Best opportunity to invest in quality assurance | Daily News


Best opportunity to invest in quality assurance

Quality assurance (QA) in higher education in Sri Lanka has embarked on a new platform. Sri Lanka will be hosting one of the significant international conferences in higher education in 2019 namely “International Network on Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education” (INQAAHE). Further, Asia Pacific Quality Assurance Network (APQN) will also take part in this endeavor. Many countries and regions will gather here to discuss the various factors affecting the quality of teaching and learning and to present the latest innovations and frontier QA developments.

International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE) is an international network with a noble mission to improve quality of Higher Education provisions into a global enhancement platform for quality assurance providers from all over the world. International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE) is a world-wide association of nearly 300 organisations active in the theory and practice of quality assurance in higher education.

The great majority of its members are quality assurance agencies that operate in many different ways, although the Network also welcomes (as associate members) other organisations that have an interest in QA in Higher Education in the world.

INQAAHE offers members many services, including a Journal, a Bulletin, a Query service, a Good Practice database, funding for projects and funding for a Professional Qualification in Quality Assurance. There are also conferences and fora at least annually.

The Asia-Pacific Quality Network (APQN)

The Asia-Pacific Quality Network (APQN) is a non-governmental and non-profit network with 208 members from 40 countries and territories. Its aim is “to enhance the quality of higher education in the Asia-Pacific Region through strengthening the work of quality assurance both internal and external organizations and extending the cooperation amongst each other” for its ultimate goal of “Dissolving Boundaries for a Quality Region”.

Since APQN’s inception in 2003, it has been continuously fighting “to enhance the quality of higher education”. After the 14-year development, APQN has become the largest and the most influential international organisation in this region. It has played a crucial role in improving the quality assurance mechanism, exchanging theory and practice experiences, promoting substantive co-operations among members and establishing quality platforms of APQR, APQL, Consultants and others in this Region.

The massive increase in external and internal quality assurance (QA) activity over recent decades, together with the associated thinking about it, have created a new profession that requires a structured academic discipline and programs to educate quality assurance professionals, stimulate research, and produce new initiatives.

Investment opportunities

All the State, Non-State partners in higher education will find it important in investing in such a significant conference. The proposed conference is scheduled to be held in Colombo with the participation of many international higher education quality assurance experts. State and Non – state higher education providers will be able to liaise with them in obtaining expertise in quality assurance activities.

The higher education sector in Sri Lanka will have immense opportunities on networking with other globally recognized partners in higher education and members of INQAAHE and APQN. Experience and the exposure will be valuable to carry forward the quality assurance activities of the higher education sector.

However, there is very little education and training in the world for the QA profession and its professionals. INQAAHE has now begun to fill this gap through the creation of a comprehensive program for the training and professional development of QA professionals. INQAAHE, through the considerable expertise of its members, has created materials that are available free on this website. The materials are intended as public advice and assistance in capacity-building in quality assurance and were developed by experts from around the world.

Higher education in Sri Lanka

According to the present scenario in the State sector Quality Assurance Council of the University Grants Commission takes in charge of the quality assurance activities in state universities through Internal Quality Assurance Units. However, there is no proper regulatory mechanism of quality assurance activities conducted in Non-State sector. As there is increase of student intake in the Non-State sector it is essential to implement quality assurance activities in every higher educational institute as the outcome is benefitted by the students.

Quality Assurance in higher education in Sri Lanka will face more difficulties and challenges, but will also face new opportunities. Strength and weakness co-exist; opportunity and threat go hand in hand. Based on the solid foundation and development of Quality Assurance Council of the University Grants Commission, together with all members, INQAAHE and APQN will work harder for our mission in quality in Higher education and sustainable development.

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