«This document is property of ANECA. The contents may be used provided that the source is quoted. V.1 02/12/2011 INDEX 1. BACKGROUND AND APPROACH 2. ...»
Rowaida Al-Maaitah, former Rector of the Hashemite University. Therefore, the invitation to the opening ceremony has to be sent to the latter.
The draft agenda of the Conference is improved after the suggestions from the Jordan side and includes a wide representation of the different institutions that take part in the JISER-MED Project and a particular attention has been paid to avoid, following the suggestions of the JISER-QA Group, focusing mainly on quality assurance in an autonomous way.
Everybody agrees on considering quality assurance as a means to achieve the major objectives of the project: mobility and employability.
All the attendees to the meeting agrees on the fact that a balance on the topics and on the speakers representing different contexts and particularities has been met.
JISER-QA Meeting, Barcelona, 10th September 2011
The main topic deals with the focus of the different sessions to avoid duplications or overleaping among the presentations related to quality, as well as to identify relevant moderators and chairs for the sessions.
JISER-MED Conference on Quality Assurance, Employability and Internationalisation. Co-organised by Princess Sumaya University for Technology and ANECA. Amman, Jordan 21st 22nd November 2011.
The Conference was opened by the Rector of the University of Barcelona, Didac Ramírez, the Director of ANECA, the President of the Princess Sumaya University of Technology, Dr. Issa Batarseh, Zulima Fernández and the Minister of Higher Education and Research of Jordan Dr. Rowaida AlMaaitah.
The attendants to the conference were mainly from the partners and associates of the HISER-MED Project, as well as a number of Jordan vicerectors and professors and people interested in the internationalisation of higher education sector. The conclusions of the two-day conference were read by Zulima Fernández, Director of ANECA at the closing of the Conference. Among other speakers can be highlighted Sami Gammoh, Minister of Industry and Trade of Jordan and Akel Biltaji, Chair of Tourism and Heritage Committee and Senator of the Upper House of Parliament of Jordan.
The conclusions will reinforce and feed the next steps of the Project in the different dimensions. Among these conclusions can be derived the followings related to the three dimensions represented in the agenda.
QA in HE:
It should be understood as in the Standards & Guidelines in HE from • ENQA (or equivalent such as INQAHE, …).
QA includes internal QA at universities, external evaluation, agencies, • etc.
Employability of HE New and better jobs for the future together with LLL •
Employability goes well beyond the simplistic notion of key skills, and • is evidenced in the application of a mix of personal qualities and beliefs, understandings, skilful practices and the ability to reflect productively on experience.
The goal to be achieved by HE institutions: embedding employability • into the curriculum.
Internationalization in HE How the international component in HE can be understood?
Internationalization means that HE institutions in different countries • should design and offer joint degrees.
The links among all these components QA & Employablity QA should help HE instutions to monitor employment rates and to act • (and react) accordingly (by modifying how they deliver their current degrees, by adapting them to the local or global employment contexts, by introducing new degree proposals, by …) QA should strongly promote the embedding of employability into the • curriculum QA & Internationalization First barrier to break: QA should be the basis of transparency and • mutual trust for HE in order to get greater comparability, better recognition and an improved mobility.
Second barrier to break: QA (and QA agencies) must strongly • facilitate the way HE institutions offer joint degrees (the MULTRA agreements is a good example of this).
Employability & Internationalisation Academic comparability, academic recognition and academic mobility • (for academic purposes) are the first step (moving with awards easily from one HE institution to another) to achieve when talking about
3. SEMINARS AND EVENTS RELATED TO THE
PROJECT AND ATTENDED BY ANECA“Euro-Mediterranean Higher Education Area. Enhancing Quality, Promoting Mobility and Employability”. Barcelona, 23rd May 2011. Co-organised between the Institute of the Mediterranean, IEMed and ANECA.
The Conference convened people in charge of the most important politica
and developmental organisations related to the Euro-Mediterranean region:
the European Union, World Bank, the Union for the Mediterranean, UNESCO and OECD, as well as representatives from higher education institutions of the Maghreb and the networks of universities which work in the Mediterranean area, EPUF and EMUNI. From the side of the quality assurance agencies attended the conference the heads of ANECA, AQUCatalunya, AERES, United Arab Emirates (which also represented the regional network of quality assurance agencies, ANQAHE).
