Recommendation on transparency tools (09/13/2011)

In a European context, recently, a lot of work is being done on transparency tools that should deliver objective information about programmes and institutions. The Vlor wrote this recommendation at its own initiative.

The Vlor distinguishes three kinds of transparency instruments: - the transparency tools of the Bologna process; - transparency tools that lead to a classification of institutions; - rankings, on the basis of the performance of these institutions on selected indicators.

The transparency tools of the Bologna process have proven helpful. Common work in this field has to be continued. With regard to the development of additional transparency instruments, the Vlor states that the following elements are essential in the discussion:

  • They have to capture the diversity of higher education. Variation in profiles is necessary and makes the wealth of higher education.
  • These tools should be multidimensional
  • They are best developed and used uniformly within the European context. Only then they can be used for benchmarking.
  • Stakeholders need to know clearly what is the purpose of these tools is and what the government intends to use them for.
  • They should not lead to an increased workload.
  • The purpose of these tools is the collection and provision of information to various stakeholders. They provide information for policy and should not be used as a ranking tool.
  • The Vlor does not encourage the use of rankings, but if the international trend in favour of rankings continues, the Vlor urges to be especially careful in interpreting the results of these rankings.
  • These tools can not replace external and internal quality care. Their first objective is to provide information.
  • The indicators used determine the applicability and value of transparency tools. Consultation with stakeholders on the indicators is necessary.