Who is going to bell the cat? A comparative analysis of higher education quality assurance agencies

Francesc Pedró García

Abstract


Higher education quality assurance agencies have expanded around the world in a very short time as an attempt to professionalize the public regulation of processes of enormous complexity in a sector characterized by a proverbial autonomy of institutions. This contribution presents a comparative analysis of the reasons that have led to such an expansion, as well as the convergences and divergences that are emerging worldwide. Despite the contextual differences, in which the various configurations of agencies operate, the truth is that there are common problems that are practically universal, including the question of their independence and their relative inability to externally be accountable. Finally, the contribution sheds light on the main criticisms they receive, which relate primarily to the risk of regulatory capture by the higher education institutions themselves, which they are supposed to regulate. 


Keywords


Higher Education; Quality Assurance; Agencies

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5944/reec.37.2021.27880

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