Strategic Planning

The Agency initiated its activities in 2009, with that year being almost fully dedicated to the implementation of structures and procedures, appointment of the different governance bodies and hiring and training staff.

Years 2010 and 2011 were focused mainly in complying with the goals set by the relevant legislation for this period, including the preliminary accreditation of all study programmes in operation when the Agency was created, the prior accreditation of new study programmes and the preparation of the audit process for the internal quality assurance systems. 

The first regular five year cycle of accreditation of study programmes was initiated in 2012, being followed by an updating of the Agency’s database in the sixth year. During this same period the audits of the institutional internal quality assurance systems will also take place on a voluntary basis. Therefore, the Agency aims to perform a systematic and strict accreditation of every study programme in operation, aiming to improve the system’s global quality and its educational offerings. At the same time the Agency promotes the implementation and certification of the institutional internal quality assurance systems aimed at a new phase of the quality system based on the principle that the main responsibility for the quality of education lies first of all with every institution. 

The updating exercise of the database to be performed over the sixth year of this period aims to provide a global view of the system, analysing the improvements relative to the 2010 initial exercise and defining a new strategy for the next period. Once this phase of exhaustive analysis is completed, a new phase needs to be constructed, based on the internal quality assurance systems while offering a lighter touch approach for individual accreditation of study programmes. Indeed, the Agency considers it will not be adequate to maintain the present system, which is expensive and very demanding of human resources, once a culture of exigency is established in institutions and the minimum quality standards defined by legislation are internalised. 

For the new period, the Agency proposes to develop an institutional evaluation system. Lighter touch procedures will be adopted for those institutions with better quality indicators, namely regarding the qualification of the academic staff, the quality of research and their performance in the current assessment/accreditation round, when they also have certified internal quality assurance systems. Lighter touch procedures will, in principle, be based on a sampling system of study programme accreditation combined with institutional audits to be developed until 2016. 

Over the 2012-2016 period the Agency will continue to develop research related to its area of activity and will accompany new quality developments, namely those related to the OECD’s AHELO project, the U-MAP and U-MultiRank projects, risk management policies and the "quality enhancement" approach. The Agency will also produce periodic analyses of the Portuguese higher education network.

The internationalisation component will be given special attention with the international evaluation of the Agency and its application to become registered in EQAR. Over this period the Agency will promote the discussion of themes related to quality, namely by organising a biennial international conference and establishing a network of bilateral partnerships with similar agencies.