FEDE QUALITY CHARTER

FEDE QUALITY CHARTER

This Quality Charter, adopted by decision of the FEDE General Assembly of 23 April 2010, obliges all FEDE member institutions to strive to meet and respect the following quality requirements and to accept any help proposed by the FEDE in order to do so.

All students enrolled in programmes at FEDE member institutions must be confident in the quality of their programmes of studies and their institution’s focus on developing their professional skills in a European context.

To this end, the FEDE has adopted a modified version of the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area, ENQA (European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education), 2007, Helsinki, 2nd edition.

The FEDE delegates the implementation of its teaching guidelines to its member institutions It may at any time suspend this delegation where there exists a serious reason for doing so. For any grave or serious reason, the FEDE may also, having first informed an institution of the grounds for grievance and allowed its representatives to express themselves, withdraw the delegation granted to the institution.

An institution that loses its member status thereby also loses the delegation conferred on it to implement FEDE programmes. Should a member institution lose its membership status for any reason (bankruptcy, closure of the institution, suspension of the delegation conferred on it to implement FEDE programmes), the institution’s students may enrol in their programme’s examinations directly through the FEDE as independent candidates.

Any member institution preparing students for FEDE qualifications must adhere to the following quality management principles.

QUALITY MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES

1. Quality management policy and procedures

Standard

Institutions must have a policy and associated procedures for managing the quality and the level of their educational programmes and the qualifications for which they prepare their students. Institutions must also explicitly commit themselves to providing an institutional culture in which the importance of quality and quality management are recognised. In order to do this, institutions must implement and develop a continuous quality-improvement strategy. The strategy, policy and procedures must be extensively advertised to all stakeholders (teachers, students, partners, professionals, educational services etc.).

Guidelines

Official institutional policies and procedures provide a framework within which higher educational institutions may develop and measure the efficacy of their quality-management systems. They also enhance the public’s trust in independent institutions. Policies include declarations of intent and the chief means of achieving a defined goal. A procedural guide can provide more detailed information on how to implement the policy and useful benchmarks for those seeking to understand the practical aspects of implementing the procedures.

The policy declaration must include statements concerning:

  • the connection between teaching and educational research within the institution;
  • the institution’s strategy in terms of quality and standards;
  • the organisation of the institution’s quality-management system;
  • the specific responsibilities of each actor and service with regard to quality management;
  • the role played by students in terms of quality management;
  • the means whereby the policy is implemented, monitored and evaluated.

The existence of the European Higher Education Area hinges on: the commitment of institutions at all levels to ensuring that their programmes offer clear and explicit educational objectives; the desire and ability of staff to provide students with teaching and support enabling them to achieve the results they seek; and total, explicit and timely recognition of staff who have demonstrated excellence, expertise and commitment. All higher educational institutions should aim to develop and improve the teaching they offer their students.

2. Approval, review and periodic revision of programmes and qualifications

Standard

The FEDE has put in place formal mechanisms for periodically examining and revising the teaching guidelines and qualifications it offers.

For the purposes of this document, the term ‘teacher’ refers broadly to any person entrusted with a teaching assignment and may include teachers providing lessons within a higher educational programme and instructors, teachers or speakers providing vocational or professional training; the term ‘student’ refers to any learner enrolled in a higher education or vocational/professional course.

Guidelines

The trust of students and other higher educational stakeholders will be attained and maintained all the better if an institution implements effective quality-management mechanisms that ensure its programmes are well designed and regularly reviewed and revised and are therefore truly reliable and relevant.

The quality management of programmes and qualifications should usually include:

  • the drawing up and publication of explicit educational objectives;
  • close attention to the design and content of programmes;
  • consideration of the specific needs of different types of course (for example, initial higher education, continuing education, distance learning, online study) and different types of institution (university, technical, vocational);
  • the provision of adequate learning resources;
  • monitoring of students’ progress and achievements;
  • regular, periodic evaluation of programmes (to involve the participation of external parties);
  • regular feedback from recruiters, job-market representatives and other appropriate parties);
  • involvement of students in quality management activities.