15 V.1_02/12/2010 The objective of this workshop was to discuss the draft paper submitted by the international expert on quality assurance, Nickolas Harris (former director for enhancement of QAA-UK and currently international advisor of ANECA) on the improvement of quality of higher education in the EuroMediterranean Area promoting mobility and employability. The draft document was analised and discussed in order to close a final paper that will be published by IEMed and will be the basis for future debates on quality assurance and higher education in the area. Furthermore, the Conference invited some projects on higher education in the EuroMediterranean Area to be presented. Among these projects was JISER-MED who was presented by Ramón Torrent.
The purpose of the Conference was also to provide the political actors in the Mediterranean region with technical information to favour the political decision making on the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean Higher Education Area, following the Catania and Cairo declarations, allowing better conditions to the students of the region.
4. CONCLUSIONS What is the relevance of quality assurance in higher education and the potential benefits for the Area?
Higher education supposes a mayor opportunity for Euro-Med today, but, at the same time it implies some risk. Perhaps the most important of them is that we can have a highly trained population but unemployed.
Even more, most of the countries all over the world have developed an external quality assurance system based on agencies. But, more important than the number of agencies, is the activity that they do and have done over the past two decades. During this period of time, the quality of higher
University is no longer the ivory tower that it used to be. Now, it has to work in a very challenging world. During the last few years the demand for higher education has greatly increased. Since society is increasingly knowledge-based, higher education is becoming more and more important for the progress of both individuals and countries.
In reply, the number and variety of HEIs have grown enormously everywhere and the massification of the institutions is in some countries a major issue to be addressed. Now, we have a wide range of HEIs that demand more transparency and public accountability from the institutions.
HEIs are so different that stakeholders do not have enough information about them and their activities. HEIs require differentiating themselves and, also, they need to be trustworthy for society. Therefore, they need to signal the quality of their research and teaching. At the same time, many HEIs and systems have to identify either references for quality or technical support and resources to set up a quality assurance system.
These are problems that can be solved by external QAAs. Transparency, trust, advising are some of the contributions of QAAs. Quality assurance is a basic element of improvement, but could never be an end in itself, only a means; it must add value to universities and their stakeholders. The concern about the procedures and routines should not turn them into a ritual. QA should never forget its goal is the improvement of teaching and/or research done by universities The main goal of quality agencies is to enhance HEI quality; but quality is a moving target; there is always room for improvement. The current quality trend is to focus on continual improvement and effectiveness; rather than 17 V.1_02/12/2010 focusing just on fulfilling specific standards. Summing up, there is a shift from compliance to performance. The HEIs and agencies have to use quality assessment as a management tool to monitor, promote and sustain continual improvement. Our concern for efficiency should not allow us to forget about effectiveness. Higher education QA is the responsibility for higher education institutions.
Mobility and employability are the two main topics that this workshop addresses and both are a major issue for higher education all over the world. But, how are they related each other to quality?
From the point of view of mobility of students and graduates, quality assurance agencies try to collaborate in networks to remove the technical obstacles that difficult the recognition of periods of study and the recognition of degrees based upon accreditation decisions.
Of course, to achieve these important goals ministries of education and/or official recognition bodies have to give the political approval. But quality assurance agencies have shown that, from the viewpoint of the technical issues it is not that difficult to come to mutual recognition scenarios.
Employability is a major concern not only for students and higher education stakeholders but also for society as a whole. Quality assurance agencies have done a big effort to identify criteria and indicators to be included in their evaluation processes. The current approach in quality assurance on the assessment of learning outcomes shows clearly that the graduates of those have acquired the necessary competences to meet the expectations of the employers.
As we all do believe that “quality is a journey not a destination” quality must work as a vehicle to facilitate the task of our universities in an internationalized context. It is a means not a goal in itself. Therefore, quality assurance processes must serve to the main objective to promote a more internationalised higher education and student mobility.
a) establishing a set of common criteria, which define the internal quality assurance of the universities, using the European experience and incorporating the academic needs/requirements of our partners
b) promoting the consolidation of the internal and the external higher education quality assurance in the higher education systems of the countries involved in the project
c) developing ways of cooperation in the Euro-Mediterranean Region, that
to create a Euro-Mediterranean quality assurance platform, based on the European experience and the needs of the other regions involved: North Africa and Middle East and South Europe To support the building of external quality assurance systems in the countries that considers the need to set up a QA agency. We are not interested in creating another super-structure of agencies.
Our purpose is to promote the dialogue among regional networks, following the recommendation of organizations such as UNESCO or INQAAHE, the International Network of QA Agencies at global level.
To achieve this goal, some fruitful experiences developed in other Areas such as Europe or Latin America can be explored in the Euro-Mediterranean Area.
ANECA will put all its background and experience and the capability to involve the relevant actors in this play to do our best in contributing to achieve the general objectives of the JISER-MED Project according to the proposal approved.