TEAM II 2008-2010

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Transparent European Accreditation decisions & Mutual recognition agreements II (TEAM II)

In the London Communiqué mutual recognition of accreditation and quality assurance decisions, and a significant increase in the number of joint programmes are encouraged. The TEAM II project aims to combine both objectives and to take away accreditation and recognition barriers for joint programmes. It does so

  • (1) by facilitating single accreditation procedures for joint programmes, instead of the multiple procedures that currently have to be carried out separately in each country where the joint programme is provided;
  • (2) by analysing current cross-border recognition practises and
  • (3) by offering transparent information on the quality assessment and learning outcomes of joint programmes.


The European Ministers wrote in their London Communiqué (18 May 2007): “We acknowledge the progress made with regard to mutual recognition of accreditation and quality assurance decisions, and encourage continued international cooperation amongst quality assurance agencies.” and “[…] we will work to implement fully the agreed recognition tools and procedures and consider ways of further incentivising mobility for both staff and students. This includes encouraging a significant increase in the number of joint programmes and the creation of flexible curricula […].” There are currently 103 Erasmus Mundus Master’s programmes. This is however only a limited (but highly visible) portion of the joint programmes organised in Europe. All these programmes are confronted with national quality assurance and/or accreditation procedures. One programme therefore has to undergo several different, national procedures. These procedures then lead to decisions that only have an impact in one national higher education system. This is burdensome for the institutions, hampers the development of multilateral cooperations in higher education and hinders the creation of the European Higher Education Area. Furthermore, the recognition of a joint programme in one country doesn’t necessarily entail recognition in the other countries concerned. This then also leads to recognition problems regarding the qualification(s) awarded by the joint programme. Recognition authorities (ENIC/NARICs) have expressed their willingness to automatically recognise qualifications awarded by accredited programmes and/or institutions (Joint Declaration regarding the automatic recognition of qualifications ). One of their preconditions however is transparent information. In the case of joint programmes they require information on the quality assessment and the programme’s learning outcomes. ECA has developed Qrossroads. The information in Qrossroads is provided by the accreditation organisations. Currently, Qrossroads doesn’t provide information regarding learning outcomes. This means that ENIC/NARICs are still not fully provided with the information they need and request.


First objective

The first objective of the project is to develop a European methodology for quality assurance and accreditation procedures regarding joint programmes. Joint programmes apply for one single accreditation procedure replacing the different national procedures in the countries concerned, taking into account the totality of the joint programme. The assessment specifically includes the learning outcomes aimed for by the joint programme irrespective of the individual study pathways. By running pilot procedures and by publishing a methodological report, the project aims to provide the aforementioned European methodology with a view to the cross-border recognition of accreditation decisions regarding joint programmes.

Second objective

The second objective of the project is to explore the cross-border recognition of qualifications awarded by joint programmes. Recognition procedures regarding qualifications from joint programmes will be facilitated with the provision of transparent information on the quality and learning outcomes of these programmes. Quality assurance and accreditation agencies should provide this information to the ENIC/NARICs. By linking recognition to learning outcomes, through benchmarking efforts and by organising a dissemination conference with accreditation organisations and institutions, ENIC/NARICs of the countries concerned will engage in efforts to automatically recognise qualifications from joint programmes.

Third objective

The third objective is the extension of an information tool, i.e. Qrossroads. Qrossroads will be further developed to include: the learning outcomes of programmes (at European and national level), the institutional and programme information from at least five other countries in Qrossroads and a feature to import data from other databases (such as institutional databases). In 2008, Qrossroads is intended to present the qualifications awarded by quality assured and/or accredited programmes and/or institutions from eight countries. The extended version of Qrossroads will automatically link thirteen national databases to the European level Qrossroads database. All these databases and linked websites will be able to include programme’s learning outcomes and to import data from institutional databases.


ECA members participating in TEAM II

Coordinating organisation

  • Nederlands-Vlaamse Accreditatieorganisatie (NVAO), the Netherlands and Flanders

Participating applicant organisations

  • Magyar Felsõoktatási Akkreditációs Bizottság (HAC), Hungary
  • Österreichischer Akkreditierungsrat (ÖAR), Austria
  • Commission des Titres d’ Ingenieur (CTI), France
  • Agencia Nacional de Evaluación de la Calidad y Acreditación (ANECA), Spain
  • Akkreditierungsagentur für Studiengänge im Bereich Gesundheit und Soziales (AHPGS), Germany
  • Danmarks Evalueringsinstitut (EVA), Denmark
  • Fachhochschulrat (FHR), Austria
  • Pañstwowa Komisja Akredytacyjna (PKA), Poland
  • Zentrale Evaluations- und Akkreditierungsagentur Hannover (ZEVA), Germany
  • ENIC/NARIC, Poland

Associated applicant organisation

  • Organ für Akkreditierung und Qualitätssicherung der Schweizerischen Hochschulen (OAQ), Switzerland

Participating organisations

  • German Accreditation Council (GAC), Germany
  • Foundation for International Business Administration Accreditation (FIBAA), Germany
  • Agentur für Qualitätssicherung durch Akkreditierung von Studiengängen (AQAS), Germany
  • Nasjonalt organ for kvalitet i utdanningen (NOKUT), Norway
  • Council for Higher Education of the Republic Of Slovenia, Slovenia

Other organisations involved in the project

Stakeholder Group

  • Representatives from the following organisations/networks
  • European University Association (EUA),
  • European Students Union (ESU),
  • Association of Higher Education Institutions (EURASHE),
  • BusinessEurope (European employers) and
  • ENIC-NARIC Network (Recognition authorities)

Focus Group

  • Representatives from national recognition authorities/bodies (ENIC/NARICs).


