Education Ministry Signs Quality Assurance Agreement with Accreditation Agency NVAO

(L-R) Claude Meisch, Minister of Higher Education and Research; Wouter Duyck, Vice-president of the Dutch-Flemish agency NVAO; Credit: MESR

On Monday 28 February 2022, Luxembourg’s Minister of Higher Education and Research, Claude Meisch, signed a framework agreement, during an online ceremony, with Wouter Duyck, vice-president of the Dutch-Flemish agency NVAO (Nederlands-Vlaamse Accreditatieorganisatie), an accreditation agency in charge of quality assurance of higher education courses in the Netherlands and the Flemish Region of Belgium.

The NVAO agency, which is active on an international scale, has already collaborated with the Luxembourg authorities on several occasions in the past, particularly within the framework of joint accreditation procedures for private higher education establishments and their programmes, as well as than in the recent context of the external evaluation of the University of Luxembourg (2021).

With the framework agreement signed, the two parties undertake to work together with a view to establishing, in a progressive approach, a consolidated and coherent quality assurance system applicable to all diploma training, public or private, within the scope of the higher education, issued under the seal of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. This new quality assurance system, reworked in a holistic way, will then be anchored in the revised legal framework relating to higher education as provided for by the government programme for 2018-2023.

“ Education can only fulfill its purpose if it meets the highest possible qualitative requirements. This objective is to make our children and young people independent, critical, but also formally competent citizens. The quality of education must be ensured at all levels, therefore also at the level of higher education. Thus the framework agreement that we signed today and which is accompanied by a first action plan for the next ten months, will allow us in particular to strengthen the consistency between the quality criteria for all higher education in Luxembourg and thus guarantee its quality ”, said Minister Meisch, during the signing ceremony. “ The agreed planning, which I welcome, is certainly very ambitious, but I have no doubts that it will be successfully implemented.”

For his part, Wouter Duyck, explained: “ Our agency has great international expertise and is one of the initiators of the European approach for the quality assurance of joint programmes, of the European framework for quality assurance of European universities and the mutual recognition of diplomas. This innovative position has not gone unnoticed. We are proud that Luxembourg has chosen us as a privileged partner. We can thus share our experiences and help build a consolidated quality assurance system for higher education in Luxembourg. NVAO’s cooperation with Luxembourg will also help us reflect on the methodological evolution of the quality assurance system in our own jurisdiction. Strengthening this cooperation within the Benelux is part of our quest for quality assurance without borders within the framework of a coherent European policy that facilitates international mobility.”

The choice of the agency with which the Ministry of Higher Education and Research has decided to collaborate in a consolidated way for the evaluation of the higher education offer in Luxembourg is indeed based on a long history of collaboration Benelux countries, particularly in the field of mutual recognition of diplomas (Benelux Decisions of 18 May 2015 and 25 January 2018; multilateral treaty on the automatic mutual recognition of higher education diploma levels between the Benelux countries and the Baltic States of 14 September 2021). In addition, the three countries cooperate at other levels, notably technical, such as within the framework of international working groups such as the Bologna Process Follow-up Group

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