External Quality Assurance and Accreditation
External quality assurance and accreditation procedures in Europe are usually organised at the national level and the methods used differ as much as the education systems themselves. There is however a general trend, initiated by the Bologna Declaration Process, to stimulate the establishment of quality assurance agencies in all European countries and to develop a closer collaboration between such agencies on a European level in terms of procedures and criteria. Indeed, if higher educational programmes are to become more comparable and recognised at European level, the mechanisms for the assurance and enhancement of these programmes should also have higher levels of comparability and compatibility. An important document which was published by the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) for the 2005 Bergen Conference of Ministers can be downloaded here:
AEC's position towards quality assurance and accreditation
- Quality assurance and accreditation must function as mechanisms that can assist autonomous higher education institutions in the enhancement of their quality instead of bureaucratic processes based on inflexible criteria and procedures.
- Quality assurance and accreditation processes must take into account in their criteria and procedures the specific nature and characteristics of professional music training.
AEC has studied this field since 2006 through various projects, and has developed a European-level approach to quality assurance and accreditation, based on the special characteristics and needs of the higher music education sector. More information about quality enhancement and accreditation services can be found in the section 'Services' within the menu 'About AEC'.
External Quality Assurance and Accreditation in music worldwide
Two projects studying external quality assurance and accreditation in an international context have been initiated by the AEC.
The ‘Mundus Musicalis’ project (2005-2007), the first project in the field of music supported by the ERASMUS MUNDUS programme, has studied international cooperation and mobility in the field of higher music education. As the exchange of information on quality assurance and accreditation procedures is essential to the development of mutual trust necessary to underpin an effective recognition of qualifications, a document was also produced with a focus on quality assurance and accreditation procedures in music at international level, which lists, compares and analyses the existing procedures in 34 countries.
In the framework of an international transatlantic project called ‘Music Study, Mobility and Accountability’ (2002-2004), the AEC worked together closely with the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) in the United States, which is a specialised accreditation organisation in the field of music. The project, which was supported by the EU/USA Programme, focused on two main subject areas: 'quality assurance and accreditation in professional music training’ and ’transatlantic cooperation in professional music training’. The main documents on quality assurance and accreditation in music can be downloaded here.
All other publications produced in this project can be downloaded on the extensive MSMA project website.
MusiQuE - Music Quality Enhancement
In October 2014, the AEC established MusiQuE – Music Quality Enhancement as an independent foundation for quality enhancement and accreditation in higher music education. MusiQuE has taken over the main quality enhancement and accreditation activities previously organized by the AEC.