Optimization of Quality Management in Central America - FIBAA informs Accreditation Agencies and Universities

The German Rectors´ Conference (HRK) invited Prof. Dr. Kerstin Fink, Managing Director of FIBAA, as sole representative of a German agency to participate in the Regional Workshop of Central American Higher Education Quality Evaluation and Accreditation Bodies. The conference took place in Panama City from the 4th till the 6th of September 2017. Prof. Dr. Fink held two highly praised lectures on "The German Experience of Collaboration with Foreign Quality and Certification Agencies" and "The Use of Qualifications Frameworks as a Reference for Higher Education Evaluation and Accreditation".

The presentations were attended by twelve regional accreditation agencies from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, representatives of the Consejo Superior Universitario Centroamericano (CSUCA), of the Panamanian Rector's Conference and representatives from all federal Panamanian Universities.

"It was exciting to see how concentrated all the participants were. I realized a great interest of the Central American University’s representatives in German and European quality management. This issue is a major challenge for the HEIs and the Central American accreditation systems, therefore, within the upcoming years there will be a lot of change in this field. I am delighted to support all Central American Universities in their endeavours with the help of my own, and the long lasting expertise of FIBAA," says Prof. Dr. Fink.

Beside Prof. Dr. Fink (in picture, right), Maria Kelo (in picture, left), Director of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), and Elizabeth Colucci (in picture, middle) of the European Universities Association (EUA) attended the conference.



Already in March 2017, a delegation from Central America visited FIBAA in Bonn.

BDA: education 2030

At the beginning of July 2017, the Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA), member of the FIBAA Foundation Council, and the Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft (sdw) hosted a conference on "Bildung 2030 im Blick". In their mission statement the BDA outlines a modern and future-oriented education system from the daycare center through school, training with vocational school, higher Education institutions to lifelong learning. Prof. Dr. Kerstin Fink, Managing Director of FIBAA, was invited to the conference, because FIBAA as quality assurance agency for HEIs makes an important contribution to this project. The conference focused on digitalization and demographic change. The question "What should our future look like and what do we have to do today?" was discussed with various representatives from different professional fields. Ingo Kramer, the president of the BDA and chairman of the sdw, is convinced: "Good education policy is not only the basis for economic success and social prosperity. It is also the most effective and sustainable social policy." FIBAA supports the BDA and sdw in their plans.



Recognition by EQAR

EQAR re-registered FIBAA for a further 5 years and expressed its confidence in the agency to continue its support for HEIs in Europe in the implementation of their quality strategies: "This shows once again that FIBAA is internationally recognized as a quality assurance agency. An important aspect of our work is our many years of experience and our extensive network of well-known experts, "says Prof. Dr. Kerstin Fink, FIBAA Managing Director.



APQN-Conference Moscow: New strong partners in Russia and Kazakhstan

In May 2017, Prof. Dr. Kerstin Fink, Managing Director of FIBAA, and Jana Bekker, Special Representative for International Relations, attended the annual international conference of the Asia-Pacific Quality Network (APQN) in Moscow. The conference, titled "New Horizons: Dissolving Boundaries for a Quality Region," attracted a total of 114 participants from 27 countries.




FIBAA, represented the European view on international quality assurance. Therefore, Professor Kerstin Fink, informed in her lecture "Accreditation of Joint Study Programs: from Obstacles to Solutions", about recent developments in the quality assurance of joint courses in the European Higher Education Sector. "Many questions and a lively discussion afterwards show me that there is great interest not only in this topic, but also in further exchange with our agency. This is a good basis for further cooperation and joint projects with representatives of this important region, "says Professor Kerstin Fink. The conference also provided the opportunity to meet with FIBAA's partner agencies IAAR (Kazakhstan), AKKORK (Russia) and NCPA (Russia). They supported this year's APQN conference in Moscow, which was organized at the highest level. Also new strong partners were gained.



Professor Kerstin Fink signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the internationally recognized certification company "Russian Register". "We are very pleased with the numerous active discussions with our existing, new and potential partners. Our cooperation and the related exchange of expertise is advantageous for our agency, HEIs in both our countries as well as the supraregional networking of Asia and Europe in the field of education quality, " says Jana Bekker and Professor Kerstin Fink.

ENQA: Quality assurance mandate

FIBAA has received renewal of its ENQA membership for another five years. "ENQA's renewal of of our membership is both a praise for our work as a quality assurance agency and a mandate to continue to secure and improve the quality standards of HEIs in Europe," says Prof. Dr. Kerstin Fink, Managing Director of FIBAA.

