Global Perspectives on Quality Assurance
Currently, a global concern in tertiary education is the establishment of quality assurance system. There is huge demand for quality assurance monitoring and associated mechanisms at the regional, national and global arena. In addition, the involvement of stakeholders through for developing more practical and outcome oriented curricula is a modern necessity in order to satisfy the academia, industry and government entities. To achieve this goal, institutions for higher education all over the globe have been introduced to the quality assurance system with formal documentation and accountability. This has resulted in the existence of quality assurance agencies such as various accreditation bodies at the national and international levels. The integration of Quality Assurance principles in higher education became effective in Europe under the Bologna Process which started in 1999. Africa, the Middle East and Asia followed this pioneer work and in South Asia; India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka already have such systems in effect. To support such activities many world recognized standard practices and procedures have been developed and the establishment of an Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) is mandatory in every university to implement the said standards.
The Practice of Quality Assurance
The driving motive of educational quality assurance is the development of graduates with the requisite knowledge, skills and attitude to face the modern world and prosper in it. The society and the country are both benefited with such graduates who can help spur economic growth and sustainable prosperity. However, the demands of the practical world are many. As per UNICEF (2000):
- Quality of learners with commitment and interest to explore their potentials maximizing the learning opportunities;
- Environments that are healthy, safe, protective and gender-sensitive, and provide adequate resources and facilities;
- Content that is reflected in relevant curricula and materials for the acquisition of basic skills, attitude and knowledge referring for life;
- Processes through which effective and student centered teaching learning and meaningful assessment to facilitate attainment of learning and reduce disparities; and
- Outcomes that encompass knowledge, skills and attitudes, and are linked to national goals for education and positive participation in society.
In an ever changing environmental setting the definition of quality education and requirements for quality education is also changing. Rapid transformations in societies brought about by the amazing development of information technologies, globalization, and the growing complexities of economic pursuits are driving people to newer engagements in livelihoods. As such, a nation can only succeed if its future generations are adept and educated enough to meet the challenges. Thus, it is the duty of educational institutions to espouse innovation, leadership, skill and ethical upbringing among its graduates; and this can only be done by ensuring quality of education which address the expectations of stakeholders, the nation and the world at large.
The Significance of QA in Bangladeshi Educational Institutions
To address the requirements and demands of today’s market, society and economy the existing study programs need to be revised and the traditional approach of teaching learning supplanted or augmented as the need may be. The needs of the graduates to explore their potentials in terms of creativity and innovation for employability and lifelong learning; their holistic development; and the inculcation of moral and ethical values at a young age all are of paramount importance. Higher Education Institutions should focus on preparing graduates with positive mindset, skills and competence, which would help them to handle real life situations.
Recently, in Bangladesh, the scope and breath of higher education has expanded with the growing number of private and public universities. Nevertheless, the quality of education in most institutions are in need of considerable improvement and upgradation. Graduates coming out of the universities have been increasingly facing difficulties in securing employment in the highly competitive job markets at home and abroad. The consequence has been the increasing pool of educated unemployed in the nation. This is also a major hindrance in the socio-economic development of the country, and hence; cannot be left unchecked. The only way to face the challenges is to focus on meeting quality standards through quality assurance. A well functioning quality assurance system could push higher education in Bangladesh forward towards greater heights with visible transparency, accountability and peoples’ confidence. As such, there is an urgency of establishing internal quality assurance system within the universities in Bangladesh.
The National Education Policy 2010 (NEP) of Bangladesh stipulated the establishment of a Bangladesh Accreditation Council that would ensure quality of the academic programs offered by the higher education institutions of the country. In accordance with this plan, the accreditation council was established by act of parliament of Bangladesh in 2017. On 10th August 2018, the GOB appointed former Vice Chancellor of Jagannath University Prof. Mesbah Uddin Ahmed, also a professor of physics department of Dhaka University, as the first chairman of the autonomous body for a four-year term. The council is the main accreditation body overseeing quality assurance in the education sector of the country.
The concept of IQAC, in line with the QA initiative of GOB is to set up the internal quality assurance system in the universities and to make them ready to meet the requirements for accreditation. The IQACs are a permanent body of the universities and after the initial setup with the help of GOB, education ministry, UGC and World Bank, is sustained and maintained under the revenue budget of each university.
Significance of IQAC
At present the growing tertiary education field is expanding in Bangladesh with the establishment of both public and private universities with a wide range of programs and degrees. Individual universities are managing study programs following their own systems and practices. But no evidence of institutional set up with defined mission and responsibility in accordance with generally accepted QA principles within the university is available.
In the absence of effective quality assurance culture, the ongoing practices lacks transparency, accountability, consistency and evidence of good practice. Internal quality assurance infrastructure is indispensable for a quality assurance culture in a university. The setting up of IQACs at public and private universities is for the main aim of promoting the QA culture to in higher education.
Establishment of IQAC at IUBAT
As per the mandate of UGC, Institutional Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) is to be established in each university under an administrative order of the university authority and included in the universities organogram. It shall be organized in such a way as befits the size, existing structure and capacity of the university as delineated in the Act.
