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Helping to ensure excellent teaching in higher education

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Expert Committee on Quality in Higher Education in Denmark, which includes Mannaz CEO Mette Vestergaard, has published their second report. To strengthen higher education, the Danish Government set up the Expert Committee on Quality in Higher Education (Kvalitetsudvalget), which consists of seven prominent members from the educational sector, of which one is the CEO of Mannaz, Mette Vestergaard. The committee will provide recommendations on how quality, relevance and consistency can be strengthened in higher education through two sub-reports. The first set of recommendations was published in April 2014, and the second one has just been published. While the topic of the committee’s first report was the overall education system, the new report focuses on the quality and relevance of the education programmes. And the message from the committee is that it can be improved significantly. The recommendations target both overall concerns regarding funding, and concrete elements such as the external examiner system and enrolment system. The key messages are: New council to promote quality and relevance Approximately 1 billion DKK per year of the total appropriations should be transferred to a fund that all lecturers from higher education can apply for. The aim is to strengthen the incentives and the prestige of developing the quality and relevance of the various programmes. Management focus on and recognition of learning The information from the institutions' boards of directors should be closer to the education programmes and more comparable. The aim should be to monitor and constantly improve the quality of teaching. At the same time, the boards of directors should work to promote a culture where an excellent education is seen as vital for career recognition, salary and promotion. Give power to those responsible for the education programs In many educational institutions, the staff who have responsibility for the management, resources and research are different individuals to those responsible for the content and organisation of teaching. As things stand, the former typically have both the resources and the managerial powers - i.e. in relation to teacher employment, salary and promotion. In the future, it should be those with the training responsibilities that have all the resources for the education programmes. Stop the detailed regulation and focus on the big picture Management responsibility requires space for manoeuvre. The Minister should relax the regulations so that institutions do not waste energy navigating the rules. The committee believes that quality in education is best created by dedicated, qualified teachers. Therefore, institutions must have more scope and autonomy for organising, for example the curriculum, examinations and censorship, so that the students are optimally supported to learn as much as possible. The committee work will conclude with a comprehensive report by the end of January 2015. You can read more about the Expert Committee on Quality in Higher Education at their website: www.ufm.dk/kvalitetsudvalget