Publication: International Experience for Assessing the Quality of Educational Services at Higher Education Institutions

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World Bank
The Government of Poland benefits from a Technical Assistance Activity in support of the reforms under way in the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. This Technical Assistance accompanies Development Policy Loans financed by the World Bank; its activities have been identified jointly by the Government of Poland and the World Bank. One activity is focused specifically on the assessment of the quality of educational services at Higher Education Institutions, specifically for post-graduate courses and training (adult education). This report has helped us to identify the main key characteristics of a good quality assurance system. To us, it should in particular: Be capable of correctly grasping the essence of university teaching and learning and being able to seize it correctly, encourage universities to develop a quality culture promoting improvement instead of encouraging them just to pass the criteria necessary for accreditation or similar ratification, but it should also provide an external check and support. To make it happen, the system should be focused on the fitness for purpose of the strategies followed by HEIs and quality assurance processes more than on pre-defined criteria; be as much institution-driven as agency-driven, which means that internal quality assurance procedures are an important element of quality assurance; be as light as possible by pushing the concerned institution to do a great part of the work as it is finally in its interest and by avoiding processes in which the bulk of the work is done by external experts. Finally be partly adapted to the type of institution. The higher the level of the institution measured by its research performance and quality of its teachers and students, the more it is advisable to have an institutionally-led system. On the other hand, modest professional schools or universities, particularly if they have been strongly regulated for a long time, as well as private institutions that are permanently fighting for survival, are more in need of a rigorous external evaluation made by an agency. This does not mean, however, that they are freed of developing their own internal QA system as it is also important for them to put quality as a high priority.
World Bank. 2010. International Experience for Assessing the Quality of Educational Services at Higher Education Institutions. © Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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