Article 1(4) of the Statutes of the Polish Accreditation Committee stipulates that the activities of the Committee are subject to external review at least once every five years in accordance with the operational arrangements for accreditation agencies working within the European Higher Education Area.
In 2008 and 2013, the Polish Accreditation Committee was subjected to external review by a panel of international experts. The strategic goal of the review was obtaining/renewing full membership in ENQA and registration in EQAR. As a result of the external review held in early 2009, PKA obtained and has maintained full membership in ENQA and has been registered in EQAR.
Just like in the previous years, the third external review of the activities of the Polish Accreditation Committee held in 2018 aims at confirming full membership in ENQA by specifying the degree to which PKA meets the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in European Higher Education Area (ESG), as stipulated in Part 2 and 3 thereof, and equivalent EQAR standards, which will allow for renewing the registration in EQAR.
Over this time, legal regulations pertaining to Polish higher education have been repeatedly changed. The dynamics of changes, particularly these in the scope of legal regulations, has resulted in the need for the Polish Accreditation Committee to adapt to the new requirements. Having regard to the above, the self-assessment report presents the role PKA plays in the higher education system in Poland after the subsequent amendments of Polish Law on Higher Education. The new legal context, in which PKA currently operates has been accompanied by the emergence of new challenges for the operations of the institution. The Polish Accreditation Committee has made best efforts in order to assure that the new approach to the evaluation process, which at present involves only one path, i.e. programme evaluation, is understood by all the stakeholders.
The Polish Accreditation Committee believes that the external review contributes to greater effectiveness of its internal quality assurance system, because the external review allows to identify the weaknesses, which were not noticed by PKA and to indicate the directions for the development of the Committee, also in the context of the professionalisation of accreditation agencies operating in the European Higher Education Area.
Due to the fact that self-assessment is inherently a subjective analysis, PKA strived at its objectivisation by confronting opposing points of view. For this purpose, representatives of various circles, including persons representing different bodies and sections operating within PKA and experts who cooperate with the Committee (students, employers) were included in the self-assessment process. The inclusion of a large number of people in the self-assessment report consultation process was of paramount importance to PKA. The draft self-assessment report was the subject of internal consultations within PKA (Presidium, Sections, the Appeals Body, the Ethics Team, PKA Bureau, experts) and external consultations (Ministry of Science and Higher Education, General Council for Science and Higher Education, Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland, Conference of Rectors of Non-University Higher Education Institutions in Poland, Conference of Rectors of Public Non-University Higher Education Institutions in Poland, the Polish Chamber of Commerce, Students’ Parliament of the Republic of Poland). The final version of the self-assessment report with appendices was approved at the plenary session of the Committee held on 22 February 2018 and at the beginning of March 2018 submitted to the Secretariat responsible for the coordination of the ENQA external review process.