Representative of the Montenegrin Agency for control and quality assurance of higher education, Ana Rutović, independent advisor in the Department for quality control, went to a study visit to the Agency for quality assurance and accreditation Austria (hereinafter: AQ Austria), based in Vienna, in the period from 4-6 December 2019.

The aforementioned study visit was realized within the framework of the Staff Mobility programme, carried out by the Bologna Peer Support Group on Quality Assurance, which supports the continuous professional development of employees in those institutions responsible for the subject matter.

The aim of this study visit was to provide an opportunity to acquire general knowledge about the organizational set-up and functioning of AQ Austria with regard to its external quality assurance procedures, as well as understanding of the autonomous and independent implementation of the principles of quality assurance in higher education.

During the study visit, the focus was on the mutual exchange of information and experience in the external quality assurance system within a given legislative framework, as well as in the context of the implementation of the Standards and Guidelines for quality assurance defined in the European Higher Education Area (ESG).

Beside working sessions with AQ Austria staff, during which were mostly discussed the aspects of the implementation of evaluation procedures, especially accreditation and reaccreditation, as well as decision making process, it was organized a meeting with a representative of the Ministry of education, science and research, who explained in detail the role of this institution in the overall higher education system in Austria.

Despite the achieved results, it is necessary to work on further improvement of the quality of higher education and its harmonization with European trends, which is why this kind of staff mobility represents an ideal opportunity for knowledge exchange in the field of higher education and opens the possibility for future intensification of cooperation between the two institutions.

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