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Sunway and MyQAN Brings ASEAN Stakeholders together to Evolve Higher Education Quality Assurance

March 25, 2021 | Campus News
Sunway and MyQAN Brings ASEAN Stakeholders together to Evolve Higher Education Quality Assurance

In an effort to drive the evolution of quality assurance in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), Sunway University, Sunway College and Malaysian Higher Education Institutions Quality Assurance Network (MyQAN) jointly organised a Seminar on Internal-External Quality Assurance (SieQA) 2021 from 16th to 17th of March.

With the theme “Higher Education as Enterprise – Embedding the Quality Assurance Culture,” the virtual event was attended by over 400 participants from universities in the ASEAN region including Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia to identify how higher education institutions have been responding in this period of major change.

The delegates also explored practical strategies that can be used to embed quality assurance processes in education institutions to create a culture which maximises flexibility, encourages enterprise and raises standards for now and the future.

Deputy Minister of Higher Education YB Dato’ Mansor Othman, who officiated the seminar said, “The Malaysian government is always supportive of internationalisation initiatives such as SieQA as part of our push to become an international education hub. I believe SieQA 2021 is timely for the exploration of the future of quality assurance in ASEAN’s education institutions.”

He emphasized that good quality assurance practices ensure that future talents can survive and thrive in a post COVID-19 world and the fourth industrial revolution.

Malaysian Higher Education Institutions Quality Assurance Network (MyQAN) President, YBhg. Professor Dr Roziah Mohd Janor said in her welcome address, “The seminar certainly renews our commitment as quality assurance practitioners to work closely together to in realise our shared goal of assuring quality in higher education.”

“In Malaysia, we have several types of universities and institutions of higher learning, and it is a challenging task to assure the quality of the programmes solely on our own. There is a need to form a network of quality assurance officers and provide a platform to share, learn and express the concerns surrounding issues related to program accreditations in a friendly manner.”

Sunway University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graeme Wilkinson explained during his keynote presentation that higher education institutions are going through a period of radical change globally and the COVID-19 pandemic has speeded up the evolution.

“Students are becoming ‘digital nomads’ who study anytime anywhere, not just on campus, and this will also become the model for how many will work during their future careers. Learning will increasingly use combined on-campus resources and the myriad of online materials including digital libraries, virtual reality simulations, TED talks and YouTube lectures by famous educators, scientists etc and others.”

“We now have a huge range of resources available to students which I call ‘big resources,’ just as we have the concept of “big data” that can be mined.”

He added that academics such as lecturers and professors will no longer conduct all of the teaching themselves but instead act as expert “curators” who will select from the huge range of resources available from which students can learn.

Professor Wilkinson also emphasized that the big challenge for universities will be to ensure the high quality of the learning process and this is something that Sunway University is very passionate about.

“We are actively promoting the idea of third generation quality assurance for higher education that embraces the changes that are now taking place.”

The delegates reached a consensus that the pandemic presented the time and need for quality assurance in higher education to adapt and change in ensuring relevance and effectiveness.

Professor Datuk Dr. Asma Ismail, FASc., Chairperson of Malaysian Qualification Agency Board said during her keynote presentation that there is a need to improve information and communication technology, pedagogy and quality assurance competency to catch up with the ongoing advancement of technology.

“I would highly suggest that teaching and learning support centres be set up in most universities to facilitate the continuing and professional development of faculty”, she said.

The conference also highlighted the need for more research in Quality Assurance areas in terms of relevance, and effectiveness of new approaches amongst other. Quality Assurance agencies, higher education institutions and researchers are encouraged to work closely together to ensure the continuity and development of Quality Assurance locally, regionally and globally.

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