Visit from Lebanon - MoU signed

In May 2017 the president of the Lebanese Beirut Arab University (BAU) Prof. Dr. Amr Galal El-Adawi together with Prof. Dr. Ibithal El-Bastawissi, Faculty of Archictural Engineering Dean, Dr. Omar I. Houri, Secretary General, Prof. Mohamed Saad Raslan, Professor of Structural Engineering Dean for Academic Development and Quality visited FIBAA in BonnAlready during your visit to Lebanon at the beginning of the year on the occasion of the successful and outstanding accreditation of programmes of the Faculty of Law, Prof. Dr. Kerstin Fink, Managing Director of FIBAA, spoke about possible co-operation. These were now manifested in a Memorandum of Understanding.

In the future, FIBAA and BAU want to support each other in the Middle East and North Africa region.Lars Weber, Division Manager International, and Professor Fink are confident: "Now for FIBAA as well as for BAU a very exciting time starts. First, we are planning a joint workshop and an international conference in Beirut. The main topic of the events will be Critical Thinking with regard to Quality Assurance from the perspective of different stakeholders. I am looking forward to work more closely together, and I am sure that both FIBAA and BAU will benefit from the cooperation."

Press report of the Beirut Arab University



Successful re-registration of FIBAA in Kazakhstan

In its meeting on February 15th 2017, the Republican Accreditation Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan has again recognized FIBAA as an accreditation body in Kazakhstan. This was also confirmed by the Decree of the Ministry of Education and Science № 112 of March, 14th 2017. FIBAA is thus registered in Register 1 of the recognized accreditation agencies for another period of five years. Jana Bekker, FIBAA Special Representative: "Of course, we very much welcome this decision. FIBAA has been working successfully with higher education institutions in Kazakhstan for already five years. We are currently in charge of several accreditation procedures in Kazakhstan, and we are looking forward to supporting the HEIs in the Republic in quality assurance and quality development also in the future. I would like to thank all of my colleagues, who have accompanied the registration procedure." The managing director of FIBAA Prof. Dr. Kerstin Fink is very pleased about the re-accreditation in Kazakhstan as well as about a successful cooperation with the HEIs in the republic.

Bienvenidos a la FIBAA – HEI representatives from Central America visit Bonn

A delegation from Central America visited FIBAA in Bonn on 28th of March 2017. The HEI representatives came to Germany at the invitation of the HRK as part of the Central American  HICA programme. In addition to their visit at FIBAA, they also attended the Wissenschaftszentrum Bonn and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

In all, 29 HEI representatives from six different countries exchanged views on the various accreditation processes in an open atmosphere. Prof. Dr. Kerstin Fink, Managing Director of FIBAA, presented the German accreditation procedure, which attracted a lot of interest from the visitors. The HEI representatives noted many differences, such as the topic of financing. They had a lively discussion and the various systems were compared. All representatives agreed, however, that accreditation or quality audits of universities and study courses should be introduced as standard in their countries. Estefanía Guzmán, Project Manager at FIBAA; because of her Colombian heritage, supervised the guests. She summarized: "It was a very nice day with stimulating discussions, where the Latin and the German culture came closer!"

Prof. Dr. Kerstin Fink visits Lebanon — successfull Accreditation of three programmes

The Faculty of Law and Political Science of the Beirut Arab University (BAU), Lebanon, celebrated the recognition of the International Accreditation for its courses of BA, MA and PhD by the FIBAA. On the occasion of the handing over of certificates by the managing director of FIBAA, Prof. Dr. Fink, the HEI organized a ceremony dinner under the patronage of the President of the Council of Ministers H.E. Saad Hariri. Many prominent figures such as the Great Mufti of Lebanon Sheikh Abdul-Latif Derian, former Prime Ministers of the Republic, Ambassadors of the US, Algeria, Yemen, Iraq, Tunisia and Morocco as well as representatives of the Ambassadors of Indonesia and Palestine, were also invited.




All programmes were accredited without conditions. In her speech, Prof. Dr. Fink emphasized the high quality of the programmes. The FIBAA experts praised the international orientation of the courses, as well as qualified and dedicated teaching staff of the programmes, of which many have an international background . Prof. Dr. Fink also visited the Campus in Beirut as well as BAU Debbieh. Both buildings are at the forefront of technology and very modern. Top conditions for students and teachers. Another highlight is the new building of the HEI, with its spectacular auditorium. "I really appreciate the fact that FIBAA got this opportunity. The positive result of our evaluation has confirmed that the efforts of Beirut Arab University to meet European and international standards are remarkable, " stated Prof. Dr. Fink during her stay.

In order to gain an overall impression, Prof. Dr. Fink also visited the Director-General for Higher Education at the Ministry of Education, Prof. Ahmad Al-Jammal. He is very involved in the further development of the HEI sector in Lebanon and, therefore, anticipates the importance of accreditations in the future. Already in 2015 FIBAA successfully carried out programme accreditations at BAU. The President of the HEI appreciates FIBAA as an agency. He is convinced that accreditations are essential for the HEI´s international recognition, therefore, he is very interested in expanding the cooperation between FIBAA, BAU, the Middle East and North Africa.


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