The QUESTE-SI Project
QUESTE-SI was a project funded under the Lifelong Learning Programme (ERASMUS) of the EU that ran for 28 months from October 2010 till January 2013. The overall objective of the project is to promote sustainable education in the field of technical and engineering education. Sustainable education is here defined as the integration of dimensions (in particular, economic, social, environmental) beyond technical dimensions in the engineering education.
The QUESTE-SI initiative has two scopes:
- The QUESTE-SI quality assurance system consists of a set of criteria and methodological recommendations that allow the institutions to evaluate their achievements in the domain and to design and implement a progress strategy reflecting on how to include sustainability in their educational programmes.
- The QUESTE-SI award is conferred to institutions after a process consisting of a self-assessment, an optional phase of guided self-development and an audit visit by a team of specially trained experts.
The project is primarily targeted towards engineering Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in Europe. The development of the award also contributes to a clarification and better transparency of the engineering education landscape, as sustainability is quickly becoming a key factor for the choice of a HEI. This will benefit to students when they select the institution in which to pursue their studies. This will also bring benefits to companies when recruiting or launching cooperation with higher education institutions.
The project was managed by a consortium led by EFMD and technically coordinated by ENQHEEI, two leading academic networks in the field of quality of higher education. The consortium was composed of 18 partners from all over Europe, as well as 2 third-country partners. This allowed to take into account the diversity of the national and regional initiatives in the field of sustainable education and to guarantee the neutrality of the QUESTE-SI initiative. This is a crucial factor to facilitate its adoption all over Europe and beyond.
The professional diversity of partners also ensures that the point of view of every stakeholder was taken into account, whether HEIs, large companies and SMEs, trade unions, professional federations and associations.
The QUESTE-SI methodology was tested on a sample of eleven pilot institutions, which helped identifying and improving different shortcomings and proposing corrective measures. This phase was very important in order to prepare the roll out of the quality assurance system and ensure its sustainability.
The QUESTE-SI project outcomes are:
- A set of background documents including the analysis and comparison of international quality systems;
- A set of reference documents, including the description of quality criteria, a referential and guidelines for self-assessment. These documents are complemented by this online platform.
- An evaluation methodology, allowing the institutions to evaluate themselves, to benchmark their achievements against similar HEIs and to put in place corrective actions, if needed.
- A panel of auditors and field experts, trained to audit the institutions and to provide them advice and guidance during the self-assessment process and the phase of guided development.
- An awarding body, composed of recognised authorities in the field, who is responsible for conferring the QUESTE-SI award.
- Eleven pioneer institutions that have gone through the entire process and have been awarded the QUESTE-SI award, hence ensuring the visibility of the initiative all over Europe and paving the way for further expansion of the network.
All reference documents, whether targeted towards the general audience or towards HEIs interested in joining the QUESTE-SI initiative, are accessible on this website.