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					              EU/CoE PROJECT
“STRENGTHENING HIGHER EDUCATION REFORMS IN
                  SERBIA”
  Conference on self-evaluation of higher education
                     institutions
        Belgrade, Serbia, 10-11 July 2008


 Experiences of self-evaluation:
      The case of Greece

             Dionyssis Kladis
   Professor in Higher Education Policy
  University of the Peloponnese, Greece
      Present state for quality assurance in Greece


 Legislative framework

Law No.3374/2005

Stipulates procedures for internal and external quality
 assurance
 Establishes the external quality assurance agency (Hellenic
  Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education = HQAA).
      Present state for quality assurance in Greece

 Implementation
 Appointment of the chairperson and the members of the
  HQAA (September 2006)
 First steps by HQAA to foster implementation (2006-07):
   Standards and criteria for QA (in compliance with ESGs)
   Guidelines for implementing internal/external quality
    assurance
 Formation of the required bodies at the institutional level
  (Quality Assurance Unit = QAU) and at the faculty level
  (Internal Evaluation Groups = IEG) in many (?) HEIs and
  Faculties (2007-08)
 Activation of the procedures for internal quality assurance
  in many (?) Faculties (2007-08)
      Present state for quality assurance in Greece
 Action Plan of HQAA for implementation
All Faculties in the Greek HEIs of both higher education
sectors (i.e. university and non-university ones) will operate
their internal evaluation procedures and will undergo their
first external evaluation in the four-year period from 2007-
08 up to 2010-11.
 A very ambitious and difficult to implement plan, given the
 huge number of Faculties in Greece (more than 250
 Faculties in the university sector and more than 200
 Faculties in the non-university sector). First attempt ever.
 The attitude in Greek universities (!?)
Negative attitude in Greece against quality assurance (among
academics, among students, even among rectors)
Two reasons:
 The general Greek mentality against any type of control
 The lack of trust between the State and the HEIs
      Present state for quality assurance in Greece
 The consequences
The negative attitude makes implementation of the quality
assurance system an extremely difficult affair. This is why
the action plan of HQAA is very ambitious and rather non-
realistic.
 The risk
Internal quality assurance may be implemented in a
mechanical way and may be transformed into an artificial
process, without improving quality in reality.
 The Greek paradox
However, eight (8) out of the eighteen (18) autonomous
Greek universities have participated voluntarily in the EUA’s
Institutional Evaluation Programme between 1996 and 2005.
 Interesting note (connected to the Greek mentality): No
 one of the 8 universities in Athens has participated (!?)
         Experiences of self-evaluation in Greece

Two kinds of experience in Greece: Before and after the
establishment of the legislative framework, the year 2005
being the turning-point.
 The experience before 2005 is directly connected to the
evaluations carried out by EUA, following its methodology
regarding the internal processes, i.e. the self-evaluation
process. This is experience from real practice.
 The experience after 2005 does not come from real
practice, at least so far. It should, therefore, be considered
as a “theoretical experience”, as it is only related to the
existing framework, i.e. the provisions of the Law and the
guidelines of the HQAA.
         Experiences of self-evaluation in Greece
                      Before 2005

 EUA’s methodology for self-evaluation
The self-evaluation process has three objectives:
A. To prepare the self-evaluation report
B. To make the wider part of the university community aware
   of the process and capable to participate actively in the
   subsequent phases of the external evaluation, namely in
   the two site-visits of the external evaluation team
C. To establish and/or to maintain a quality culture within
   the university
Hence, the self-evaluation process is approached both as an
ad hoc process, being part (the most important and valuable)
of the external evaluation and as a permanent process
integrated into the overall institutional structures and
processes, aiming at continuous quality improvement.
         Experiences of self-evaluation in Greece
                      Before 2005
 Key issues for self-evaluation according to EUA
 Establishment of a self-evaluation steering group,
consisting of persons with expertise/experience in quality
assurance issues and/or with key roles in the Institution’s
life and operation.
 The self-evaluation steering group operates independently
from the leadership of the Institution. However, the
leadership supervises the overall process.
 Wider possible engagement of the community in the self-
evaluation process. Establishment of a wide, honest and open-
minded dialogue within the Institution.
 Self-evaluation should be a grass-roots process. Only
bottom-up approaches may have sustainable long-term
implications on quality and can build a quality culture within
the Institution.
        Experiences of self-evaluation in Greece
                     Before 2005

 Key issues for self-evaluation according to EUA
 Self-evaluation should be based on strategic thinking.
 The self-evaluation report should be based on concrete
documentation and data analysis and should present a
comprehensive outline of the current situation of the
Institution (through the SWOT methodology) and a clear
view for the future expectations and prospects (connected
to its vision, its mission and its strategy).
         Experiences of self-evaluation in Greece
                      Before 2005

