In Romania, learning and teaching are based on standards and national and international best practices, quality being one of the fundamental principles that governs the education system.
Quality evaluation and quality assurance are realised through actions aiming at institutional capacity development to assure trust among beneficiaries that the institution fulfils quality standards.
In the school education sub-system (from pre-primary education to upper secondary education inclusively), quality assurance is relying on a coordinated and coherent actions system implemented at the national, regional, and local levels.
At the national level, the quality assurance strategy for preuniversity education is implemented by the Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in School Education (ARACIP). ARACIP is in charge of the following main activities:
schools’ external quality evaluation
proposals to the Ministry of Education for schools founding and accreditation.
The purpose of the external evaluation is mainly
(i) to certify the capacity of schools to meet the quality standards,
(ii) to play a role in the development of a quality culture in school education institutions, and
(iii) to recommend policies and strategies to the Ministry of Education in order to improve the quality of education.
As far as the university education system is concerned, a similar national agency was established in 2005, namely the Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ARACIS), that took over the attributions, personal and patrimony of the National Council of Academic Evaluation and Accreditation (CNEAA), founded in 1993. ARACIS is an autonomous public institution, established at national level, with legal person and own budget.
Among the principles set at the Romanian higher education system's foundation are autonomy, public responsibility, and quality assurance.
Therefore, higher education institutions apply legal provisions in quality evaluation and quality assurance, and the national higher education system is including only accredited universities.
Higher education institutions, authorized or accredited, are implementing educational activities within authorized, or, respectively, accredited study programs, corresponding to the three university cycles or for lifelong learning. These programs are based on quality principles needed for building society's trust of direct and indirect beneficiaries. The external quality evaluation is performed at study program level, for bachelor programs, respectively at domain level, for bachelor and master level programs.
Higher education institutions are responsible for maintaining quality, setting up specific institutional structures and procedures.
From this perspective, the main principles of Romanian quality assurance system focus on:
European dimension: Romania is beloging to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), while quality assurance procedures are respecting the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG). ARACIS is member to the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) and registered in the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) since 2009.
Institutional responsibility: the responsibility for and the management of quality assurance are obligations of each HEI, in compliance with the academic autonomy and with the legislation in force.
Institutional diversity: the diversity of institutions, of their missions and objectives, is respected and encouraged by means of external quality evaluation.
Cooperation with all educational system stakeholders: the approach, the practices applied, and the forms of support provided by ARACIS are based on cooperation and mutual confidence in its relationships with higher education institutions and other partners.
Focus on results: in quality assurance and evaluation, learning outcomes, and university research performance, seen as a component of the education process, are essential.
Institutional identity: learning and research outcomes and performance can be achieved through a variety of practices, methods, or structures, autonomously designed and implemented, by each institution, according to its own options.
External evaluation: external evaluation is based on the higher education institution describing its learning and research outcomes and performance and on the verification of their correspondence with the institutional reality, including the verification of student activity, against the standards agreed.
Quality improvement: continuous quality and institutional management improvement is the main goal of the external evaluation.
Transparency: the results of all external evaluations are concretized in reports, which are public documents, as part of the public responsibility of ARACIS and, respectively, of the higher education institutions.