NVAO becomes Luxembourg's permanent quality assurance partner28/02/2022

In the coming years, the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) will expand its regular assessment activities in the Netherlands and Flanders to include Luxembourg. It has reached an agreement with the Luxembourg government on this. Until now, Luxembourg recruited reputable quality assurance organizations to conduct higher education assessments. The Luxembourgers are choosing NVAO as their permanent quality assurance partner. Remarkable in this relationship: NVAO will also help design the new quality assurance system in Luxembourg in collaboration with the ministry and all Luxembourg parties involved.

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Since 2017, NVAO has regularly assessed the quality of study programs and institutions in the neighboring country at the request of the Luxembourg government. The Grand Duchy does not have its own national accreditation organization and therefore relies on foreign organizations that are registered with EQAR, the European register of reputable quality assurance organisations. The assessment activities in Luxembourg fit in with NVAO's international strategy to strengthen higher education and cooperation in the field of quality assurance in the Benelux.

Luxembourg has recently expressed the ambition to modernize and integrate its higher education legislation so that the different types of higher education institutions fall under the same quality assurance legislation and also the different quality assurance regimes can be replaced by a single quality assurance system.

Positive experiences with assessments by NVAO, NVAO's considerable expertise in international quality assurance and the mutual trust built up form the basis for the Luxembourg government to call on NVAO to guide this process. The previous collaboration will therefore be expanded and made more sustainable in a privileged collaboration agreement between the Luxembourg government and NVAO. For example, in the coming years NVAO will be responsible for: 

  • the implementation of all quality assessments in Luxembourg higher education; 
  • developing a new holistic quality assurance system and appropriate assessment frameworks for higher education, in collaboration with all parties and in accordance with European standards and guidelines for quality assurance (ESG); 
  • advising the Luxembourg government on translating this system into a new legal framework for quality assurance in higher education. 

The cooperation agreement will now be implemented with an annual adjustment to the current situation. Within NVAO, the Flanders department will be responsible for the implementation of this. In addition to carrying out assessments, advising on the legislative process and the new assessment frameworks, the exchange of knowledge and team members between the partners will also contribute to deepening cooperation.

Wouter Duyck, Vice-President NVAO: “Our organization has considerable expertise in international quality assurance and is one of the founders of a European assessment framework for joint programmes, the European assessment framework for European Universities, the mutual recognition of diplomas and the dissemination of good quality assurance practices. This progressive position has not gone unnoticed. We are proud that Luxembourg now chooses us as a privileged partner. In this way we can share our experiences inside and outside Flanders and anchor them in a new quality assurance system for higher education in Luxembourg. Strengthening this cooperation within the Benelux is part of our pursuit of limitless quality assurance within a coherent European policy that facilitates international mobility.” 

Axel Aerden, Director Flanders NVAO: “During the recent evaluation of the University of Luxembourg, we applied NVAO's Appreciative Approach to a foreign institution for the first time. This also applies to the combination of institutional, faculty and cluster assessment in one evaluation. This offers interesting starting points for the further development of the Flemish and Dutch systems. The accreditation procedures in Luxembourg also help us to think about the methodological development of our own quality assurance systems.”