Quality in focus – A summary of the quality audits of Finnish HEIs 2012–2018

Higher education Mirella Nordblad

NEW PUBLICATION FINEEC has conducted a meta-synthesis of the second cycle audits of Finnish higher education institutions (2012-2018). The objective of the meta-synthesis was to form an overall picture of the strengths and enhancement areas in quality management at Finnish universities and universities of applied sciences (UAS).

Quality in focusQuality audits of Finnish higher education institutions 2012–2018 summarises the key findings of the audits.



The objective of the second audit cycle was to support Finnish HEIs in developing quality systems that correspond with European quality assurance standards and guidelines (ESG), and the continuous improvement of the HEIs’ activities. The audits also aimed to support the HEIs in achieving their own goals.


Quality management has a firm foundation in Finnish HEIs


One of the main outcomes of the second audit cycle was that Finnish HEIs have well-functioning quality systems that meet European standards and guidelines (ESG). In all of the six areas assessed in the audits, most of the HEIs were assessed to have a good level of quality management. Of the 40 HEIs audited only 4 HEIs were required to undergo a re-audit.

In general, the audits provided a positive image of the quality work at HEIs. Several of the audit reports highlighted that staff felt that quality work was part of their everyday activities.

Quality systems are not separate from other activities. Quality management is connected to HEIs’ operational management and strategic objectives. Quality systems produce information that supports the continuous improvement and targeting of institutions’ activities.


Quality management requires a more systematic approach


Finnish HEIs have achieved a good level of quality management, but there are still several areas with room for improvement, as the summary highlights. The audit teams’ recommendations to the HEIs often contained similar themes: quality management requires a more systematic approach; procedures must be harmonised; and variations in quality management within institutions require action by HEIs.

Concerning monitoring and feedback information, it should also be considered that the information collected supports the achievement of strategic objectives and operational development.

In all HEIs, there are excellent practices and expertise that could be better disseminated and used within the institutions. The participation of external stakeholders and students in the enhancement activities of the institutions could also be further improved.


More on FINEEC audits and the HEIs’ strengths and enhancement areas in quality management in the Quality in Focus publication.


For more information on the analysis of second cycle quality audits, please contact


Senior Advisor Mirella Nordblad, +358 29 533 5541, firstname.lastname@karvi.fi
Senior Advisor Mira Huusko, +358 29 533 5565, firstname.lastname@karvi.fi
Head of Unit, Vice Director Hannele Seppälä, +358 29 533 5550, firstname.lastname@karvi.fi