Initially, the IQAC is to be established with the financial assistance from the Higher Eeducation Quality Enhancement Project (HEQEP) funded by the World Bank and administered by UGC. However, the IQAC shall become a permanent organ of the universities and their operations will be sustained and maintained under the revenue budget of the institution. For this purpose universities will prepare a succession plan during the project period with the objectives of its continuity.
In IUBAT the IQAC (QAP/B-009) was established on July 01, 2015 with the funding of World Bank, Government of Bangladesh and an equal matching fund from the university. It is a sub-project under HEQEP initiated by the University Grants Commission of Bangladesh (UGC).
Quality Assurance Areas
Developing Quality Assurance culture in a university is a continual and ongoing process. It demands special attention to key areas. In respect of current setting the following quality assurance areas may be critical in the context of Bangladeshi universities:
Governance is an important factor in quality assurance. Governance at university encompasses the organizational structures, legislative framework and processes through which, policies and programs are developed, managed and delivered. Governance facilitates the achievement of the stated mission and objectives of the university and its endeavor for educational quality development. The central administration and statutory bodies like Board of Trustees, Syndicate, Academic Council and the Vice Chancellor are the powerful actors in university’s governance system. The governance at the university comprises all the administrative layers from top management to the program coordinator level.
Curriculum Content Design & Review
Curriculum is a defined and prescribed set of courses, lessons and activities, which students must complete to fulfill the requirements for acquiring any degree. The role of IQAC is to facilitate the integration of the procedure in redesigning and modernizing the curricula to accommodate the job market requirements and ensure that OBE based approaches in teaching-learning and assessment are being followed. The curriculum plays a crucial role in achieving the stated mission and vision of the university.
Student: Admission Progress and Achievements
Entry qualification: The quality of learners and their requisite prior qualifications are critical for quality education at the university level.
Admission Procedure: To get the quality intake it is very important to select the right candidates for the right academic programs and matching the rigors of any specific degree.
Progress & Achievement: The quality assurance system of universities and higher education institutions should be in place to assure that levels of students’ achievements are maintained and assessed using the OBE format periodically.
Quality physical facilities are integral part of the quality learning opportunities at the university.Thus, for quality assurance in higer education, such facilities need to be maintained and monitored for effectiveness. Physical facilities include:
- Classroom facilities must be adequate and well equipped
- Library facilities with broadband connectivity and access to Digital Library facilities must be adequate, accessible and useful
- Laboratory and field laboratories must be adequate, well equipped, accessible and useful
- Medical facilities must be adequate, well equipped, accessible and useful to provide emergency healthcare services ensuring health and hygiene within the campus
- Other facilities like clean, spatially adequate conference rooms, canteen facilities with nutritious and safe food, reading rooms, theater, auditorium for staging cultural programs etc. need to be present. In addition, laboratory facilities need to be established and maintained.
At present, IUBAT qualifies on all levels in terms of physical facilities and more are being developed.
Teaching – Learning and Assessment
Teaching Learning -For the purpose of quality in teaching learning following factors are very critical:
- Quality Staff: Staff quality and qualification for all categories including: academic, support, technical and administrative need to be ensured for meeting the requirements of academic standards and strategies of teaching learning. At present, IUBAT boasts adequate highly qualified staffs, with many faculty members having degrees from prestigious universities at home and abroad.
- Appropriate teaching learning methods: Teaching learning method, in fact, sets the stage for everything in terms of learning outcomes. Efforts in this area pay great dividends in terms of attainment of learning goals and quality of education as well. Attainment of learning goals depends on the role and involvement of students and teachers in the process. Teachers need to be diligent in transferring new knowledge to the students effectively so that the goal of teaching succeeds. The teachers should use innovative teaching techniques to make the students keen, focused and interested to learn the subjects taught, and are able to maintain a scholarly approach for engaging students in academic activities. In IUBAT, the use of multimedia, flipcharts, demonstrations, group work, micro-teaching etc. are all practiced to this end.
- Use of Lesson plan: Use of lesson plan is a growing practice in teaching learning internationally. It specifies the subject matter to be taught, learning objectives and assessment of that learning for each and every class. It also helps both the teacher and the students to be focused on the topic at hand. Lesson plans have been implemented in all courses under all nine degree granting departments of IUBAT.
- Technology integration: In this age of information technology work has become increasingly computer centric. As such, technology integration in teaching is very critical for quality in education. Technology integration in teaching learning will make it a lot easier and more effective to communicate ideas and complex subjects meaningfully in class rooms. In addition, use of technology in teaching will encourage students to access e-resources for studying, use computer for academic preparation and IT devices for problem solving.
- Focus: Teaching learning must ensure higher order of learning in educational domains, i.e. Bloom’s Taxonomy and levels involving: Cognitive, Psychomotor and Affective domains. In addition, application for creative and critical analysis work are to be encouraged.
- Skill Development Mechanism: An important part of higher education as specified by Bloom’s Taxonomy and OBE approach is the gaining of skills set for meeting the demand of business world and the academia. Such skills will make the graduates competent to face the reality of life, to develop the attitude of lifelong learning and to contribute in the socioeconomic development of the country. As such, teaching learning should not be confined within the class room only. Universities must have a comprehensive skill development plan incorporating the curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.