 Conclusions from the Greek experience with EUA
The self-evaluation exercise was in general useful to the
Institutions, in the sense that it helped them realise their
strengths and weaknesses (and primarily the reasons for
them) through a systematic analysis and that it served as a
training process in quality issues, though for a rather small
number of academics and administrative staff.
However, the self-evaluation exercise did not help in building
a sustainable quality culture within the institutions. Self-
evaluation was rather a top-down than a bottom-up process.
The engagement of the community was rather weak in almost
all cases. Consequently, it did not help in changing attitudes
and mentalities with regards to quality issues.
  Bridging the experiences of self-evaluation in Greece
                 Before and after 2005

The above conclusions explain why there was no tradition
built in the 8 Greek universities that took part in the EUA’s
process. And this explains consequently the abovementioned
Greek paradox. The EUA’s exercises did not prepare the
ground and did not build the necessary conditions throughout
the Greek higher education system, so that the legislative
framework in 2005 be accepted and be accordingly
implemented by the HEIs.
On the other hand, the two phases in Greece have one
significant difference:
 In the first phase (before 2005), the Greek universities
participated voluntarily in an evaluation process -through
peers - conducted by their own European association, which
they trusted.
 In the second phase (after 2005) the Greek universities
are obliged to participate in an evaluation process driven
(though indirectly) by the State, which they do not trust.
        Experiences of self-evaluation in Greece
                      After 2005

As mentioned already, these are not real experiences, since
the self-evaluation processes in the Greek HEIs according to
the Law No.3074/2005 have started only during the current
academic year 2007-08.
The “experience”, therefore, is theoretical and is restricted
to the provisions of the Law and to the initiatives of the
HQAA.
           The self-evaluation process in Greece
           According to the Law No. 3374/2005

The Law stresses on the details of the evaluation processes
(both internal and external) of the academic units (Faculties)
which constitute the Greek HEIs.

It further stipulates that each HEI is also evaluated at
institutional level on the basis of the evaluation of its
individual academic units and the evaluation of its overall
operation as an institution. However, there are no specific
provisions in the Law regarding the details of institutional
evaluation.

This means that the Greek quality assurance system puts
priority on the evaluation (internal/external) of Faculties.
          The self-evaluation process in Greece
          According to the Law No. 3374/2005

 Internal reports of the Faculties and Institutions
The General Assembly of each Faculty prepares an Annual
Internal Report consisting of all statistical and other
documentation (quantitative and qualitative) pertaining to the
overall operation of the Faculty. This annual report is not
part of the self-evaluation process.
On the basis of the Annual Internal Reports of all Faculties,
the Quality Assurance Unit (QAU) of the Institution draws
up every two years the pertinent internal report of the
institution.
          The self-evaluation process in Greece
          According to the Law No. 3374/2005
 The self-evaluation process of the Faculties
The self-evaluation process lasts for two consecutive
semesters and is repeated at the latest every fourth year
following the commencement of the previous self-evaluation.
The self-evaluation process is not necessarily connected to
an external evaluation.
The responsibility for the self-evaluation lies with the
Internal Evaluation Group (IEG) of the Faculty, which
overviews, steers and coordinates the overall process and
which analyses data and all outcomes and prepares the self-
evaluation report.
The self-evaluation process is (should be) conducted through
an extended and inclusive dialogue within the community of
the Faculty, based on questionnaires, interviews, conferences
etc. The analysis of the last Annual Internal Report is one of
the important elements of the running self-evaluation
process.
           The self-evaluation process in Greece
           According to the Law No. 3374/2005

  The self-evaluation report
The self-evaluation report should be a synthesis of all
elements of the self-evaluation process, in conjunction with
the Faculty’s vision and mission, its aims and its strategic plan
and, finally, with its specific identity and profile. In that
sense, it should be built upon the following elements:
a) A critical analysis and assessment of the extent to which
the aims of the Faculty have been achieved
b) An analysis of the strengths and weaknesses
c) The required actions for the aims to be achieved
d) Any other measure to ensure and improve the quality of
the overall activities of the Faculty
           The self-evaluation process in Greece
           According to the Law No.3374/2005
  Quality assurance criteria and standards
The Law provides for four areas of criteria and standards:
a) Quality of teaching
b) Quality of research
c) Quality of curricula
d) Quality of services and infrastructure
The HQAA has already further specified and analysed the
criteria and standards for all areas.
  Final remarks
 The HQAA has developed detailed guidelines for the
methodology to be applied in the internal QA processes.
Actually, it has finalised almost all required preliminary work.
 What’s next? Implementation. Genuine implementation.
 Precondition? Change in attitudes.

				
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