3. Student assessment

Standard

Students must be assessed on the basis of published criteria, rules and procedures that are systematically and consistently applied.

Guidelines

The assessment of students is one of the most important aspects of higher education. The results obtained during assessments will have a decisive effect on the future careers of students. It is therefore important that interim assessments be conducted and this in a professional manner on all occasions, taking into account developments in testing and assessment procedures. Assessment also provides institutions with useful information on the efficacy of their teaching and learning resources.

The assessment of students should usually:

  • be designed to measure the extent to which educational and other programme objectives have been achieved;
  • be appropriate to the goal of the assessment, be it to check students’ knowledge so far, obtain interim test results or conduct a mock examination;
  • be based on clear and published marking criteria;
  • where possible, not be based on the evaluation of only one examiner;
  • take into account all the possible consequences of the examination rules;
  • be accompanied by clear rules concerning student absences, illness and other cases of force majeure;
  • be such that interim assessments and mock examinations are organised in strict conformity with the rules of the institution;
  • be subject to administrative checks to ensure that procedures are respected.

4. Quality management of teaching staff

Standard

Institutions must have procedures for ensuring the quality and skills of their teachers and instructors. These procedures must be available for external checks and audits and should be discussed in assessment reports.

Guidelines

Teachers and instructors are students’ chief learning resources. It is important that they have a perfect knowledge and understanding of the subjects they teach, that they possess the skills and experience necessary to convey their knowledge to their students, and that they benefit from feedback on the quality of their teaching.

Institutions must guarantee that their recruitment and appointment procedures include procedures for ensuring that newly recruited personnel possess the necessary skills to an adequate level. Teaching staff should be given the possibility to improve and develop their skills and must be encouraged to use and make the most of their talents and skills. Institutions must offer their teachers and instructors opportunities for development. In order to cultivate the knowledge and skills of teachers, the FEDE regularly offers training courses, tools and pedagogical guidance.

5. Learning tools and student support

Standard

Institutions must ensure that the funds allocated to teaching tools and student support are adequate and appropriate to each programme offered.

Guidelines

In addition to teachers and instructors, students also require a certain number of teaching resources to aid their learning. These include everything from material resources, such as libraries and computers, to human resources, such as tutors, careers advisors and other support staff.

Learning tools and other forms of support must be readily accessible to students, designed in line with students needs and adjusted according to user feedback. Institutions must regularly monitor and improve the efficacy of the student support services they offer.

6. Information systems

Standard

Institutions must ensure that they collect, analyse and use the data necessary to effectively manage their educational programmes and other activities.

Guidelines

It is important that institutions have the means to collect and analyse data on their activities since without such data they will be unable to identify what is working well and what requires attention or to assess the outcomes of innovative measures. The nature of the quality-information system required by an institution depends, to some extent, on local conditions; however, each institution’s system must at least cover the following aspects:

  • student progress and pass rates;
  • graduate job prospects;
  • students’ satisfaction with the programmes;
  • the efficacy of teachers;
  • statistics describing the student population;
  • learning resources available and their cost;
  • institution-specific performance indicators.

It may also be useful for institutions to compare themselves to similar institutions within the European Higher Education Area so as to better assess their performance and shortcomings and find ways to improve.

7. Public information

Standard

Institutions must regularly publish up-to-date, impartial and objective quantitative and qualitative information on the programmes and qualifications they offer.

Guidelines

In providing services to the public, higher educational institutions are responsible for providing students with information on the programmes they offer, the course learning objectives, the qualifications issued, the type of teaching, the learning and assessment methods employed and the course catalogue.

The information provided must also include the opinions and career destinations, by sector, of the institution’s previous students and statistics on the current student population. Information provided must be precise, impartial, objective, readily accessible and not used simply for promotional purposes. Institutions must ensure they meet their own expectations while remaining impartial and objective.