- Student performance Assessment: Student Assessment based on OBE approach and examining all the levels and domains of Bloom’s Taxonomy is very crucial. It comprises a defined set of activities to measure the attainment of learning outcomes. Assessment is a systematic process of collecting, analyzing and interpreting information to determine the extent to which learning objectives have been achieved. Assessment creates a basis for judgment on the performance of student.
Student Support Services
- Academic guidance and counseling: Academic environment at the tertiary education is significantly different from that of secondary and higher secondary level. It is very critical to counsel distressed students based on the andragogy approach to higher education.
- Co-curricular & Extra-curricular Activities: Co-curricular and extra-curricular activities are the integral part of the skill development mechanism. University must have some departments or centers like Department of Physical Education, Teacher Student Cultural Centre (TSCC) and facilities to stage drama, hold debates, musical soiree, publish journals and exhibit fine arts. In addition, at the department or program level students association or society, like debating club, environment club, culture club etc. IUBAT is very focused on the holistic development of its students and all types of facilities are available. It also organizes study and field trips for its students from all colleges.
- Career & Placement: Career counseling and placement arrangement may play a very critical role to get the right job opportunities and selecting suitable career path.
- Alumni Services: Well organized alumni association is very effective to get in touch with the industry and working life. It would also help the university to develop institutional network and university industry collaboration (UIC) and for signing MOU with other institutions and universities. These will help in the promotion and placement of the university’s graduates.
- Community Services: The quality assurance system needs to ensure that the university makes a significant contribution to the community, to the society and to the country. By scuh acts, students will be involved in the community and make important contribution towards promoting lifelong learning and active citizenship.
Staff and Facilities
- Recruitment: To employ competent people, university must have a transparent and appropriate recruitment policy for both academic and non-academic staff that would facilitate selection of the right person for the right job. Universities are required to maintain reasonable teacher student ratio suitable for particular discipline as per the instructions of UGC.
- Staff Development: Quality assurance recognizes the importance of training and development. Training is very important to enhance the professional skills of the staff and to keep them up-to-date with best practices in quality assurance. University must have a well organized staff development policy and programs for its implementation including setting up of a training institute.
- Career Development: University must have service rules for the career development of its staff. In addition, university must have provisions to allow and motivate faculty members for further higher study and advanced research.
- Key Performance Indicators (KPI): Well defined KPIs may act as a source of motivation and means to ensure accountability of staff. Performance of an academic institution or faculty members should not be confined to producing graduates only. It is important to have specific performance and success indicators that contribute to graduates’ skills development, teaching learning, research and extension services, national and international recognition and contribution to socioeconomic development.
Research and Extension: The core objective of higher education is to contribute to knowledge base creation and aid in the sustainable development of society. Provisions such as the following are important at any university:
- Cutting edge research
- Recognition and priority to research
- Motivate faculty members and competent students to go for research and innovation
- Explore the possibility of corporate funding for university industry research collaboration.
- Disseminate and transfer the research findings
- Apply for patent and commercialization
- Establish commercial arms for doing business and consultancy.
Universities must establish policies for quality assurance. Top management of the university should have commitment for developing the quality culture as part of the enhancement initiative. As an explicit evidence of such commitment, IUBAT has set up IQAC for monitoring quality assurance at all program levels. It assists the university higher authorities in developing and implementing strategies for continuous quality improvement.
Goal of IUBAT
The goal of IUBAT is to be one of the top private universities in Bangladesh by 2025 in terms of quality of education and research in its chosen field of disciplines. It is relentlessly working for continuous improvement of its academic programs. The Institutional Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) provides all the support necessary for achieving the objectives of quality education.
Vision of IUBAT:
Mission of IUBAT:
Objective of the KBAD Program:
Goal of IQAC
To promote quality education and monitor the implementation of quality assurance of International University of Business, Agriculture and Technology (IUBAT).
- Establishment of Institutional Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) at IUBAT
- Review existing policies, systems and procedures in quality assurance
- Assess and strengthen capacity building for effective governance, teaching learning, research and community services
- Prepare the university to meet the external quality assurance assessment and requirements of the Bangladesh Accreditation Council by establishing the internal academic audit and assessment system of the university
- Establish the in-built mechanism for sustainable learning and continual improvement method trainings, workshops and seminars on quality assurance in higher education
- Prepare and produce annual institutional quality assurance report (IQAR) with the help of different stakeholders and coordinate among different institutions for quality related activities
- Develop a data base containing information regarding quality assurance, which will be deliverable to all the stakeholders.
- Maintain and improve the quality assurance practices at the university to be inline with the standard practices set by UGC and Washington Accord.
Entities (This needs to be hyperlinked to the college and departments webpage and the QAC, FQAC, PSAC, Curriculum Task Force member list should be attached)
- College of Agricultural Sciences (CAS)
- College of Business Administration (CBA)
- College of Engineering and Technology (CEAT)
- College of Arts and Sciences (CAAS)
- College of Tourism and Hospitality Management (CTHM)
- College of Nursing (CON)