Basic Quality Assurance Systems in South Eastern Europe: What Works in Our Region?

The Romanian Academic Society will implement the project “Basic Quality Assurance Systems in South Eastern Europe: What Works in Our Region?” (financed by the Open Society Foundation, in partnership with the Global Development Network, within the framework of the programme “Varieties of Governance: Effective Public Service Delivery”). It is a research project in education policy, will last for 18 months and will cover 11 countries in South Eastern Europe (Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia).

The aim of the project is to compare different governance systems in quality assurance and differences they might produce in basic education (grades 1 – 8 ) output and outcome across socioeconomic groups in SE Europe. We are interested to know: Who fails to do their job in ensuring quality in basic education? Is it an institutional problem? A legal one? An enforcement one? A financing one? The scope of the research project is to determine which of the accountability links in the quality assurance system in 11 SEE countries in our selected sample lack or perform badly, thus determining differentiated quality of education outputs and outcomes across disadvantaged groups in the selected countries.

The theoretical framework draws on good governance theory, in the sense that on the one hand we look at good governance as process (asking questions such as Who makes the decision on the quality assurance standards? How transparent is the decision making process? Are all relevant stakeholders involved? Do the checks and balances among all institutions involved function properly? Is resource allocation transparent?) and on the other hand at good governance as end/ output (asking questions such as Are there any differences among education quality across schools in the same country? What do they dependon? How about within the same school? Are there any cases of segregated classrooms? Do they perform equally?). A question we will answer is what role does decentralization  (a process which is taking place in all countries in our sample, at different stages in its advancement) play on the quality assurance systems and on the quality of educational outcome in general.

The main deliverable of the project will be a cross-country comparative report, including national case studies and policy recommendations.

This project is financed by the Global Development Network and the Open Society Institute.

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