Performance Score Card for Internal Quality Assurance Units of State Universities
The University Grants Commission (UGC) is the apex body of the University System in Sri Lanka which was established on 22nd December 1978 under the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978.
The functions of the UGC are
- planning and coordination of university education
- allocation of funds to Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs)
- maintenance of academic standards in HEIs
- regulation of the administration of HEIs
- regulation of admission of students to HEIs
A vibrant mechanism of governance of quality assurance and accreditation of the academic and administrative function is essential to maintain and to enhance the standards of the Higher Education System. The Quality Assurance and Accreditation Council (QAAC) of the UGC established in September 2005 is the body responsible for maintaining of academic standards in State Universities.
Its’ Vision is to achieve excellence in higher education with the support of a robust Quality Assurance (QA) system, while its’ Mission is to ensure quality by continuous development and efficient performance of Sri Lankan higher education institutions, and thereby to gain the confidence of the community of University stakeholders in accordance with internationally recognized evaluation mechanisms.
It also sets out precisely, the key quality assurance activities expected to be undertaken by Departments, Degree programs and Faculties of State higher educational institutes. In this endeavor, supervision and monitoring to ensure continuity of internationally good standards of the academic programs are essential components to ensure the sustainability of Programs and Institutes.
Considerable progress has been achieved towards establishing a QA system in Public Universities and Institutes, with support from the Committee for QA under the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Directors (CVCD), Standing Committee for QA under the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Quality Assurance and Accreditation (QAA) Council of the UGC/Ministry of Higher Education and Highways.
What is an IQAU (Internal Quality Assurance Unit)? This is a Unit which was expected to be set up in each State University on the recommendation of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and CVCD during 2004-2006, to facilitate the University’s quality assurance activities and coordinate them with the QAAC at the UGC.
Significance of having an IQAU: In addition to having external quality assurance procedures which takes place only at intervals, assuring quality at a HEI should be a continuous, on- going process where all academic, administrative and support staff working in an institution must take responsibility for building it in to their day-to-day routine activities. Since this can be brought about only through well-functioning internal quality assurance procedures and processes it is considered the cornerstone of QA in higher education. Therefore, it is extremely important that an efficient and effective IQAU is in place in each University.
Aim: The aim of an IQAU would be to operationalize all quality assurance procedures which would have an impact on the quality of education in a University so that the students have an optimum educational experience.
The general objective of the IQAU is to promote a quality assurance culture within the university.
The specific objectives are to
- Institutionalize the quality assurance culture in accordance with national quality assurance and accreditation guidelines and international practices
- Ensure that the university’s quality assurance procedures are designed following the
QAAC guidelines and national requirements
- Develop, maintain and enhance quality of education and people’s perception in favor of the university through consistent quality assurance practice and performance
- Build an image of the university which would have the confidence of the stakeholders ensuring transparency, accountability, and good practices in all aspects of management and
- Prepare the university to meet the external quality assurance assessment and accreditation requirements
Functions of the IQAU
In order to achieve the objectives, the major functions of the IQAU will be to
- Facilitate the mission and objectives of the university for enhancing the quality and relevance of teaching and learning and respond to global trends on quality education by preparing guidelines on QA for the University/Institution
- Guide and assist the program offering entities i.e. departments, faculties and institutes of the university to define program objectives, program outcomes and graduate profiles and support sustainable quality enhancement
- Develop standards and benchmarks for various academic and administrative activities of the university
- Organize workshops, seminars and appropriate training for capacity building and promoting QA culture at all levels of the university;
- Facilitating the creation of outcome-based education and student-centered learning throughout the university using technology for a participatory teaching and learning process
- Review existing procedures for further improvement of delivery of teaching and learning
- Provide support to the study program offering academic units to conduct the self-assessment, external peer review and implement QA process at program level
- Implement QA Reviews/Audit and follow-up actions
- Present a clear and comprehensive profile, based on self-review of its own programs, thus enabling continuous self-improvement
- Co-ordinate all QA related activities within the University/Institution and liaise with the UGC/QAA Council and other external QAA agencies
- Ensure academic regulations/By-Laws are in place, if not make recommendations for remedial action.
- Ensure faculties conduct and maintain quality assurance activities.
Status of Establishment of Internal Quality Assurance Units (IQAU)
An IQAU has been established in all 15 public universities now. A director has been appointed by the Vice Chancellor for each IQAU. Coordinators have been appointed in Faculty Internal Quality Assurance Cells (IQAC) and they are expected to work closely with the IQAU director.
A progress review workshop of IQAUs in State Universities was held in March 2016. It was apparent that the 15 IQAUs function at different degrees of efficiency and effectiveness at present.
Another workshop was held in May 2016 where the role of the IQAUs was discussed at length. In this workshop the development of a scorecard for the performance of IQAUs was introduced and discussed. The document given below is one which was perfected after the workshop so that each IQAU has a clear idea as to what is expected of them in order to be evaluated for its performance.
The score card is considered in 3 components.
