The Fourth SHARE Policy Dialogue, 26-27 October 2016
TOWARDS A SHARED UNDERSTANDING OF QUALITY ASSURANCE IN ASEAN
Worldwide, Quality Assurance (QA) has been introduced in many higher education systems in order to assure and enhance the quality of higher education institutions and programmes and to make universities’ achievements visible, accountable and comparable. QA focuses on both accountability and improvement, on transparency, agreed upon and consistent processes as well as on the standards essential for continuous quality enhancement. It is also important to build a “zone of trust” and to enhance regional cooperation.
Within a complex landscape of political and cultural diversity, external (EQA) as well as internal quality assurance (IQA) vary across the ASEAN region. QA standards and procedures, organisation and governance of EQA bodies, as well as quality standards and processes of universities, are all factors to be navigated.
The ASEAN Framework for Quality Assurance (AQAF) has been developed by a taskforce under AQAN to provide a reference point for effective and efficient QA mechanisms and to encourage ASEAN Member States (AMS) to benchmark and align their national systems and structures. Yet, the AQAF is built upon generic principles and statements of good and does not prescribe detailed QA processes and criteria that must be met by all universities or accreditation agencies in the region. The AQAF is rather a neutral device, development-orientated, inclusive and aims to support change management and improvement at all levels.
Eventually the SHARE project will allow for all AMS to have strengthened their QA capacity and know where their QA systems stand, compared to the AQAF, and what steps to reach conversion to take next.
Main objectives of this Fourth Policy Dialogue
- Raising awareness for the importance of quality assurance for regionalisation of higher education
- Facilitating a better understanding of regional QA standards and their relevance for national QA systems
- Discussing the ASEAN Quality Assurance Framework (AQAF) with relevant stakeholders in order to generate ownership and political buy-in
- Creating a forum for bi-regional exchange and dialogue and sharing experiences from setting-up and implementing the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG)
- The way forward: agenda setting, targeting ASEAN and national bodies/authorities (mandates, endorsement, alignment processes, capacity development and the contribution of SHARE)
The SHARE Policy Dialogue addresses all relevant stakeholders in higher education such as university leadership, representatives from HE ministries, commissions and QA agencies as well as representatives from regional associations and networks. On day one the focus will be on explaining and discussing the relevance of QA frameworks and to share good practice from both the ASEAN region and Europe. Participants are expected to engage in discussions and workshops which allow to compare and map national systems with regional and international standards. Day two will focus on implications for policy and strategy and particularly target political decision makers at national and regional level.
As in our first three policy dialogues, a number of European speakers and institutions will be invited to share their experiences. Ultimately the student experience lies at the centre of high quality higher education provision, therefore SHARE very much welcomes the contribution that can be made by student representatives.