Responsibility for the organization and implementation in each institution of higher education of an internal Quality Assurance system, with specific principles, criteria, regulations and procedures for maintenance and continuous improvement, is assigned by law 4009/2011, Article 14, to the Quality Assurance Unit (QAU), an organ of the central administration of institutions of Higher Education.According to the law, the QAU is responsible, in particular, for (N. 4009/2011, Article 14.2):
- the development of the specific policies, strategies and procedures necessary to continuously improve the quality of the work and services of the institution, which constitute the internal quality assurance system of the institution,
- the organization, operation and continuous improvement of the internal quality assurance system of the institution,
- the coordination and support of the processes of assessment of academic units and other services of the institution, and
- support of the processes of external assessment and accreditation of programmes of study and of the internal quality assurance system of the institution, according to the principles, guidelines and directives of the HQA.
Moreover, among the general criteria for the accreditation of internal quality assurance systems of institutions of Higher Education by the HQA, are included, in particular (Article 72.2):
- the establishment of clearly defined objectives to ensure and continuously improve the quality of programmes of study and support services of the institution,
- the policy planning process, effective organization, and the decision-making process for the continuous improvement of quality,
- the process of implementing the policy to continuously improve quality, and
- documentation of improvement of quality.
In any case, to ensure continuous improvement of the quality of teaching and research, as well as the effective functioning and efficiency of services in accordance with the criteria set out in Article 72.2 of the Law 4009/2011, the internal Quality Assurance system of each institution must be constituted in accordance with international practices, in particular those of the European Higher Education Area, and with the principles and guidelines of the HQA (Article 14, 1).It is obvious that with Law 4009/2011, the QAU, as the body responsible for the quality operation of the institution at all levels, emerges as a critical factor in higher education, the quality of which it is called upon to ensure continuously, to monitor and to coordinate on an ongoing basis; also, that the success of the QAU’s work depends on (Article 14.4):
- cooperation with the HQA
- the development of an information system for the management of data relating to the operation of the institution,
- responsibility for the monitoring and publication on the institution’s website of the procedures relating to the assessment and their results.