A brief guide to Europe’s university evaluation, as Greece mulls own system

At a time of greater European integration in education, it is a moot point if Greek universities can compete with their European counterparts, which bestows a crucial importance on tertiary education evaluation systems to be introduced this year in order to raise standards and pinpoint deficiencies. «We can no longer engage in navel-gazing, fearful of our opening out to Europe,» said an official of the Ministry of Education. The ministry wants to locate the education system’s weak points that cause Greek higher education to lag behind Europe. Greece is the only country without a system for evaluating higher education. Below are some of the evaluation systems that have been adopted by European countries since the early 1990s, nourishing and maturing the idea of self-criticism which appears to be not to the liking of one section of the academic community here. As a result, there is no unanimous proposal on how higher education institutes are to be evaluated. In Europe, evaluation rests on four pillars: the goals of the institute, how it attempts to realize them, how it knows it has realized them and what changes it can make to improve. Evaluation systems are based on the SWOT method, which examines – as the acronym suggests – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities to grow or develop, and threats: the risks entailed by lack of improvement.

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