment decisions – quality of tuition complies with the requirements / partial compliance / non-complianace – are adopted by the EKKA Quality Assessment Council for Higher Education. The decisions adopted by the Quality Assessment Council form the basis for the decision to be taken by the Minister for Education and Research on granting the right to conduct studies. The final decision on the right to conduct studies is adopted by the Government of the Republic of Estonia. The results are published in the Annex to the Standard of Higher Education.
The assessment reports, decisions by the EKKA Quality Assessment Council for Higher Education and the relevant decisions by the Minister for Education and Research can be consulted on the EKKA database.