Qrossroads manuals

Nature: Publication (EN) of three volumes of each +/- 15 pages Substance: Information to set up export functions in xsd/xml schemes and an overview of the content management system of a national database and website for national administrators and for institutional administrators.

Reports of the results of surveys on the recognition of qualifications from cross-border education

Nature: 2 Publications (EN) of +/- 20 pages Content: Results of online surveys with interpretations by the Focus Group. The surveys explores how ENIC/NARICs and credential evaluators at HEIs currently recognise qualifications from joint programmes, problems they encounter, the use of learning outcomes and the solutions they propose.

Benchmarking workshop on the recognition of qualifications from cross-border education

Nature: Workshopfor 40 participants from ENIC/NARICs Content: Presentation of the results of the survey, exchange of recognition methodologies and work in small groups on learning outcomes and recognition issues regarding qualifications from joint programmes.

Methodological report regarding single accreditation procedures for joint programmes

Nature: Publication (EN) of +/- 50 pages Content: The methodologies applied during 5 single accreditation procedures for joint programmes, the lessons learned and the way forward.

Qrossroads extended

Nature: Website and database Volume: 5 (By the end of the project: 13 in total) Content: European level website and database with institutional and programme details, the link to the European Qualifications Framework, the higher education systems, quality assurance and accreditation systems and recognition of foreign qualifications. This database gets its information from (by the end of the project) at least 13 national databases.

Dissemination conference

Nature: Conference for +/- 200 participants Content: Presentation of the achievement of mutual recognition of accreditation decisions, the results of the pilot projects of single accreditation procedures for joint programmes, the recognition issues regarding qualifications from joint programmes and the current status of Qrossroads.

Conference report

Nature: Publication Content: This report presents the outcomes of the conference, and thus the overall project, with contributions from the speakers and workshops. It also includes discussions of the current relationship between quality, learning outcomes and the recognition of qualifications from joint programmes; a catalogue of achievements with regard to mutual recognition; an exploration of the involvement of governments (legal issues) and stakeholders (respect for institutional autonomy) needed to achieve cross-border recognition of accreditation decisions and qualifications.

Pilot accreditation procedures

As a part of the development of a methodology for single accreditation procedures of joint programmes five pilot accreditation procedures have been carried out during autumn 2009 and early spring 2010. The pilot accreditation procedures have functioned as a basis for the report; "How to assess and accredit joint programmes in Europe- Methodologies tested and proposed by the TEAM2 project"

1) Erasmus Mundus Master’s Journalism, Media and Globalisation

Consortium: The University of Aarhus, (DK), City University London (UK), Swansea University (UK), the University of Amsterdam (NL), the University of Hamburg (DE) Contributing QA- agencies: NVAO, ZEvA

2) European Teacher Education for Primary Schools (Bachelor’s programme)

Consortium: University College Sjælland (DK), Växjö University (SE), Stenden University (NL), Högskolen i Buskerud Contributing QA- agencies: NVAO

3) Joint European Master in Comparative Local Development

Consortium: The University of Trento (IT), the Corvinus University of Budapest (HU), the University of Ljubljana (SI) and the University of Regensburg (DE) Contributing QA- agencies: HAC, GAC, Council for Higher Education of the Republic of Slovenia

4) Joint European Master’s in International Humanitarian Action (NOHA)

Consortium: The University of Deusto (ES), Université d’Aix-Marseille (FR), Université Catholique de Louvain (BE), Ruhr- Universität Bochum (DE), University College Dublin (IE), Uppsala Universitet (SE), the University of Groningen (NL) Contributing QA- agencies: ANECA, AQAS, HSV, NVAO

5) Research Master within Geosciences of Basins and Lithospheres

Consortium: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (NL), Université de Rennes 1 (FR), Eötvös University (HU), University of Technology Aachen (DE), Université Pierre et Marie Curie (FR), Universitetet i Bergen (NO) Contributing QA- agencies: CTI, HAC, NVAO


Below you find the 4 reports which were produced during the TEAM II project.

The recognition of qualifications awarded by joint programmes

is a publication which presents the outcomes of a survey among ENIC-NARICs autumn 2009 and the ENIC-NARIC workshop in Warsaw March 2010.

How to assess and accredit joint programmes in Europe

presents discussions on how to carry out single accreditation procedures of joint programmes. The empiri of this report consists of five single accreditation procedures carried out during autumn 2009 and spring 2010.

Joint programmes; too many cooks in the kitchen

is presenting the outcomes of a conference on joint programmes which was held in Austria 2010, insert link to the event. The report highlights the status quo regarding accreditation of joint programmes and recognition of qualifications awarded by these programmes. It also presents future perspectives regarding these issues. "The recognition of qualifications from joint programmes by HEIs" is a publication which presents the outcomes of a survey among credential evaluators at HEIs. The survey was carried out during autumn 2009.

See also