Published: 2020-04-08 12:51 | Updated: 2020-04-08 12:53

KI given official approved quality assurance processes with reservations

Karolinska Institutet’s quality assurance processes have been “approved with reservations” by the Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ). The UKÄ intends to review all higher education institutions by 2022 in order to ensure a high standard and quality improvements in higher education.

An HEI’s quality assurance processes are judged jointly with the UKÄ using, amongst other indicators, a self-rating based on the UKA’s assessment criteria and a student influence report issued by its student union(s). UKÄ inspectors also make two site visits to the HEI during the assessment, which for KI’s part began in the spring of 2019. An independent assessment panel then processes the information. On 31 March 2020, the panel announced its verdict: KI’s quality assurance processes are approved, but with reservations.

The UKÄ’s assessment was made of education at bachelor, master and doctoral level. One of KI’s many strengths is its aim to maintain a cohesive quality system that is the same throughout the university for all education, research and general operational support. Another is peer review and learning, which fosters transparency and understanding between different operational units.

Development of the quality system

The reservations concern the assessment areas “Governance and organisation” and “Gender equality”. KI will now be taking steps to develop its quality system along the lines that the assessment has indicated.

“Right now we’re focusing on making sure our study programmes follow our quality-assurance processes and that our students obtain the education to which they are entitled, in spite of the ongoing pandemic,” says KI president Ole Petter Ottersen.

“Meanwhile, we’ll be producing an action plan based on the assessment panel’s statement and the UKÄ’s decision as well as the areas of improvement that we identified in our self-evaluation.”

Improvement areas

Priority improvement actions are:

  • To produce a plan for regular and more detailed reviews of all KI’s study programmes.
  • To fully implement the cyclical and systematic improvement process by developing the follow-up and feedback phases and to make improvements in education at all levels and throughout the organisation.
  • To clarify and ensure adherence to our gender equality policy at programme and course level.

Chalmers University of Technology, the Stockholm School of Economics, the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) were also under assessment at the same time as KI. Of these, the SLU’s quality assessment processes were the only ones to obtain an “approved” judgement; all others were “approved with reservations”.