Score Card for IQAU
- Establishment of an IQAU (weightage 10%)
- Institutionalization/Operationalization of IQAU and Empowering and Promotion of the IQAU (40%)
- Implementation of QA Mechanism at University (including preparation of Self-Assessment) (50%)
Establishment of IQAU (weightage 10%)
|01||Appointment of a Director for the IQAU||01||Parameters to be determined-TOR, qualifications, seniority, free of other responsibilities, method of advertisement for calling of applications, appointment to be made by the VC after evaluation of applicants’ profiles by committee who would select the Director (members of committee to be determined)|
|02||Appointment of other members of IQAU
|01||Composition to be decided –
· Deans of all Faculties or permanent representative from each faculty recommended by the Faculty Board
· Registrar or permanent nominee
· Bursar or permanent nominee
· Librarian or permanent nominee
· Director/CDCE (eg. Center for Distance and Continuous Education )
· Convener/secretary to be elected by the Unit from among its members or Assistant Registrar who would be a permanent member
· Others?? (Administrative assistant)
|03||Availability of permanent office space for IQAU||01||Location, size to be decided|
|04||Availability of furniture for IQAU||01||Minimum to be decided. Some items have been given to each IQAU from HETC.|
|05||Availability of office equipment||01||Computer, printer, scanner given to each IQAU from HETC.
Others to be identified
|06||Availability of internet and telephone facilities||01||Dedicated line necessary|
|07||Availability of permanent support staff||01||Permanent assistant registrar, administrative assistant, laborer necessary|
|08||Establishment of Faculty IQA Cells (IQAC) to liaise with IQAU||01||Space, location, approval of Faculty Board|
|09||Appointment of IQAC Coordinators||01||Define the role and responsibilities of the QA Cell Coordinators at the faculty level|
|10||Define mode of liaison of Faculty Coordinators with Director/IQAU||01||Items to be reported to the IQAU Director.
Template for reporting IQAC progress to be developed by QAAC
Institutionalization/Operationalization of IQAU and Empowering and Promotion of the IQAU (40%)
|01||IQAU will have its’ By-laws||04||By- laws would be developed and approved by the University Council|
|02||IQAU will have Operational Guidelines||04||The IQAU will prepare their operational guidelines (by adopting the general guidelines developed by QAAC and customized for the university’s governance structure/organogram and specific implementation arrangement)|
|03||Will have a strategic development plan for internal quality assurance activities for 3 years||08||The Strategic Plan should be approved by the University Senate and Council and sent to the QAAC for information|
|04||Will have annual work plan||04||Submitted to the University Senate and Council for approval before commencing a calendar year|
|05||Will have IQAU annual budget||04||Will develop and have it incorporated in to University’s recurrent budget|
|06||IQAU will be established on University website and maintained||04||Regular updating will take place- dedicated service from University IT Center|
|07||Permanent agenda item in Senate meetings||02||Availability of a time slot for Director to report at the University Senate at every regular meeting. In the event that the Director is not a Senate member to request his/her participation as an invited member.|
|08||IQAU (Director and Faculty Coordinators) will present the University QA strategy to the entire university community every year||06||Will occur at regular intervals ( to be decided) as a series of seminars to academic, administrative, non- academic and support staff|
|09||Director permitted to circulate notices of QA activities in the University||04||Notices of meetings, workshops, seminars etc regarding quality assurance of other State and Non State Universities in order to be abreast of QA activities which enhance the educational experience of students -among staff members- academic, administrative, non- academic and support staff|
Implementation of QA Mechanism at University (including preparation of Self-Assessment) (50%)
|01||IQAU to initiate and support preparation of SER for Institutional Reviews||05||Appointment of SER preparation team by the IQAU committee, maintain repository of evidence for criteria and standards, development of a timeline and progress template, monitor progress of report development, adherence to the Manual of IR for State Universities in Sri Lanka|
|02||IQAU to motivate and support Study Programs to prepare SERs for Program Reviews||05||Appointment of SER preparation team by the IQAU committee in consultation with IQAC of Faculty, maintain repository of evidence for criteria and standards, development of a timeline and progress template, monitor progress of report development, adherence to the Manual of PR for State Universities in Sri Lanka|
|03||IQAU to provide necessary training and workshop||05||IQAU will provide necessary training and workshops for the Self-Assessment Report preparation teams as well as other interested academics on the establishment of QA mechanism in universities, carrying out Self-assessment, and preparation of Self-Assessment Reports.|
|04||Motivate and support Study programs to showcase best practices in QA.||05||Develop mechanism to select best practices of QA. Provide assistance for presentation at national and international events/fora.
|05||Develop relationships and liaise with international Agencies and Universities on QA activities.||05||Introduce such best practices and assist regarding adapting and adoption of such practices in QA where relevant|
|06||Report at the UGC Standing Committee on QA the quarterly progress of the IQAU||05||Template to be generated by the QAAC of the UGC to report on initiated and progressing activities – especially on the alignment of degree programs with the SLQF, new proposals (degree programs, Centres/Institutes) submitted for evaluation and innovative practices on QA adopted.|
|07||Submit an annual report of the IQAU to the QAAC, UGC||05||This should be according to the strategic plan developed by IQAU.|
|08||The IQAU will administer/facilitate all meetings of the IQAU and IQACs||05||Set up dates annually, invite members for meetings, keep minutes, take necessary action on proceedings. Collect and archive minutes of IQACs of Faculties and IQAU|
|09||IQAU to assist manual preparation on QA aspects in Faculties
|05||Topics for manual preparation to be identified- laboratory equipment use and safety, reporting procedures of questionnaires/surveys- student feedback on courses, teacher evaluations, feed-back by staff and students on services – health, maintenance, landscaping, cleanliness etc.|
|10||The results of Institutional Review and Program Reviews and internal reviews, including student surveys, are made available to all staff and external stakeholders on the university web-site||05||IQAU will liaise with IQACs of Faculties to administer student surveys/feedback, stakeholder meeting proceedings and other such surveys and maintain in repository|