PROVISIONS ADOPTED CONCERNING QUALITY MANAGEMENT AND THE OBLIGATIONS OF MEMBER INSTITUTIONS

Quality-management policy and procedures

Institutions must produce a policy serving as a clear reference for its entire educational community (including both staff and students).

The policy must clearly set out three distinct staff roles:

1. Policy and procedures for quality management

  • 1.1 – Institution Manager: managers of educational institutions are education professionals. The Manager must carry out his/her activities with due respect for ethics, professional conventions and all relevant laws.
  • 1.2 – FEDE Contact Person: each institution must designate, for each academic year, a contact person to act as an intermediary between the FEDE, the institution and the institution’s students. The Contact Person is in charge of managing the registration of students for FEDE examinations, transmitting information provided by the FEDE to the appropriate persons and, where necessary, practical testing arrangements.
  • 1.3 – Director of Education: each institution must appoint a Director of Education to supervise the organisation of courses preparing students for FEDE examinations and overseeing the implementation of these courses – namely: establishing student progress expectations, updating timetables and providing students and teachers with information as required. The Director of Education is the go-to person for educational queries and must have significant educational experience.

2. Approval, review and periodic revision of programmes and qualifications

Because they belong to the FEDE, the educational programmes offered by member institutions comply with the standards and recommendations published by the European Union and the Council of Europe. FEDE programmes are educationally relevant, coherent and based on professional know-how; they are regularly revised and updated.

In preparing students for FEDE examinations, institutions must comply with all compulsory procedures relating to the programmes, teaching time, and general and specific rules. Institutions are responsible for improving programme quality and quality management.

3. Student assessment

The institution commits, at the beginning of the programme, to provide students with all the necessary information concerning not only the programme but also the examination procedures to be undergone in order to obtain the FEDE qualification.

During the programme the institution must organise a test to assess to what extent the programme objectives have been met. The test procedures and assessment criteria must be clear and communicated to both examiners and students.

The test must also serve as an indicator of the efficacy of the teaching and learning resources provided.

4. Quality management of teaching staff

Teachers and instructors must have qualifications of a level sufficient to ensure the quality of their teaching; this includes not only their initial and continuing education but also their experience in a given subject area and as teachers. Teachers and instructors must either have a qualification whose level exceeds by at least one or two years that of the qualification they are to teach or else five years of experience in the profession targeted by the programme.

When recruiting staff, institutions must check that new teachers possess the necessary skills. The institution must also allow teachers to seek continuing professional advancement by following the teacher to attend the training courses on offer.

5. Learning tools and student support

Institutions are to encourage the development of a study environment such that will contribute to the quality of the programme thanks to appropriate buildings and equipment and appropriate and readily accessible learning resources such as a library, IT and audiovisual equipment and, where relevant, laboratories.

With regard to higher vocational education and job skills training, each institution commits to:

  • assist students searching for an internship;
  • set out the conditions and procedures for workplace internships in an official three-party agreement;
  • emphasise the experience acquired by students during their workplace internship during programme during assessment;
  • encourage relationships with businesses so as to improve graduates’ job prospects.

6. Information systems

Institutions must put in place an information system allowing them to be aware of and better manage:

  • student progress and pass rates;
  • student satisfaction with the programme;
  • information concerning each teacher and the efficacy of the teaching;
  • statistics on the student population;
  • graduate destinations: data enabling the institution to check that its programmes correspond to job market needs; institutions should continuously monitor the career destinations of its graduates and must communicate this information to the FEDE.

The FEDE Contact Person is responsible for managing this information system.

7. Public information

Institutions are responsible for:

  • clearly displaying their FEDE membership;
  • providing up-to-date information on the programmes they offer, the qualifications they issue, teaching, and learning and assessments methods;
  • publishing information on the career/study destinations of their alumni and alumni feedback.