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Re-moralising Quality Assurance in Private Tertiary Education Mahsood Shah.

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Presentation on theme: "Re-moralising Quality Assurance in Private Tertiary Education Mahsood Shah."— Presentation transcript:

1 Re-moralising Quality Assurance in Private Tertiary Education Mahsood Shah

2 Presentation at Glance  Rationale of the topic  Brief about private tertiary education  QA practices in private tertiary education  Current dilemma  Multiple QA frameworks and challenges  Does QA matter?  Summary  Research on private tertiary education: what is known?  Questions and discussion 2

3 Rationale of the topic  What is the moral purpose of tertiary education?  Help build a fairer, more just society  Fulfilling the social responsibility of education  Economic responsibility and productivity  Tackling contemporary issues facing society  Graduates are able to do their job effectively  Knowledge is used to improve the human condition e.t.c. 3

4 Rationale of the topic….  Defining quality: excellence (high standards); perfection (zero defects); value for money (return on investment); transformation (process of change), (Harvey and Green, 1993)  Is quality a moral purpose of tertiary providers?  Social responsibility  Economic responsibility  Tertiary education productivity  Stakeholder needs and expectations  Guarding against declined standards: intellectual, ethical and moral McWilliam (2004) 4

5 Brief about private tertiary education  Ongoing growth e.g. private higher education (20%)  Significant investment in online learning  Innovative marketing strategies  Mergers and acquisitions  Competitive  Engagement with industry  Collaboration with public universities  Student choice is clearly informed  Different student experience  Unclear future: government policy directions 5

6 QA practices in private tertiary education  Internal QA driven by external requirements  In some cases compliance driven QA inherited by AQTF and move from VET > HE  Compliance vs improvement led approach  Conflict between Academic Quality and Growth/Profit  Growth has in some cases compromised Quality  Concerns raised in AUQA audit reports (Winchester, 2010; Shah and Lewis, 2010; and Shah and Nair, 2011)  QA concerns in international literature 6

7 Questioning QA in Tertiary Education > Public and Private  Student assessments, soft marking and grading  Student complaints about the quality of education  Declining student experience  Closure of various providers without notifying students  Employer complaints about the quality of graduates  Quality assurance practices in offshore international education  Academic and non-academic support for students  Staff engagement with quality and improvement;  How about social inclusion agenda and issues around access and participation of disadvantaged student??? 7

8 Current dilemma  Use of different framework  TEQSA (provider standards, AQF, ESOS, CRICOS, other???)  ASQA (VET quality framework)  NEAS  ISO  Mostly driven by compliance culture  Process driven > good processes are easy to achieve then good outcomes  Absence of a single framework in institutions to meet VET, HE and English language requirement  Excessive focus on paperwork and documentation 8

9 Current dilemma…..  Reactive to government policy changes rather then building internal capacity  Compliance driven QA raises important questions on the extent to which quality is tracked and improved in a systematic manner in important areas such as:  course design  course reviews  teaching quality  quality and standard of student assessments  student attainment of learning outcomes  comparability in academic outcomes and the student experience with courses taught at different locations and modes of delivery. 9

10 Current dilemma….. 10 Note: the data used in figure 1 is from JAS-ANZ online database http://cab.jas- anz.org/CABPublic/Pages/PublicSearch.aspx as of August 2012.http://cab.jas- anz.org/CABPublic/Pages/PublicSearch.aspx

11 Current dilemma…..  Cost of managing quality and accreditations 11

12 Recurring themes > AUQA and others  Academic governance  Compliance led QA  Academic leadership  Huge reliance on sessional teachers – coordination of courses  Research culture  Access for disadvantaged students  Reliance on international student income  Staff professional development  Academic support structures  Alignment between growth and resourcing (e.g. library)  Data and performance monitoring 12

13 Multiple QA frameworks and challenges Higher Education  Problem identified in Bradley review – inconsistent implementation of National Protocols  Performance monitoring and reporting  AUQA’s failure to monitor standards and compliance with external reference points. 13

14 Multiple QA frameworks and challenges.. AQTF  Lack of consistent implementation  Lack of compliance to AQTF standards by providers (Abola and Lambert, 2010; Gallagher and Anderson, 2005; Myer and Blom, 2004)  AQTF quality indicators: compliance and national findings?  Lack of risk based audits resulted in the collapse of more than 10 private VET colleges 14

