Bilateral collaborations with national and international quality assurance agencies

An alternative to a review process conducted solely by MusiQuE is for MusiQuE to operate in collaboration with a national or international quality assurance agency through a merged set of standards and procedures. This option is especially attractive for institutions wishing to benefit from the joint expertise of:

  • a national agency and a subject-specific and internationally-based agency. Both MusiQuE and national quality assurance agencies have their own strengths, expertise and accumulated history; it makes obvious sense to combine these in a complementary way
  • two international subject-specific agencies complementing each other when institutions provide education in other artistic fields than music

Objectives of bilateral collaborations with national quality assurance agencies

  • To provide the opportunity for higher music education institutions who are obliged to work within their national system, or who find positive benefits in doing so, to choose to be evaluated through a process which combines the best of both approaches. It does this by offering a procedure that is both attuned to national priorities and informed, in its design and delivery, by those with specialist knowledge and understanding of such institutions
  • To offer a procedure that, while respecting national patterns and priorities, is intrinsically international in its outlook and in the range of countries from which experts are drawn
  • While observing appropriate formality in the proceedings, to stimulate a process of internal reflection on quality issues and to bring fresh ideas and wider perspectives into institutions, encouraging the principle of ‘many correct answers’
  • To deliver a procedure which, although its primary purpose may be to fulfil a legislative requirement, can be of genuine benefit and enhancement to the institution, its teachers and students, both in the debate and reflection it stimulates and in the changes that it may initiate

Process of bilateral collaborations (with national and international quality assurance agencies)

  • Once a request of proposals is received, MusiQuE checks if the potential partner agency is listed on EQAR, in order to know if it will need to ensure ESG compliance of the parts of the work performed by the agency
  • A collaboration agreement is signed outlining the steps of the procedures and the responsibilities of each party
  • A comparison is made of the (inter)national agency’s standards with those of MusiQuE – except when the national agency has expressed a preference to work with the MusiQuE Standards rather than its own standards. Arising out of this exercise, a merged set of standards is produced ensuring that no aspect found in either of the separate standards is omitted. Generally, the level of correspondence between standards is found to be high, and the comparison process results in enhanced mutual trust and, from time to time, a productive sharing of practice. The joint framework of assessment thus created, is subjected to the approval of the agencies’ Boards or general management at the beginning of the review process
  • The selection process of experts is also characterised by cooperation. The final review team seeks to blend subject-specific expertise with a familiarity with any particular national circumstances. Precisely how this is done, and the division of responsibilities such as Chairing amongst members of the finally constituted panel will be subject to negotiation but, again, the guiding principle will be one of equality between the partners
  • The contact with and support to the institution is handled by one of the partners (in order to facilitate the process for the institution)
  • The organisation of the site-visit is handled by one of the partners (in order to facilitate the process for the institution and the Review Team)
  • The checking process of the report is usually performed by both agencies, and the final report is normally approved by both agencies
  • The follow-up procedure is agreed on by both agencies
  • The complaints and appeals procedure is agreed on by both agencies


  • The precise outcome will depend upon the nature of the cooperation but will always take the form of a report written by international specialists in the relevant musical field
  • The report is published on the MusiQuE website
  • The fulfilment of any recommendations or conditions will be subject to the procedures of the national agency or, where the legal framework allows, to the collaboration agreement between the agencies involved
  • In the case of accreditation procedures:

– Although terminology may vary, the report will conclude with a call for accreditation without any recommendations or conditions, accreditation with recommendations only or accreditation subject to certain conditions, whether on their own, or in addition to recommendations.
– As with MusiQuE’s own procedures, there will generally be a possibility that accreditation might be withheld when conditions are not met in the timeframe set, in which case, appropriate remedial steps would be outlined.

Cooperation with National Agencies

MusiQuE has cooperated with the following National Quality Assurance Agencies: