EVA’s mandate includes conducting evaluations of higher education on its own initiative. Altogether there are 50 institutions of higher education that offer short-cycle higher education programmes, about 130 offering medium-cycle programmes (26) and about 12 that are subject to the Universities Act and that offer long-cycle programmes of higher education.
The DVU unit, which is responsible for evaluations in higher education, is the largest of EVA’s educational units. This is the area in which there is greatest experience and which is best established (27). Between 2000 and 2005 22 evaluations of higher education were conducted in accordance with the action plans.
But EVA’s role can hardly be taken for granted. Changes have taken place since 2000 in all areas of tertiary education that affect the conditions for EVA’s evaluations:
The short-cycle higher education programmes were reformed in 2000 and the reform involved the establishment by the institutions of internal quality assurance systems for each programme. Annual self-evaluation and follow-up plans have to be drawn up.
The draft of the new Universities Act sent out for consultation to the institutions and other stakeholders in November 2002 (28) contained a proposal that would result in EVA’s evaluation mandate no longer applying to research-based programmes in higher education – the long-cycle programmes. In the final version of the Act, however, this proposal had been removed and EVA’s mandate continued (29).
Nor is EVA’s role self-evident where commissioned undertakings are concerned. The Universities Act lays down that the boards of the universities are to sign a “development contract” with the ministry each year. This is to contain the university’s account of its plans for the evaluation of its own activities, the results of these evaluations and its plans on how they are to be followed up. EVA may be selected to carry out the evaluations – or another Danish or foreign evaluation agency.
During the summer of 2005 negotiations are taking place between EVA and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation on what form EVA’s next action plan will take. Discussions with EVA are intended to provide a basis for the ministry’s subsequent negotiations with the universities on the contents of their development contracts.