Also inherited from the Erasmus tradition, the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) became a key tool for EHEA members to make study plans more transparent and, therefore, recognisable. ECTS serves as a criterion for consistency of programme design, delivery and monitoring, including the formulation of learning outcomes and workloads, learning activities and teaching methods, and assessment procedures. Credit allocation of study programmes is done according to learning outcomes and workload, taking into account that 60 ECTS is the equivalent to a full-time academic year. Typically, bachelor’s qualifications include 180 or 240 ECTS credits and master’s qualifications include 90 or 120 ECTS credits (the 60 ECTS being the minimum required).
Thanks to ECTS system, students are able to:
- accumulate credits to obtain qualifications and to document learning, and
- transfer or continue education at a different institution thanks to credit recognition and transfer.
The implementation of the ECTS system also implied a shift towards a student-centred learning (SCL), which is an underlying principle of the EHEA. SCL emphasises active, critical and analytical learning, and increases student responsibility, accountability and autonomy.
A meaningful implementation of ECTS requires the deep understanding of the system and institutional regulations by all faculty and staff. Supporting documents to facilitate the use and record of ECTS are, fundamentally, the course catalogue, academic transcripts, work placement certificate, and diploma.
Today, EHEA members continue working on Bologna Process action lines and work plans to further enhance the quality of European Higher Education and to improve the conditions for international mobility and cooperation.
1.3 INTRODUCTION TO EABHES ACCREDITATION
ACCREDITATION GOALS AND APPROACH
EABHES Accreditation is based on a quality control guarantee at each stage of a school processes, from recruitment to academics. Awarded to independent study programmes, EABHES Accreditation recognises ECTS credits for individual students and, as such, is not involved in recognition agreements between national governmental bodies, but rather between individual students and institutions.
EABHES Accreditation goals are:
- to assure the educational community and the general public that a programme is in compliance with EHEA academic and credit allocation standards, and that operational conditions have been maintained under which programme completion can be achieved, and/or expected to continue to be achieved.
- to foster quality and innovation in higher education through continuous self-monitoring and improvement at all organisational levels, and through counsel and assistance.
- to encourage international academic and professional mobility through the production of academic supporting documents in accordance with European standards.
EABHES approach to accreditation is:
- holistic, as it includes not only the audit of academic programmes, but also the supervision and improvement of pedagogical, administrative and management processes;
- collaborative, as EABHES works together with each school’s leadership and staff.
Thanks to this approach of the EABHES Accreditation, schools are able to enhance their general operations and the running of their institutions, creating solid pillars for sustainable medium and long- term development.