The National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE) launched the Maltese national quality assurance framework for further and higher education. The framework was the key deliverable of the ESF 1.227 project ‘Making quality visible’, which was concluded in July 2015.

This is the first quality assurance framework in Europe that combines quality assurance for vocational and higher education. The framework offers guidance to educational institutions to improve learning outcomes provided through their education programmes. It further fulfils the NCFHE’s role as the competent authority for licensing, accreditation and quality assurance for further and higher education in Malta. It will also address Malta’s commitment to quality assurance for higher education in the Bologna process, and for VET in the Copenhagen process.

Framework standards do not prescribe how quality assurance is to be carried out. They are intended to provide guidance for areas which are vital for quality and learning environments in further, higher and formal adult education.

These standards should be considered in a broad context including the Malta qualifications framework (MQF), use of ECTS and ECVET learning credits as indicated in the Malta referencing report of 2012 and subsequent editions, and use of diploma and certificate supplements that also contribute to promoting transparency and mutual trust in Maltese further and higher education.

Another key deliverable of the ESF 1.227 projectMaking quality visible’ was a procedure manual for external quality audits. Some 30 student evaluators with vocational and tertiary education backgrounds, 40 peer experts, and four NCFHE staff were trained in aspects of external quality audits. The training was held on the occasion of the first three pilot external audits, which were conducted with the University of Malta, Malta College for Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) and Institute for Tourism Studies (ITS) during April and May 2015.

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