Agency for Control and Quality Assurance of Higher Education (ACQAHE) is the leading state body for quality assurance in higher education that has the duty to manage the process of evaluation and certification of establishments and study programmes in line with European Standards and Guidelines. In its work it is guided by the following principles:
- Transparency – ACQAHE publishes rules and criteria, as well as the results of evaluation procedures and research;
- Independence – ACQAHE strives to secure objective and independent procedures for rendering decisions related to evaluation of study programmes and establishments, as well as of organizational issues;
- Cooperation – ACQAHE is the organization that cooperates with, trains and consults higher education institutions about how to apply European Standards and Guidelines. It cooperates with the relevant European organisations and registers ensuring that it meets the requirements for membership in such organizations; and
- Integrity – ACQAHE acts with integrity and fair, equal, objective and professional attitude to and treatment of all stakeholders.
Higher education quality assurance through accreditation processes started when Montenegro joined the European Higher Education Area and assumed the obligations to implement European Standards and Guidelines
In the period before the establishment of the Agency, the accreditation procedure used to be conducted by the Ministry of Education, while the decisions on accreditation and reaccreditation used to be rendered by the Higher Education Council comprising reputable academic professionals.
ACQAHE was established in November 2017 by the Decision of the Government of Montenegro. However, it started working in its full capacity in September 2018. Taking over the processes of accreditation and reaccreditation, the Agency also assumed the duty to do research related to the system of higher education and to cooperate with international institutions in the field of quality assurance in higher education.
The Agency is responsible for the control of quality of higher education in Montenegro. It implements the quality control through the processes of accreditation of study programmes and reaccreditation of higher education institutions. Criteria for both of these procedures are based on the European standards and guidelines. In that respect the Agency invests efforts in ensuring full application of the Standards and Guidelines in European Area of Higher Education in the processes of accreditation of study programmes and reaccreditation of higher education institutions in Montenegro.
Quality Assurance and Research
The Agency assures quality through a consistent application of the European Standards and Guidelines in the Higher Education Area that Montenegro is a part of. This is done through external evaluation of institutions and study programmes and through self-evaluation of the Agency. Use of standards and guidelines is manifested primarily in the strategic approach to development of higher education and the legal framework in this field. In its efforts to meet European standards the Agency works on strengthening capacities of all stakeholders in the higher education system in the field of quality assurance. The aim of the Agency is to become a member in the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) and to be listed in the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) and ensure in such a way that Montenegrin diplomas are recognized in Europe. One of the instruments that the Agency uses in quality assurance is to do research of the higher education system and to exercise its power to propose measures for its improvement.