Monday, July 23, 2018 | ePaper

Global partnership for quality higher education

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Dr. M Abul Kashem Mozumder and Dr. Md. Shairul Mashreque :
Alongside with the expansion and diversification of higher education systems 'potential decline in the quality of higher education has become a growing concern worldwide.' Numerous indications of an emerging 'quality crisis' in higher education are being felt across the globe, including high dropout rates at the early stages of higher education, increasing rates of graduate unemployment and a general perception of lowering academic standards. "Within this context, many countries have created quality assurance mechanisms. These generally appeared at the national level first, through the creation of agencies, but are also increasingly found at the level of the higher education institutions themselves."
Quality assurance mechanisms in higher education institutions have been "mainly driven by external bodies that regularly assessed higher education institutions and-or their programmes based on a pre-established quality threshold. More recently, institutions have themselves developed internal mechanisms for ensuring quality, first in response to the requirements of external bodies, and later with a view to strengthening their internal management.'
UNESCO's International Institute for Educational Planning launched an international research project stresses " effective internal quality assurance, or IQA, solutions for higher education systems around the world. The project includes eight case studies from different regions. An international survey was also administered to investigate the state of the art of IQA in a broad sample of universities worldwide.
The overarching objective of this project is to "illustrate approaches and options that can be considered as good principles and a source of inspiration to guide other higher education institutions in the design and development of their own IQA systems. The research project is based on a multi-stakeholder approach comprising a survey of both academic and administrative staff's perceptions of IQA, as well as in-depth interviews with leadership, academic administrators and students.'
Promoting   quality higher education is a must. That is why World Bank stands poised for policy intervention through project governance   for quality higher development. The project intervention at the behest of World Bank (WB) for quality higher education has been growing globally. There is an urgent need for Bangladesh and other developing countries " to build quality and capacity in universities and to create skills that remain on the continent - and public investment is central." But in many a country including Bangladesh investment is not sufficient rather scanty.  Lavish patronization and enough funding is needed to raise quality and relevance and to increase the number of students in science and technology streams - a high priority for most countries in the world - and they require lab-based teaching and computer or IT oriented teaching learning. The shareholders of ICT as knowledge must be teachers and students.
Global partnership is considered of utmost significance. And this is going on. The global policy communities are beginning to realize that raising higher education quality is exceedingly important. "Bangladesh Govt. has taken initiatives to develop the quality of tertiary education.
Govt. plans to prepare university graduates in such way that they can successfully compete in the context of international knowledge society. Accordingly, the Ministry of Education, with the assistance of the World Bank, has undertaken a Higher Education Quality Enhancement Project (HEQEP).
The project aims at improving the quality of teaching-learning and research capabilities of the tertiary education institutions through encouraging both innovation and accountability and by enhancing the technical and institutional capacity of the higher education sector."  In Bangladesh the University Grants Commission UGC) is the implementing agency of the HEQEP.  This project Unit has been launched in UGC for 'implementation, management, monitoring and evaluation of the activities.'
The touchtone of such intervention is self-assessment. This contuses to go on. There are so many trajectories in this programme.  Global Perspective on Self-Assessment is admittedly great. Self-assessment is the approach that helps to get the answer to these questions based on facts and evidence in a systematic manner. It also provides the basis of strategic planning for continuous improvement of education "Under the impact of ICT and globalization jobs, business and careers for young graduates have become highly competitive all over the world than ever before.
The revolutionary developments in technology are changing the socio-economic systems, thinking, and nature of work and increased the opportunities available to university graduates. In the face of all these complex, competitive and changing environment, success mostly depends on what people know, what they are capable of doing, what skills they have acquired, and how fast they are able to adjust to changes around. Education must be more closely aligned to the needs of the community and society and the graduates need to develop their potential in terms of employability and lifelong learning. Industries are increasingly complaining about the skill shortage and skill Self-Assessment Manual 2 mismatch of the graduates. Academic institutions need to focus on new sets of skills driven by higher order of learning to make the graduate globally competitive. In order to enhance and ensure quality in higher education, educational institutions are required to be more responsive.  

(Dr. M Abul Kashem Mozumder, Pro-VC, BUP and Dr. Md. Shairul Mashreque, Retired Professor, Chittagong University).

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