Forming expert environment for accreditation of educational programs: A case of Ukraine

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The new system of educational programs’ accreditation and the establishment of the National Agency for Higher Education Quality Assurance (NAQA) as an independent regulator has led to the demand for professional experts who can evaluate the educational programs of universities at a qualitatively new level. The paper aims to analyze the formation of the expert environment in Ukraine by conducting numerous training in various formats, as well as to assess the relationship between training and the quality of accreditation visits. The correlation analysis was used to substantiate the conclusions. Based on a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the experience of training experts in the accreditation of study programs in Ukrainian higher education institutions, the results of a pro-active approach by the NAQA in 2019–2021 were presented. It is shown that the accreditation system has been working without red tape, the taint of corruption, using transparency mechanisms, and expert advice since the end of 2019. The accreditation format according to the ESG-2015 standards made it possible to form an expert environment in Ukraine in a short time and encourage changes in higher education. Despite many pieces of training and consultations, many experts and representatives of the Sectoral Expert Council (SEC), evaluating study programs, still provide criticism, prejudice, and not advice and assistance. To minimize such negative practices, NAQA regularly conducts online webinars, briefings for expert groups and heads of study programs, and rotates experts and members of the SEC.

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    • Figure 1. Pathway for NAQA experts training
    • Figure 2. Site visit
    • Figure 3. Elements of study program accreditation
    • Figure 4. Expert assessment of the accreditation procedure
    • Figure 5. Usefulness of NAQA Expert training
    • Table 1. Training of accreditation experts conducted by NAQA in 2019
    • Table 2. Selection of NAQA accreditation experts in 2019–2020
    • Table 3. 2019–2021 NAQA decisions
    • Table 4. Expert response correlation matrices, 67 respondents (January–February 2020)
    • Table 5. Expert response correlation matrices, 647 respondents (March–August 2020)
    • Table 6. Expert response correlation matrices, 901 respondents (September–December 2020)
    • Table 7. Expert response correlation matrices, 1,296 respondents (January–April 2021)
    • Table 8. Features of offline and online NAQA training sessions
    • Conceptualization
      Oleksandr Dluhopolskyi, Olena Knysh
    • Investigation
      Oleksandr Dluhopolskyi, Olena Knysh
    • Project administration
      Oleksandr Dluhopolskyi, Olena Knysh
    • Writing – original draft
      Oleksandr Dluhopolskyi
    • Writing – review & editing
      Oleksandr Dluhopolskyi, Olena Knysh, Ihor Oleksiv, Lesia Smyrna
    • Methodology
      Olena Knysh, Ihor Oleksiv, Lesia Smyrna, Oksana Panchenko
    • Formal Analysis
      Ihor Oleksiv, Lesia Smyrna, Oksana Panchenko
    • Supervision
      Ihor Oleksiv, Oksana Panchenko