Quality Enhancement Policy of Higher Education and Its Impact on Universities

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CHAPTER – 1

INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

1.1 - Introduction and Background

The Government of Pakistan established Higher Education Commission (HEC) in 2002 to facilitate growth of indigenous universities of Pakistan to become centers of quality of education and research and development. Though this process, HEC aims to play its role in building of knowledge-based economy in Pakistan. In order to achieve this goal, HEC has undertaken a systematic plan of implementation that is 5year Medium Term Development Framework (MTDF). The main aim of HEC was to focus on quality and relevance (HEC, 2010). The core strategic areas of MTDF are:

1- Faculty development

2- Improving enrollment

3- Quality in learning and research

4- Importance to national plan

These plans are supported by well-integrated crosscutting themes for developing leadership, governance and management, enhancing quality assessment and accreditation, and physical and technological infrastructure development, (Batool, 2010).

HEC introduces quality enhancement cell in universities for maintaining and improving the academic quality in the country by establishing that criteria are being met and educational activities are also in an agreement with the plans of the commission. According to international practices and development, HEC improves plans in order to more improve the standards. HEC intends to achieve excellence in the higher education and by taking major initiatives to develop the performance of universities and started up with the primary step of outlining the performance evaluation standards for the universities. For this, numbers of documents are defined, every document of these articulates a detailed element of the institutional quality. Therefor these documents are equally important for achieving the desired certifications to quality enhancement in higher education (Batool, 2010).

Self-Assessment is an essential element in completing the HEC recognition. The recommendations for Self-Assessment are published as “The Manual for Self-Assessment” for the purpose of implementation at department / programed level in the universities. The complete practices of Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) are controlled by the QECs established under the umbrella of the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) of HEC at the universities and consequently develop an integral part of the universities concerned. Furthermore the QECs also work in management with authorization bodies to make the process of program level accreditation. However, the institutional act of evaluation has many more measurements with greater complexity, (HEC, 2006).This thesis defines the Institutional performance evaluation standards and to make sure that quality establishment is certified by the HEC for the universities. The institutional act assessment comes under the Purview of the HEC whereas this process is dated by the results of IQA Exercise done by the universities through implementation of the “Self-Assessment Model”. The effects of Self-Assessment will agree to the process of Performance Evaluation Standards for the HEIs to be directed by the HEC in line with best performs of External Quality Assurance (Raouf,2010).

The Higher Education Commission is working for continuous improvement of these standards and their effectiveness. The HEC through QAA will assess individual institutions periodically established on the performance evaluation standards defined here. These periodic reviews will be shown from side to side an arrangement of On-Site Assessment by Performance Assessment Teams under the direction of QAA. The quality standards observed by a university will be documented only as a result of successful performance assessment reviews through evaluation of institutional successes against pre-defined principles (HEC, 2011).

To sustain academic quality and standards in higher education the institutions need to be professional, creative and innovative. The vision,...
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