Agency for Control and Quality Assurance of Higher Education (ACQAHE) is the leading state body for external quality assurance in higher education, established in 2017 by the Law on Higher Education. The main duty of ACQAHE is to manage the process of evaluation and certification of higher education institutions and study programmes in line with European Standards and Guidelines of quality assurance in European Higher Education Area (EHEA). At the same time, ACQAHE is in its work 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, evaluation outcomes 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 organizations 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 in 2010 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 Memorandum od Association of the Agency for Control and Quality Assurance of Higher Education. However, it started working in its full capacity in September 2018. In addition to taking over the processes of accreditation and reaccreditation, the Agency also assumed the duty to do research related to the quality assurance, as well as the system of higher education. The Agency also cooperates with international institutions and associations in the field of quality assurance in higher education and with respectable regional and international agencies.
The Agency is responsible for the control of quality of higher education in Montenegro. It implements the quality control by external evaluation, through the processes of accreditation of study programmes and reaccreditation of higher education institutions and accreditation of lifelong learning programmes. Likewise, the Agency implements additional controls during the accreditation and reaccreditation period. Standards and 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 external evaluation in its work.
Quality Assurance and Research
The Agency assures quality through a consistent application of the European Standards and Guidelines for quality assurance.. This application 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 its capacities , giving a special significance to the role of stakeholders in the higher education system. Better compliance with the ESG means higher credibility of the system and meeting the prerequisites for the membership 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). By this membership and registration, the Montenegrin Agency shall speed up the processes of mobility, internationalization and recognition of Montenegrin diplomas.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.