Joint Degrees References3

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					Joint degrees colloquium 14 March 2006
Some references and resources

1 UK legislation
Section 214 Education Reform Act 1988


Section 2 of the Code of practice for the assurance of academic quality and
standards in higher education (Code of practice)
Section 2: Collaborative provision and flexible and distributed learning (including

This section of the Code of practice is divided into two parts. Part A is concerned with
the responsibilities of a UK higher education institution in respect of collaborative
arrangements that lead to its academic awards. Part B is concerned with particular
aspects specific to the academic management of the delivery, support and
assessment of flexible and distributed learning programmes, whether or not these
involve a collaborative partner.

Supplement to the Handbook for institutional audit England: collaborative
provision audit
The Supplement includes details on how the process works and guidelines for
producing self-evaluation documents.

Report of the first joint degree conference: Joint degrees: quality assurance in
international contexts
This is the report of the first conference on joint degrees, jointly organised by QAA,
UUK and the Europe Unit.

Overseas partnership audit reports
3 Council of the Validating Universities (CVU)

CVU handbook for Practitioners: the quality management of Collaborative
A handbook written by practioners with the aim of complementing section 2 of the
Code of practice by providing advice, information and guidance for establishing
robust procedures in relation to collaborative provision.

4 European University Association (EUA)

The EUA has published a report on Joint Masters in Europe. The report is the
outcome of a survey conducted in 2002-04, and highlights many issues around joint
degrees practices, including reflections on the quality assurance of these types of
programmes and the 10 golden rules for establishing joint programmes.

The EUA has also recently launched a register of joint programmes where institutions
can list their joint degree programmes.

5 European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA)

ENQA is currently leading a pilot project (Transnational European Evaluation
Project II) on the quality assurance of three Erasmus Mundus joint masters
programmes. The project evaluates the QA process and procedures of the three
programmes and aspires to identify means and common elements for quality
education in joint masters.

ENQA completed a pilot project in 2003 (Transnational European Evaluation
Project I) that explored the operational implications of a European transnational
quality evaluation of study programmes in three subject areas (History, Physics and
Veterinary Science). Also in 2004 ENQA published the report of the Quality
Convergence Study Project to study the possibilities of convergence of national
quality assurance systems.
6 International Association of Universities (IAU)

Sharing Quality Higher Education Across Borders: A Statement on Behalf of
Higher Education Institutions Worldwide

The IAU has produced this statement which was adopted in 2005.

This document is based on the belief that market forces alone are inadequate to
ensure that cross-border education contributes to the public good. It lays the
groundwork for fair and transparent policy frameworks for managing higher education
across borders that are underpinned by a set of guiding principles and a process of
dialogue among stakeholders.

The IAU has members in more than 120 countries including four from the UK.

7 Joint Degree Framework Programmes: some examples

BRiDGE is the DfES supported programme, managed by the British Council, for dual
degrees between UK and Russian universities.

Erasmus Mundus
Erasmus Mundus is the European Union (EU) funded project aimed at supporting the
establishment of European joint master's degrees. The programme is addressed to
consortia of EU higher education institutions (there is the requirement of participation
from at least three institutions from three different EU member states).

The Erasmus Mundus programme provides financial support directly to the consortia
as well as through student and staff scholarships.

8 Intergovernmental initiatives including the Bologna Process

a Bologna Process

Since the 2001 Prague ministerial meeting, the notion of joint degrees has been
supported and ministers have committed themselves in cooperation for the
establishment and recognition of joint degrees. Explicit mention of joint degrees can
be found in the Prague 2001, Berlin 2003 and Bergen 2005 Communiqués.

As part of the Bologna process, national governments produce an update report in
time before each ministerial meetings. The 2005 national reports include a section
(section 11) covering aspects of joint degrees, including their legal status in the
national context where information on the national situation vis a vis joint degrees is

The Bologna process Communiqués can be found at
Country by country reports

b Lisbon Convention on the recognition of academic qualifications (1997)

Usually referred to as the Lisbon Convention, this is an intergovernmental agreement
signed by governments of the European region. The Lisbon Convention provides
principles for the recognition of qualifications among the signatory countries.

c Recommendation on the Recognition of Joint Degrees and its Explanatory
Memorandum (2004)

The Committee established by the Lisbon Convention has also adopted a
recommendation for the recognition of joint degrees.

The Recommendation refers to quality assurance and institutional recognition and
indicates that where a part of the study programme giving rise to a joint degree has
not been the subject of quality assessment or is not considered as belonging to the
education system of one or more parties to the Lisbon Recognition Convention, this
may be a valid reason not to recognise the degree.

d Code of Good Practice in the Provision of Trans-national Education (2001)

The annexes to the convention also include a Code of practice in relation to
transnational provision In relation to quality assurance it states the following:

'Academic quality and standards of transnational education programmes should be at
least comparable to those of the awarding institution as well as to those of the
receiving country. Awarding institutions as well as the providing institutions are
accountable and fully responsible for quality assurance and control. Procedures and
decisions concerning the quality of educational services provided by transnational
arrangements should be based on specific criteria, which are transparent, systematic
and open to scrutiny'

e OECD/UNESCO guidelines on quality provision for cross border education
This the latest document produced jointly by OECD and UNESCO. The Guidelines
aim to support and encourage international cooperation and enhance the
understanding of the importance of quality provision in cross-border higher
education. The purposes of the Guidelines are to protect students and other
stakeholders from low-quality provision and disreputable providers as well as to
encourage the development of quality cross-border higher education that meets
human, social, economic and cultural needs.

The guidelines provide separate recommendations to six related groups of
stakeholders in higher education, higher education institutions/providers,
governments, quality assurance and accreditation agencies, students’ bodies,
recognition bodies and professional bodies.

Link to the above texts

Some useful websites

European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education, ENQA

International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education

Asia Pacific Quality Network, APQN

Council of Europe, CoE,

Bologna Secretariat

Europe Unit

Observatory on Borderless Higher Education OBHE

Kathleen Kwan’s article on good practice and contract negotiation

Tuning Educational structures in Europe (EC funded pilot project)

In the literature there is no single definition of what constitutes a joint degree and the
references provided above do not necessarily use the term 'joint degree' in exactly
the same way.

From a generic point view the term joint degree may cover:
 single institutions awards’ for joint programmes
 dual/multiple awards
 joint awards.