UNDER THE HIGHER EDUCATION ACT OF 2009, THE GOVERNMENT OF REPUBLIC OF SLOVENIA ESTABLISHED THE AGENCY FOR QUALITY ASSURANCE IN HIGHER EDUCATION AND FOR DEVELOPING AND CONSULTING WORK IN SLOVENIAN HIGHER EDUCATION. THE AGENCY IS A PUBLIC ENITITY.
The Council for Higher Education of the Republic of Slovenia established by the Higher Education Act began to carry out the tasks associated with the accreditation of study programmes and higher education institutions in 1994. It was established as an independent professional body composed of experts in the field of higher education. Besides assuring quality in the study process and granting of accreditations, the council also promoted development of the culture of quality and creation of regulatory frameworks in line with European development guidelines.
At the initiative of the Rectors’ Conference, the National Commission for the Quality of Higher Education was established in 1996 in order to provide the internal and external quality assurance system at university level in the Slovenian higher education area.
With amendment to Higher Education Act (ZViS) in 2004, the Council was renamed to The Council for Higher Education of the Republic of Slovenia. In addition to accreditation the council received new tasks (habilitation of higher education teachers, researchers and faculty assistants of independent higher education institutions). According to amendments, the agency for quality assurance should be established, which did not happen. Part of the external quality assurance was still in domain of the National Commission for the Quality of Higher Education.
Amendments and supplements of ZviS in 2006 expanded the competences of the Council for Higher Education to evaluation of the study programmes, scientific-research, artistic and professional work and evaluation of higher education institutions and higher vocational colleges. It assumed the competences from the National Commission for the Quality of Higher Education which was in charge of evaluation procedures in higher education until that time. The council operated through three senates- accreditation, evaluation and habilitation senate.
The Office for Higher Education of Republic of Slovenia was established in 2007 as a specialist service of the Council and a body of the Ministry of Higher Education, science and technology (MVZT). Considering that the office was not an independent budgetary user it was transformed to the so-called “other government body in 2008. It had its own specialist services to conduct administrative, technical and professional tasks.
Even though the Council for Higher Education (a predecessor of SQAA) did not have formally formed procedures to monitor, assess and provide proper quality assurance, it has mostly in procedures of external evaluation conducted surveys of stakeholders. It collected opinions of experts on evaluation procedures and consequently improved the quality of its work. The analysis of external evaluation reports and the analysis of findings of self-evaluation reports were prepared.
The results of survey and analysis were published in a meta-report of the Senate for evaluation, monitoring and providing of quality assurance in Slovenian higher education area from 2007-2008 (in Slovene and English). The Council for Higher education was also evaluated with the activity report of the Senate for evaluation in 2009. All listed institutions (The Council, The National Commission for Higher Education, The Council for Higher Education) emphasized the ESG standards and conducting of evaluations according to ESG standards.
The Slovenian Quality Assurance Agency (SQAA) was founded in 2010 as a non-governmental direct budget user and a public authorisation holder. It was established with the Resolution on the founding of the Slovenian Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education in order to:
Since 2013 SQAA has been included in the European Register of Agencies (EQAR) and is a full member of the ECA Accreditation Consortium, CEENQA Central and Eastern European Quality Assurance Agencies, and the International Association of Quality Assurance Agencies, INQAAHE.
Since 2015 SQAA has been a full member of the European Quality Assurance Association for Higher Education ENQA.
In 2020, SQAA celebrated its 10th anniversary. For this purpose, a jubilee publication was also published, which offers an insight into the history of SQAA and external quality assessment in Slovenia in general.