QUALITY ASSURANCE IN HIGHER EDUCATION

A cutting edge to produce manpower needed to meet the needs of 21st Century

By Prof. Dr. KHAWAJA AMJAD SAEED
M.Com. L.Lb (Pb.); MBA (Lebanon); Ph.D. (USA); FCMA; FCA
Principal, Hailey College of Banking & Finance,
University of the Punjab, Lahore
 Oct 24 - 30, 2005

There is an urgent need to develop framework for policy planners, educational technologists and practitioners to review the present higher education system in the country. In this paper a framework has been suggested through a checklist approach for reviewing the higher education system for quality assurance. The approach suggested is a breakthrough rather than incremental or continuous. Seven constituents conceptualized in this respect include; teachers, students, curriculum, examination, administrative structure, financial aspects and ideological & related aspects.

In respect of each of the foregoing constituents 12 significant aspects have been suggested. Accordingly the checklist consists of 84 points. The stake holders are urged to undertake the review in the list of 84 points and achieve the objective of educational quality assurance.

There are several constituents of reviewing quality assurance frontiers relating to Higher Education. On the basis of experience gained, in our opinion, there are seven main constituents consisting of twelve major points to review. This paper presents a conceptual framework in respect of the above aspects to enable educationalists to undertake a thorough review and self-appraisal to pave the way for improvement.

IMPROVEMENT DIMENSIONS

In the past, the approach used to making improvements was of incremental nature. With the passage of time, the approach changed to continuous improvement. However, under the Knowledge Based Economy (KBE) Approach, the crying need is breakthrough improvement. Educational policy makers are urged to follow this approach so that the spirit of quality assurance in higher education is translated into reality.

FRAMEWORK

The seven major constituents for breakthrough improvement for quality assurance in higher education are suggested as under:

1) Teachers
2) Students
3) Curriculum
4) Examinations
5) Administrative Structure
6) Financial Aspects
7) Ideological and related aspects

Twelve significant aspects are suggested to be reviewed in respect of each of the above constituents.

CONSTITUENTS

Each of the seven aspects together with twelve points for review for breakthrough improvements are contained in the following boxes as a checklist:

TEACHERS

1. Induction
2. Training
•Orientation
•Pre-Service
•During Service
3. Retention
4. Remuneration
5. Productivity Evaluation
6. Logistics - Inbound
7. Career Path
8. Evaluation
9.
Financial Support
•Quality Teaching
•Quality Research
•Quality Services/Counseling
•For Innovation
10. Environment of work
11. Motivation
12. Other aspects

STUDENTS

1. Admission
2. Orientation
3. Teaching-cum-Learning approach
4. Strategy of development
•Intellectual
•Physical
•Moral
•Social
•Spiritual
5. Financial incentives for needy-cum-meritorious
6. Code of Conduct
7. Participation in involvement of activities
8. Dress Code
9. Depoliticisation
10. Field Orientation
11. Role in national development
12. Other Aspects

CURRICULUM

1. Process of development
2. Relevance of needs
3. Market driven ability
4. Revision
5. Course outline
6. Balance
7. Interdisciplinary approach
8. Stakeholders involvement
9. Institutional arrangements
10. Pedagogy
11. Use of Text books, cases, journals, library material, internet, etc.
12. Other Aspects

EXAMINATION

1. Objectives
2. System:
•Internal Evaluation
•External Evaluation
•Hybrid
3. Approach:
•Open book
•MCQs
•Essay type
•Cases
•Projects
•Presentations
4. Learning Log
5. Comprehension testing:
•Through papers
•Through comprehensive examination
•Oral
•Written
6. Periodicity:
•Frequency
•Continuous
7. Examiners Selection
8. Examination Hall arrangements
9. Unfair mean cases
10. Question Papers quality
11. Pass Marks & Feedback
12. Other Aspects

ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE

1. Chief Executive Selection
2. Administrative Bodies
3. Meetings:
•Frequency
•Discipline
4. Autonomy
5. Performance of Bodies
6. Appointment of Staff Mechanism
7. Post Appointment training
8. Training of administrative staff
9. Influences:
•Internal
•External
10. Decision
11. Implementation
12. Evaluations

FINANCIAL ASPECTS

1. Double Entry Book-Keeping
2. Balance Sheet and Income & Expenditure Statement
3. Budgeting System
4. Financial Controls
5. Resource Mobilization
6. Expenditure rationalization
7. Training to Staff
8. Variance Analysis
9. Protection of Assets
10. Minimization of risks
11. Maximization of returns
12. Other Aspects

IDEOLOGICAL AND RELATED ASPECTS

1. Islamic Values
2. Pakistan's Orientation
3. Political Influences
4. Modern Values
5. Globalization
6. Gown-Town relationship
7. Societal norms
8. Counseling
9. Seminars/Workshops
10. Behavioral Improvement
11. Expected learning outcomes
12. Other Aspects

CONCLUSION

It is suggested that a continuous review as an ongoing exercise should be carried out in respect of the above seven constituents in respect of twelve points so that the framework is used to ensure quality assurance in higher education. This will enable significant improvements using quality as a cutting edge to produce manpower needed to meet the needs of 21st century.