Why Quality Assurance?
Quality assurance is a by-product of ongoing efforts to define the objectives of an institution to have a work plan to achieve them and to specify the checks and balances to evaluate the degree to which each of the tasks is fulfilled (NAAC, cited in The Academic Quality Assurance Control Unit, 2006, p.6).
Why Quality Enhancement?
- Greater international competitiveness;
- The Development of an interest in enhancing quality;
- The rapid growth of information technology which has made data collection and management possible
- Increasing recognition of the need to ensure productivity and performance that compares with the ‘best” in any particular field (Schonfield, 1998).
What is Quality Assurance?
- It is about improvement not control
- It is about commitment and participation
- It is about transformation and change: Quality as transformation implies that the teaching that goes on in the institution should transform students’ perceptions of their world and be able to apply their knowledge to real world problems.
- It is about being relevant: Quality as fit for purpose implies that, the institution’s purposes and aims must themselves be ones that have some kind of public sanction.
- It is about value for money: Quality as value for money implies that, the institution Should emphasize effective teaching, train more graduates for less public money, be accountable to public demands, and attract outside funding.
- It is about actions leading to expected standards and benchmarks
- It promotes innovation and its systematic internal quality assurance unit (IQAU)
Procedures for Quality Assurance
It is suggested that, each educational institution, as a first step towards quality assurance, must develop Strategic Plans which spell out clearly the aims and objectives of the institution as regards:
- Teaching and learning
- Faculty development
- Departments and units/sections
- Course and curricular matters
- Research and community services
- Physical development
- Income generation activities
With the Strategic Plan in place, the next important of quality assurance procedure is the annual assessment of teaching and learning including assignment, quizzes, project work, examinations, grades and grading systems, method of teaching, and course contents.
In this regards, each faculty, department or section of the institution should be involves in quality assurance by developing assessment strategies including the following:
- Well written aims and objectives of the department/faculty
- Various courses offered
- Teaching and learning support services
- Course related statistics
- Feedback from relevant constituencies (students, past students, employers, external examiners’ report, etc.)
- Staff research and development activities
- Issues of professional recognition
It can be seen from the above that, for a Dean or Head of Department to feed central Administration with complete quality assurance reports, heads of units, lecturers, supporting staff and students should all be fully involved. More especially, Heads of Department should require all lecturers to be accountable and give assurance as regards:
- Students learning activities (in their Course Outline)
- Teaching and learning developments
- Assignments, projects and mode if assessment
- Resources available for teaching
- Courses, seminars, workshops, etc., to be undertaken
- Plans and development for the coming year
It is now a common practice for students to appraise their lecturers at the end of each semester using assessment ratings designed by Quality Assurance Unit
Usually, the assessment covers such areas as knowledge of subjects, course content and objectives, teaching strategies, adequacy of class assignment and tests, and classroom management techniques. With the student assessment results, the assurances that the external examiner’s report, and general observation by the Head of Department, a fair assessment can be made on each lecturer in the University.
Functions of Internal Quality Assurance Unit
- Development and application of Quality benchmarks in various activities of the institution
- Dissemination of information on academic quality
- Organization of discussions, workshops, seminars and promotion of quality circles
- Recording and monitoring quality measures of the institution
- Acting as a nodal agency of the institution for quality related activities
- Preparation of the Annual Quality Assurance Report and such other reports as may be decided from time as may be decided from time to time.