We are at the end of the activities planned and carried out within the QUAEM Tempus Project, appropriate time to initiate a review of the results and their impact on the education system in Moldova.

The project was designed starting with a thorough analysis of the existing situation in higher education in Moldova, especially the dimension of quality assurance of studies, based on experience and best practices of educational institutions and quality assurance agencies in the member states of the EU. The objectives set had an ambitious character and aimed at streamlining existing structures for quality assurance within partner higher education institutions, strengthening institutional structures of quality assurance and ensuring the their sustainable operation, support to state entities in Moldova in developing its own quality assurance system at all levels and, as a logical output, external evaluation of four study programs, evaluation conducted in accordance with the ESG accreditation standards.

To achieve them, there were planned and carried out a number of activities, both within the partner educational institutions in Moldova and the European partner institutions. In particular, it aimed at helping higher education institutions to implement new internal functioning quality assurance systems through:
-training activities for human resources in higher education institutions, both at the level of governing bodies of universities and at the level of internal quality assurance committees or those involved in developing study programs;
-developing methodologies for internal and external quality evaluation in accordance with current European standards and the specifics of each higher education institution;
-making recommendations to improve university management;
-increasing the capacity of institutional self-evaluation and benchmarking;
-active involvement of students in quality assurance processes, creating an efficient and sustainable dialogue between the structures of quality assurance and teachers involved in the study and research process;
-training on developing self-evaluation reports of study programs for the international accreditation of four pilot study programs, from the first cycle (Bachelor) provided by partner higher education institutions;
-providing support with regard to capacity development and contribution in establishing the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Professional Education (ANACIP).

The achievement of activities under the QUAEM Tempus Project was consistent with the period of institutionalization of the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Professional Education in Moldova. In this period, ANACIP obtained legal status and along with quality assurance managers from universities benefited from training in the field of quality assurance. Having the QUAEM training background and experience in the field of education and quality assurance, gained over a long period of activity in higher education institutions, several members participating in the project were actively involved in the process of institutionalization and establishment of ANACIP’s team, participating in competitions for the selection of Agency’s Governing Board members and of the administrative staff of ANACIP, the newly established entity. As a result of an internationally juried public competition, four QUAEM team members, representatives of four universities in Moldova: Lora Moșanu-Șupac, Liliana Rotaru, Lilian Șaptefrați and Andrei Chiciuc were selected as members of the Governing Board of the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Professional Education. Subsequently, following recruitment competitions, two other QUAEM team members, Felicia Banu and Stela Guvir, were employed as heads of departments of the administrative apparatus of ANACIP.

Another important activity carried out under the QUAEM Project regarded the external evaluation of 15 study programs. Starting from the training of quality managers, people responsible for developing study programs and teaching staff involved in the educational process to the actual process of external evaluation of study programs undertaken by the evaluators of the German Agency for Quality Assurance - AQAS, everyone was provided with explicit guidance and learned how to get prepared to an external evaluation, how is the evaluation process conducted and what can be the results. This was an invaluable experience to ensure the sustainability of QUAEM project activities.

A unique and very useful experience for ANACIP representatives and university managers was the criteria elaboration process for the external evaluation of study programs, by adjusting the criteria used by AQAS to the realities and specificities of higher education in Moldova. In this context, the project partners, including ANACIP employees have benefited from training organized by AQAS employees in order to develop self-evaluation reports compliant with the standards of the German Agency for Quality Assurance. At the same time, Moldavian partners had the opportunity to participate in planning and organizing visits of experts from the evaluation committees etc., experience that can and will be transposed in ANACIP procedures. Last but not least, the evaluation criteria applied by AQAS were the basis for the evaluation standards that are being developed by ANACIP.

Subsequently, the experience gained under the project has been widely used in the drafting of the Methodology of external quality evaluation for provisional authorization and accreditation of study programs and educational institutions, as well as evaluation and accreditation standards used in the Republic of Moldova.
Another successful activity of this project was the dissemination process of the practices gained by national partners in the project to other higher education institutions. This activity took place both at the conference “From quality assurance to strategic development” organized at Moldova State University, as well as working sessions / meetings of the implementation team members of the project to higher education institutions, each time being hosted by the University of Leipzig and the State University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Nicolae Testemitanu”.

Among the activities organized under the project and to be taken over in ANACIP activities and experiences can be mentioned student involvement in quality assurance process. Students selected by higher education institutions benefited from a training organized by the European Students Union (ESU) in Brussels. During the visit to the European forum, the direct beneficiaries of the educational process were acquainted with both the need for and ways of involvement in the educational process and the possibilities for involvement in external evaluation of study programs. Thus, QUAEM contributed to the training of future expert evaluators with student status.
Today we can say with certainty that as a result of the above mentioned activities, the project has achieved all the objectives envisaged bringing a significant contribution to the development and strengthening of the quality assurance process at both institutional and national levels.

During the first six months of its activity, ANACIP decided to fully use in its activity the experience gained under the project, thus contributing to the implementation and dissemination of the results obtained and the experience and good practices of European quality assurance agencies involved in the Project. The proceeding process and the accreditation activities within the QUAEM project represent a new and useful experience for both the operation of the quality assurance agency and for educational institutions that “tasted” from the external evaluation process.

The reform process of the higher education system has undergone both quantitative and qualitative structural and content changes. Quality assurance is considered to be an important factor in enhancing the attractiveness and competitiveness of institutions and the educational system in Moldova, and ANACIP’s mission is to play a key role in guaranteeing quality standards.