15 Multiple QA frameworks and challenges.. ISO 9000  Marketing tool use to improve brand/image - used in education institutions who subscribe to the image of university as business (Houston, 2007)  Less than 25% US Colleges used ISO in Learning and Teaching (Vazzana et al, 2000)  More focus on processes and documentation (Bevans-Gonzales and Nair, 2004; Waks and Moti, 1999)  Confusion among staff on how ISO is applied in tertiary education(Bevans-Gonzales and Nair, 2004)  A survey of 647 companies in UK shows only 15% benefited from ISO (Vanguard consulting Ltd, 1994) 15

16 Multiple QA frameworks and challenges.. ISO 9000 According to Alderman (1999), ‘quality in tertiary education is not about satisfying the customer (i.e. the student), but is rather about transforming learners, which is not the same thing at all... an ISO 9000 approach will not and cannot lead, by itself, to the achievement of quality: the most it can lead to is short-to medium, to mid-term bureaucratic procedural compliance’ (p.262). 16

17 Does QA matter?  Reputation of Australian tertiary education  Increased regulation of tertiary education  Use of ranking and leagues tables to assess institutional performance  Marketisation and student choice  Competition  Tertiary education productivity: from success to excellence  MyPrivateCollege??  Governments political agenda: social inclusion, performance funding, quality and productivity 17

18 Moral dilemma  Higher education institutions are losing sight of their ethical functions in their desire to turn a profit (Schwartz (2011)  Moral imperative on an institution to do most it can to facilitate the learning of its students and the external clients (York, 2000)  Failure of students and declined standards -intellectual, ethical and moral (McWilliams, 2004)  Low access and participation of disadvantaged students raises questions on the moral purpose of tertiary education (Shah and Nair, forthcoming) 18

19 Summary  Growth of the sector  Student experience>  Student choice  Practical education  Size  Relationship with industry  Student experience  Industry based teaching staff  Ease of entry  Location  Profile of students  Flexibility (online, distance, part time, fast track) 19

20 Summary  Sustainable QA  Single framework to meet VET and HE  Internal QA and capacity building  AQF challenge  Growth should not compromise quality outcomes and the student experience  Time to revisit QA arrangements - shift from compliance to an improve led approach  High risk providers and TEQSA > watch dog, sniffer dog or a guide dog??  Reputation of Australian tertiary education 20

21 Research on private tertiary education Bennett, L., Nair, S., & Shah, M. (2012). The Emergence of Private Higher Education in Australia: The Silent Provider. European Journal of Higher Education, forthcoming Shah, M., Nair, S., & Bennett, L. (2012). Factors Influencing Student Choice to Study at Private for-profit Higher Education Institutions. Quality Assurance in Education, forthcoming Nair, S., Bennett, L., and Shah, M. (2012). Student Experience: A Private Provider Perspective. The ACPET Journal for Private Higher Education, forthcoming Shah, M., & Nair, S. (2012). A New Dynamic in Australian Higher Education: The Emergence of Private for-profit Higher Education. European Journal of Higher Education, available in late 2012 Shah, M., & Nair, S. (2012). Private for–profit higher education in Australia: Widening Access and Participation and Opportunities for Public-Private Collaboration. Higher Education Research and Development Society (HERDSA), available in late 2012 or early 2013 Shah, M., Nair, S. (2011). Building the plane while it's flying: enhancing the missed opportunity for quality assurance and capacity-building in Australian private higher education. European Journal of Higher Education, 1 (2-3), 261-273. Shah, M., & Nair, S. (2011). Engaging with Quality: Quality Assurance and Capacity Building in Private Higher Education. Australian Quality Forum 2011, 138-144. Melbourne: Australian University Quality Agency. Shah, M., & Lewis, l. (2010). Private Higher Education in Australia: Growth, Quality and Standards. Journal of Institutional Research (South East Asia), 8 (2), 80-95. Shah, M., & Brown, G. (2009). The Rise of Private Higher Education in Australia: Maintaining Quality Outcomes and Future Challenges. Proceedings of the Australian Universities Quality Forum (AUQF), 138-143. Melbourne: Australian Universities Quality Agency. 21

22 22 shah_mahsood@hotmail.com


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