Cross-border higher education: a pilot accreditation exercise at the American University of Armenia

07 April 2017


© Serouj Ourishian
American University of Armenia

IIEP led a pilot accreditation exercise on 5 and 6 March at the American University of Armenia (AUA), one of the transnational higher education institutions that has participated in TEMPUS  project “Strengthening Recognition and Quality Assurance of Transnational Education in Armenia and Georgia”.


Transnational or cross-border higher education (CBHE) has become a growing phenomenon in many countries worldwide. In Armenia, 15% of students are currently enrolled in a transnational education institution (TNE). Yet, CBHE poses many challenges, such as assuring the quality and local relevance of the institutions as well as the respect of national regulatory frameworks. In response, TEMPUS aims to develop a methodology that assures the quality of transnational higher education provision in line with the UNESCO-OECD guidelines on quality provision of cross border higher education. To date, the project has realised two work packages and it is currently conducting pilot accreditations in several Armenian and Georgian universities, including the American University of Armenia (AUA) under the leadership of the Armenian and Georgian Quality Assurance Agencies. The project is managed by the French University in Armenia (UFAR). 

The first work package contributed to capacity building in quality assurance of CBHE and was implemented by IIEP together with the British Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). The second work package led to the development of criteria and indicators that would serve as a basis to assess the quality and relevance of cross border higher education. The recent pilot accreditation, provided the opportunity to assess the methodology developed under TEMPUS project as well as the extent to  which the AUA complies with the standard system developed under the Transnational Education Quality Assurance project (TNE-QA). 

The pilot accreditation could demonstrate that AUA has a strategic vision and plan; it is expanding its enrolments and diversifying its academic offer. It has developed a strong body of policies and an active quality assurance system, which guide its functioning. The University currently also works towards a strengthened stability of academic staff, a more explicit vision for its internationalisation as well a stronger record in research.

As next steps of the project, an assessment of several Georgian universities will take place during the third week of April and a meeting about the accreditation methodology will be organised in June 2017 at the University of Bath Spa (United Kingdom), one of the partners of TEMPUS project. 

For more information visit TEMPUS project website.