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1 Asia’s Best in Powerpoint Presentation D I A M O N D A W A R D First Place

2 QUT Brisbane

3 A HIGHER EDUCATION QUALITY ASSURANCE MODEL FOR SMALL STATES: THE MALDIVES CASE STUDY  Co-authors: NAME : Abdul Hannan Waheed  Position : Full-time PhD student  INSTITUTION : Centre for Learning Innovation (CLI), Faculty of Education, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Australia NAME: Professor Hitendra Pillay  Position : Professor  INSTITUTION : Centre for Learning and Professional Studies, Faculty of Education, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Australia

4 Background  The main research question is “what constitutes key elements and mechanisms of an effective QA system in higher education for Small States?” Small States QA literature 1.5 million or less A significant gap: focussing on bigger systems; not Small states Adopt compromised versions of models Band-aid solution (Houston & Maniku, 2005)  To develop a holistic higher education quality assurance system for Small States, based on the Systems Theory principles

5 Theoretical Framework T T T R R R A system S=(T  R) (things) (relations) Systems Theory: a general formula of a systems theory (Klir, 1991) System T= element R= relationship

6 Methods  Qualitative case study: Maldives from July to September 2011  Maldives: a small state, representative of Small States  Generalisability to other Small Sates  Explored possible linkages, similarities, challenges, issues and QA options relevant

7 Methods  Data collection: interviews & documents  17 interviews & 10 documents  4 stakeholder groups: Ministry of Education, the Maldives Qualifications Authority, leading higher education institutions and the industry associations  Data analysis: a comparative perspective against global principles, concepts, and models in QA in higher education

8 Results  Key findings:  Regulatory mechanisms: weak regulatory mechanisms, absence of legislation, gov interference, independence  Management structure: conflict of interest in the regulatory board  Standards: lack of guidelines, Transparency issues  Service delivery: more energy used on processes other than QA, slow speed in implementing audit & accreditation

9 Regulatory Framework Clear national policies DISCUSSIONS  Needed for the development of the whole system

10 Regulatory Framework Legislation DISCUSSIONS  Without legislation the system suffers from slow speed of development

11 Regulatory Framework One-tier system DISCUSSIONS  More suited for Small States

12 Regulatory Framework Independence DISCUSSIONS  Critical for a strong national QA body

13 Standards Guidelines needed to steer the QA process DISCUSSIONS  Small States often struggle to develop necessary standards and guidelines

14 Service Delivery Academic audit DISCUSSIONS  Four stages:  (1) a self-study  (2) the appointment of a peer group or external experts  (3) site visits by the external experts and  (4) a public report or the publication of the decision or recommendation of the agency (Lewis, 2009)2009

15 Service Delivery Accreditation DISCUSSIONS  Evaluates a higher education institution as a whole or a specific academic program against a pre-determined minimum criteria or standards (Vlăsceanu, et al., 2007)Vlăsceanu, et al., 2007

16 Service Delivery Collaboration DISCUSSIONS  Help speedy development  Create ownership among stakeholders

17 Service Delivery DISCUSSIONS Transparency 

18 Conclusions  A holistic quality assurance model for higher education could include the following main elements:  Regulatory Framework  Standards  Service delivery

19 Conclusions A tentative QA model for higher education HE QA System Standards Legislative Framework Service Delivery policies legislation one-tier system academic audit accreditation Minimum requirements guidelines Qualifications frameworks independence

20 Recommendations  Develop HE QA systems for specific context of Small States  Legislative framework that stipulates clear functions, roles and responsibilities

21 Impact / outcomes of the study Significant A model for Small States Useful reference for policy makers, practitioners & professionals Systems approach for HE QA

22 Impact / outcomes of the study Bibliographical entries Commonwealth Consultative Group (1997). A future for small states: Overcoming vulnarability. London: Commonwealth Secratariat. Houston, D., & Maniku, A. A. (2005). Systems perspectives on external quality assurance: Implications for micro states [Article]. Quality in Higher Education, 11(3), 213-226. from the database. Klir, G. (1991). Facts of systems science. New York: Plenum. Lewis, R. (2009). Quality assurance in higher education – its global future Higher Education to 2030 (Vol. 2, pp. 323-352): OECD. Vlăsceanu, L., Grünberg, L., & Pârlea, D. (2007). Quality assurance and accreditation: A glossary of basic terms and definitions. Bucharest: UNESCO-CEPES


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