Responsibility, Accountability on Students Life in Higher Education | Daily News


Responsibility, Accountability on Students Life in Higher Education

Student is the key stakeholder in the Higher Education. Programme design, mode of delivery, teaching and learning outcomes are centred on the student. In recent years, the role of student 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. However, in majority of countries including South Asia student unions and Student activism had shown an impact on the deterioration in the culture of the respective universities. Further, the role of academia has drastically narrowed to self-centred profession.

History in universities in the global landscape shows the rich value of maintaining ethics and norms within the university by academia and student. There was close ties between the student, academia and the administration to facilitate the student life within the university. This relationship was fascinated and it was really helpful to identify student potential and further developing their attitudes. The non-adherence to ethics and norms within the university has lead deterioration of its values at large which has an impact on the Society in multiple ways.

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 process in higher education in the world to raise the awareness among the rest of the universities.

Role of academia, administration and non-administration

Role of academia while adhering to the hours of work load and research, need to centred on the student to mould them to the next generation and this basic concept has been neglected in many of the universities in the world. At present we talk much about “autonomy of academia”. Welfare of the student has been neglected and almost zero in many of the developing countries. Grants in many international organisations are basically given to research and for following a certain degree programme or a postgraduate degree programme. Donor agencies in higher education need to ensure the interest of key stakeholders. If the trickle-down effect is not practicing in higher education today’s challenges cannot be met by bold leaders. The life of a student is such a very important matter in higher education. Moulding the student life is part of the responsibility of Academia. This task was based on a strong bond between the student and the lecturer from the history in the world of education.

Responsibility, accountability on students life

(See figure 1)When we analyses increasing number of suicide cases and ragging incidents took place within universities in the past decade in universities, those are inhuman and these incidents happening globally, shows the deterioration of the strong bond we have within the university with academia, students and administration. The responsibility and the accountability on the student life has largely neglected by universities rather those places have become commercialize hubs. Within such scenario respect for each other and the values cannot be expected.

Crude awakening: Necessity of student counselling

Most of the universities have neglected the student counselling at large. Professional counselling in universities is needed. In many of the instances students are referring to a medical doctor rather looking at the issue faced by the student. The student population in universities consists of poor, middleclass, rich and different levels of the society. However, we need to identify the student as unique within the university as every student has some kind of potential within their lives. Each matter is diverse concerning the student issue and need careful consideration. Most of the developing countries do not consider the “student” as an important stakeholder.

Student as a part of institutional and programme review

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. However in South Asian region that has been neglected.

Providing feedback on the programmes followed by students, 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 is important for the beneficial of the university.

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 with an abundant resource from which we can research and share good practice and help all involved to learn and to develop.

Present context in student involvement in developing countries

Due to marginalization of political interferences the real needs of the students are not being heard in many developing countries. 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 political 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. The responsibility and accountability on the student life need to be understood by all within the university. 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. Developed countries such as United Kingdom highly engage 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. This process enriches the life of student and as a main stakeholder of higher education.

What is student engagement?

Student engagements in quality assurance process in developing countries are still in the initial stage. Therefore, it is essential to make aware on the engagement of students. It is about empowering students to shape their own educational experience and creating excellent teaching and learning.

The Student Engagement Partnership (TSEP), SPARQS (student partnerships in quality Scotland) in UK are few examples on organisations and agencies that put students at the heart of decisions being made about the quality and governance of the learning experience. They are champions and develop student engagement in the higher education sector. 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.

How can students get involved in quality assurance?

Each university or an institute of higher education is responsible for ensuring the quality and standards of its programmes and those students are achieving appropriate standards for the level they are studying at, as set out in the respective country Quality Code for Higher Education. They are responsible for checking that universities and institutes 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 respective country‘s higher education sector.

Opportunities for students to take part in the quality assurance of higher education can be included as follows:

* Student can be a representative for the programme to be developed in the university or higher education institute

* Getting involved with the students’ union at the university or institution – there is often an Education Officer amongst the elected officers in the developed countries such as UK higher education system.

* Students could also 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 assurance process. However, this process applies where there is a system of getting involved with students in Quality Assurance in higher education in respective countries.

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, developing countries will need time to adapt to such best practices as basically we need to have positive attitudes towards the university, as a main stakeholder. Students union has to learn the quality assurance process and its contribution to their own programmes and the university.

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 globally. Improving disable friendly atmosphere in every university 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.

By creating a culture of meaningful partnership between educators, students’ unions and students across the world will help to share best practice, and above all put the collective student voice at the heart of what they do. 

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