9 November 2023

The Successes of IQA Redesigning, AUN-QA IC Agenda 6

Patitin Lertnaikiat
AUN Programme Officer;

Agenda 6 of the AUN-QA International Conference 2023 was dedicated to the discussion under the topic “AUN-QA IQA Design and Development: Recent Successes and Ways Forward”. This was following the Internal Quality Assurance System Design and Development Workshop in Viet Nam where AUN had the opportunity to assist in solidifying the foundations of IQA systems in Vietnamese higher education systems. The success of the workshop piqued the interest of many QA practitioners at the International Conference, and this session of the conference served as a great opportunity for many to learn about it.

In this session, the panelists were encouraged to share their experiences, insights, and key takeaways contributing to the redesigning of an effective IQA for ASEAN HEIs based on their participation in the AUN Internal Quality Assurance System (AUN-IQAS) Design and Development Workshop. 

The panelists of this session were the following:

  • Tran Bich Hue, MSc, Head of the Quality Management Division at the Vietnam Quality Assurance Department, Ministry of Education and Training, Vietnam
  • Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pham Van Tuan, Director, Quality Assurance Department, University of Danang
  • Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kamolwan Lueprasert, Special Advisor to the AUN Executive Director
  • Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tan Kay Chuan, AUN-QA Technical Expert, and Chief of Quality Officer to the AUN-QA, National University of Singapore

This session was moderated by Prof. Dr. Satria Bijaksana, Deputy Chairperson of AUN-QA Council, Institut Teknologi Bandung.

The QA Journey for Vietnam Higher Education - Tran Bich Hue

Ms. Tran.jpg

According to Ms. Tran Bich Hue, Viet Nam HEIs have undergone significant changes for the better in the past few years. The Ministry of Education and Training of Viet Nam has shown commitment to developing a programme and student accreditation system for Vietnamese universities. Following her introduction of the IQA context in Viet Nam, Ms. Tran Bich Hue proceeded to lay out her suggestions for what a Vietnamese IQA system needs based on her experiences at the AUN-IQAS Workshop.

First, the National Standards must guarantee quality education. The standards of curricula provided must be equal to the standards of ongoing subject-specific standards. The building of IQA systems must focus on the processes and the recruitment and development of a QA team should be at the institutional and programme level. Once a good IQA system is established, there must also be a way for institutions to communicate the output, outcomes and results to society and relevant parties.

The next step is to make sure the development of IQA and External Quality Assurance (EQA) systems are approaching international standards while aligning with national contexts. Authoritative bodies, the state, must be the leading role in promulgating policies for both IQA and EQA. These policies must promote IQA innovation in Vietnamese HEIs and it should foster a quality culture that brings shared responsibilities and benefits in harmonization of QA in ASEAN.

Seeing the Picture with Accreditation Results - Dr. Pham Van Tuan

Dr. Pham.jpg

As the saying goes, there is always room for improvement, and this holds true with QA. Universities should always be striving for improvements, no matter what the accreditation results are.

During his session, Dr. Pham Van Tuan shared his experience with accreditation results starting with a firm statement, “People don’t want to say we are weak, we are strong.” In his observation that when it comes to QA, some people see strong assessment scores and believe improvements are not needed. That is incorrect and should not be the way of the QA culture. In his experience, universities that continue on to conduct two or more assessments will earn higher scoring on average, each time. However, when looking at the specific scores, particularly in the IQA region, it is still unchanged after 5 years of accreditation. 

The AUN-QA IQAS workshop has allowed us to analyze the challenges in Vietnamese HEIs. Obstacles preventing Vietnamese universities from achieving better assessment scores are often contextual, making it difficult to pin down the right solutions. However, Dr. Pham provided five of his own solutions and comments at the institutional level that would hopefully be applicable for most situations:

  1. Quality in curriculum design and management
  2. Good data management in Universities
  3. Good benchmarking and evaluation systems
  4. Effective university autonomy in governance and management
  5. Good nurturing of quality culture in Universities

Finding the Right Model for Quality Assurance - Dr. Kamolwan Lueprasert

Dr. Kamolwan.jpg

Having the right IQA model is critical for every university. They must find the right one that fits the context of the university’s policies, region, and its community. However, with potentially infinite ways to create an IQA model, many HEIs out there may be struggling to find a model that is most efficient for them.

In this regard, according to Dr. Kamolwan, good leadership plays a big role in IQA development. There needs to be a person that can oversee all the processes and systems in the institution to determine what would be the best model. She compared the process of finding the right model to a food recipe; the taste may just simply not be right for certain people. But in the end, it is the work of all the people to contribute to the final taste of the “dish”.

Masterclass Suggestion - Dr. Tan Kay Chuan

Dr. Tan.jpg

There is plenty of QA knowledge out there, often never getting the opportunity to be shared by the people that possess them. The main reason is that there are just not enough opportunities for experienced QA experts to share all their knowledge and have it well documented. 

To take on such a challenge, Dr. Tan Kay Chuan came forward with a suggestion on the basis that upper management of Universities may not be interested in IQA, but they are interested in ranking. Therefore, the answer is to create a masterclass – a platform which invites the best of the best universities to come and share their stories, experiences, and good practices in how they achieved their rankings. In this scenario, the invited rectors, chancellors, and presidents will have the opportunity to see how the top universities get their ranking, strategies, and so on. 

Read more about good QA practices and insights emerging from the AUN-QA International Conference 2023 at the list below: