The establishment of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) has brought about a new university scene characterized by educational changes that include notable aspects such as giving greater responsibility to students for their own learning process, using training for capabilities as a basis for curricula, providing incentives for mobility throughout the university community, and emphasizing the need to be accountable to society, among others.
Within this new working context, in 2005 the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), issued at the request of the ratifying ministers the document containing the Quality Assurance Criteria and Directives for Universities within the European Higher Education Area, which specifies the essential recommendations for carrying out the proposed process for university harmonization.
In Spain, Organic Law 4/2007 of April 12, which modifies Organic Law 6/2001 of December 21, on Universities, establishes a new structure for university teaching and degree programs in Spain, in consonance with the objectives established for creation of the EHEA.
Royal Decree 1393/2007 of October 29, which is modified by R.D. 861/2010 of July 2 and R.D. 534/2013 of July 12, which establishes the organization of official university degree programs, and R.D. 99/2011 of January 28, which regulates the official doctoral degree programs and establishes the regulatory framework for organization and verification of official degree programs.
As established in the cited legislation, the proposals for new official degree programs must be subjected to an evaluation process prior to their verification. In this process, quality agencies are responsible for performing prior evaluation and for issuing a binding report for the Council of Universities, which is the body responsible for verification of new degrees. The regulations establish that prior evaluation of the curricula may be performed by Spain's National Agency for Evaluation of Quality and Accreditation and by the evaluation entities established by the laws of Spain's Autonomous Communities, which must comply with the criteria and quality standards established within the European Higher Education Area (EHEA): they must be full members of the ENQA and must be entered in the European Quality Agencies Register (EQAR).
In the Autonomous Community of Galicia, the ACSUG possesses the legal authorities and technical competency to perform advance verification of official undergraduate, master's, and doctoral degree programs.