Quality assurance in Higher Education | Daily News

Quality assurance in Higher Education

In recent years, the role of students in the quality assurance of higher education has become recognized, across Europe, South East Asian countries as being both necessary and desirable. Students have increasingly become involved in the improvement and enhancement of their own learning experiences.

Whether it be through providing feedback on the programmes they have taken, contributing to the development of learning and teaching in their subject area, participating in university decision making processes, or representing student views in any number of ways through a student union or other representative body -students’ voices are today being heard loudly and clearly and, ever more often, their views are being taken seriously in many of the countries in Europe, South East Asia.

This article brings together a wide range of sources of evidence about the variety of types and levels of involvement of students in the quality assurance of higher education in the European Higher Education Area. Students are involved within the processes of their ‘own’ institutions, as part of the quality assurance of institutions and programmes by outside bodies, and in the review of the quality assurance of those bodies themselves. Participation takes many forms, both formal and informal.

European quality assurance provides opportunities for the exchange of information and ideas on all areas of the quality assurance of higher education. The rich diversity of student involvement with quality assurance provides us with an abundant resource from which we can research and share good practice and so help all involved to learn and to develop.

Present context in student involvement

Due to marginalization of political interferences the real needs of the students are not being heard in Sri Lanka. Union activities are not towards the development of the university or the respective welfare activity rather those activities are aimed at achieving objectives of one specific group of individuals. This trend needs to be stopped. Student leaders and followers need to take the proactive role in participating the development process of their universities and the community at large. Life of a student is important throughout the value addition process in higher education.

Value of students in quality assurance in higher education

Students are at the centre of all that we do in higher education. We need to involve students in most areas of our work in higher education as they are the best stakeholders to rate the outcome of the higher education and education. UK quality assurance highly engaging students in quality assurance process. Students are involved in review teams, on the Quality Assuarance and Acreditation Board and provide them with advice through Student Advisory Committees.

What is student engagement?

Student engagement is about empowering students to shape their own educational experience and creating excellent teaching and learning.

The following organisations support student engagement across the UK:

The Student Engagement Partnership (TSEP) champions and develops student engagement in the higher education sector in England. It is supported by the National Union of Students (NUS) who’s Vice President for Higher Education is a Quality Assuarance and Accreditation Board member. SPARQS (student partnerships in quality Scotland) is an agency which puts students at the heart of decisions being made about the quality and governance of the learning experience. They support students to shape the nature of their learning and contribute to the overall success of learning provision, regardless of wherever and however they learn.

Wise Wales is a collaboration of organisations working to create a culture of meaningful partnership between educators, students’ unions and students across Wales. They help to share best practice, and above all put the collective student voice at the heart of what they do.

How can students get involved in quality assurance?

Each university or college of higher education is responsible for ensuring the quality and standards of its courses and those students are achieving appropriate standards for the level they are studying at, as set out in the UK Quality Code for Higher Education.

They are responsible for checking that universities and colleges are maintaining the standards required and continuously improving on them – this is what we mean by quality assurance. The reports we produce inform students and the wider public whether a provider meets the expectations of the UK higher education sector.

Opportunities for students to take part in the quality assurance of higher education include:

Being a representative for the programme to be developed

Getting involved with the students’ union at the institution – there is often an Education Officer amongst the elected officers in the UK higher education system

Look out for opportunities at Quality Assuarance to become a student reviewer or student member of the Committee

Being a Lead Student Representative and contributing to a student submission, the meeting with the review team and the response to review outcomes.

Students could talk to students’ union or request for more information about how to get involved in quality assuarance process.

Role of students

The role of the students consists in being the largest stakeholder in higher education, investing time and money in education.

As such they have a special interest in factors that are relevant in making education a good investment. Students should be seen as partners in the academic community, because they often have a balanced view of the aim of the academic institution; on the cultural, political and historical aspects of the academic community; on the institutions’ role in society and on the future of the academic tradition.

This insight combined with factors such as the influence of their age, their peer group, and the time they live in, means that students may bring a valuable perspective into the panel’s work if the students involvement could be recognized in the review process in the higher education sector especially.

However, Sri Lanka will need time to adapt to such practices.

Wider participation and equitable access

Wider participation in higher education is important including disable category where we feel that undergraduate degree programmes in special needs education are lacking.

Improving disable friendly atmosphere in universities is needed. Student unions and leaders need to ensure facilitating rest of the students including the disable category in higher education and recommend further developments rather than damaging the public property and taking the revenge from the society at large. The famous quote “Quit or Learn” is more appropriate in present context.

 


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