FINEEC is responsible for the evaluation of education provided by universities and universities of applied sciences (UAS) in Finland. The three key evaluation types are the quality audits of higher education institutions (HEIs), thematic evaluations and engineering degree programme reviews.
FINEEC is listed in the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR), which is the list of trustworthy quality assurance agencies in the European Higher Education Area. FINEEC is also a full member of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA).
Audits are independent external evaluations
The Finnish legislation for universities and universities of applied sciences contain provisions which oblige HEIs to participate in external evaluation of their activities and quality systems. Quality audits of higher education institutions covering all basic duties of the HEIs have been conducted in Finland since 2005. FINEEC audits are carried out in Finnish, Swedish and English.
Enhancement-led evaluation is the main guiding principle in FINEEC’s audits. The goal of enhancement-led evaluation is to involve staff, students and stakeholders of the HEI in recognising strengths, good practices and development areas in the HEI’s operations. The aim is also to support HEIs in achieving their own objectives, thus creating a premise for the continuous development of HEIs.
The third cycle of quality audits (2018-2024) is underway in Finland. The functionality and effectiveness of the quality system of the HEI is assessed in the audit. The focus of the audit is on the procedures used by the HEI to maintain and enhance the quality of its operations.
The purpose of the audit is to
- evaluate whether the quality work in the HEI meets the European quality assurance standards,
- assess whether the quality system produces relevant information for achievement of the strategy and the continuous development of activities, and whether it results in effective development activities,
- encourage internationalisation, experimenting and a creative atmosphere at HEIs, and
- accumulate open and transparent information on quality work at Finnish HEIs.
The Standards and Guidelines for the Quality Assurance in the EHEA (ESG) are available in English on ENQA:s website.
HEIs that pass the audit receive a Quality Label, which is valid for six years. Finnish higher education institutions with a valid quality label are listed in FINEEC’s audit register.
Thematic evaluations support decision-making and development of education
FINEEC also conducts thematic evaluations in higher education. The theme of the evaluation may concern a single area (e.g. field of education) or a wider topic (e.g. immigrants in higher education). The themes often cover areas that are important with regard to educational policy. The aim of thematic evaluations is to produce information to support decision-making and the development of education. FINEEC also evaluates themes across several educational levels (e.g. primary education, secondary education and higher education).