8 December 2022

Ministry of Education, Brunei Darussalam's Aspects on the AUN-QA Tier 1 Training

AUN Writer Team

By Chanya Chinsukserm, AUN Programme Officer

From 31 October to 3 November 2022, the ASEAN University Network-Quality Assurance (AUN-QA) training course for Accomplishing Programme Assessment, Version 4.0 (AUN-QA Tier 1 Training), was held in Bandar Seri Begawan under the invitation and recommendation of the Ministry of Education, Brunei Darussalam (MoE). Participants from various educational sectors, namely the MoE, public and private higher education institutions (HEIs), and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions, have engaged in the training. The AUN-QA Secretariat was able to gather firsthand information through the MoE’s standpoints about the significance of holding the AUN-QA Tier 1 Training.

Quality Assurance – The Road Towards Brunei’s Vision 2035

One of Brunei's Vision 2035 is to ensure its people are well-educated and highly skilled, as measured by the highest international standard, this aspiration highlights the critical role of the MoE in providing high quality education to Bruneians. It was also reflected in the MoE's Strategic Plan 2018-2022, where one of its key deliverables for higher education is to develop a Higher Education Quality Assurance Framework (HEQAF). As the higher education sector grows in the country, the establishment of this framework is essential for developing standards and strengthening the quality assurance (QA). Therefore, the Department of Higher Education (HiED) was tasked with reviewing the existing Quality Assurance Framework (QAF) and establishing a HEQAF fitting for the nation’s public and private institutions.

From the MoE’s perspective, AUN-QA is widely known within ASEAN and its partners. It is a recognised organisation that has been promoting the QA system for ASEAN universities. The AUN-QA is not only appreciated within the ASEAN region but it is also internationally acknowledged. In recent years, the AUN-QA has introduced to its member universities, and universities among the ASEAN nations, upon the adoption of the AUN-QA framework as their national standards.

Having adopted the ASEAN Quality Assurance Framework (AQAF) as its HEQAF, the HiED has to embark on all necessary activities to actualise it. In other words, it has to enhance the Ministry’s capacity building in order for the implementation to run smoothly. Thus, the MoE took the first step for Bruneians by initiating the AUN-QA Tier 1 Training and the Self-Assessment Report (SAR) . The intention was to mainly create awareness about HEQAF and their role in the  QAsystem in higher education; introduce the relevant tools and reporting approaches expected from HEIs; and strengthen the capacity of HEIs’ Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) unit.   

Ultimately, the goal in holding the AUN-QA Tier 1 Trainingwas for HEIs is to recognise the Ministry’s expectation of highest standards and on par with international institutions. This high standard reflects the quality of the programmes, graduates, and academics; and creates confidence and trust among the stakeholders pursuant to Brunei’s Vision 2035, which calls for the production of well-educated and highly skilled graduates.

 The AUN-QA Tier 1 Training is a step towards the direction to improve management gaps and strengthen understanding, as a result, the widespread implementation of the QA system.  In order to offer the highest quality programmes and remain relevant in light of changes in the educational system throughout the world, it is imperative that all HEIs get engaged to ensure their adoption of the new HEQAF, in pursuit of Brunei's Vision 2035.

Rationale behind the organisation of the AUN-QA Tier 1 Training

For the MoE, the AUN-QA Tier 1 Training is crucial in ensuring that all of the HEIs—public and private—are quality assured using the same framework.  By sharing a common framework, the MoE will find it less complicated to monitor HEIs’ performance in compliance with the new MoE's Strategic Plan 2023-2027. Hence, it comes down to the importance of equalising the QA standards between public and private institutions.  Moreover, since HEIs and their global missions of a connected and mobile society are strongly promoted by the MoE, the QA with international benchmarking is the key element.  Thus, the AUN-QA Tier 1 Training indicates where the MoE stands regionally and how they can bridge the gap with international institutions. 

The AUN-QA Tier 1 Training’s participants should be trained and equipped with knowledge on how to identify the essential elements of a QA ecosystem. They will also be able to interpret the AUN-QA framework, its criteria, and requirements, as well as know how to produce SAR for the AUN-QA programme assessment.

With the enforcement of HEQAF in 2023, HEIs are expected to generate SARs through the  continuous consultations between them and the MoE. The year 2023 will be the first baseline information on the quality of the higher education sector and will be a year of learning for all.

Relevant article: Brunei’s Daily Newspapers featured the success of AUN-QA Tier 1 Training