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QUALITY ASSURANCE IN TERTIARY EDUCATION IN MAURITIUS. by Goolam Mohamedbhai Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Mauritius. Fact Sheet On Mauritius. Small island in the Indian Ocean Govt.: Parliamentary democracy Independent from UK since March 1968 Area: 2000 km 2

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quality assurance in tertiary education in mauritius

QUALITY ASSURANCE IN TERTIARY EDUCATION IN MAURITIUS

by

Goolam Mohamedbhai

Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Mauritius

fact sheet on mauritius
Fact Sheet On Mauritius
  • Small island in the Indian Ocean
  • Govt.: Parliamentary democracy
  • Independent from UK since March 1968
  • Area: 2000 km2
  • GNP/capita = US $ 4 600
  • Literacy rate = 86%
  • National strategy for transforming Mauritius into a Knowledge Hub & Centre for Higher Learning
  • Foreign promoters encouraged to set up branch campus in Mauritius
overview of tertiary education sector
Overview of Tertiary Education Sector
  • Institutions broadly classified as public and private sector, and regional
  • Tertiary Education Institutions (TEI’s) also referred to as post-secondary institutions – offering postgraduate, undergrad, diploma & certificate courses
public sector institutions
Public Sector Institutions
  • 2 Universities: Univ of Mauritius, Univ of Tech Mauritius
  • Mauritius Institute of Education, Mahatma Gandhi Institute, Mauritius College of the Air (distance learning college)
  • 2 Polytechnics: Swami Dayanand Institute of Management, Institut Superieur de Technologie
  • Mauritius Institute of Health (under Ministry of Health)
  • Industrial & Vocational Training Board
  • Total enrolment = 11,700, 55% at Univ of Mauritius, the oldest & largest institution, operational 1968
private sector institutions
Private Sector Institutions
  • 35 local, privately established institutions
  • 50 overseas institutions delivering education through local bodies
  • Characteristics of private institutions:

part-time programmes; market-driven, ‘soft’ subjects; small cohorts; offer foreign courses under franchise agreement; agents for DE institutions overseas

  • Enrolment: approx. 7 500, 39% of total enrolment in Mauritius, and increasing continuously
  • No foreign university branch so far
regional institutions
Regional Institutions
  • Institut de la Francophonie pour l’Entrepreuneuriat, set up by AUF, caters for African region
  • SSR Medical College, Indian institution affiliated to Univ of Mauritius
  • Mauras College of Dentistry, Indian institution affiliated to Univ of Bhavnagar in India

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Mauritian students studying overseas = 6 800

Total tertiary education enrolment rate = 20%

Plan is to increase this to 35%

institutions overseeing tertiary education
INSTITUTIONS OVERSEEING TERTIARY EDUCATION
  • Tertiary Education Commission (TEC)
  • National Accreditation and Equivalence Council (NAEC) (now defunct)
  • Mauritius Qualifications Authority (MQA)
1 tertiary education commission
1: Tertiary Education Commission
  • Created 1988 as a parastatal body under Ministry of Education
  • Main responsibilities at time of creation:

Plan, develop, coordinate TEI’s under its purview; allocate govt funds; ensure accountability & optimum use of resources

  • Institutions under TEC’s purview:

1. Univ. of Mtius 2. Mtius Inst. of Education 3. Mahatma Gandhi Inst. 4. Mtius College of the Air; 5. (later in 2000) Univ of Tech Mtius

  • In 1988, no private institutions & QA not yet applicable
2 naec
2. NAEC
  • Established by Govt in 1997 under Ministry of Education
  • Main objective was to ensure quality education in Mtius
  • To establish equivalence of qualifications of institutions within & outside Mtius
  • To undertake academic audits and accreditation of institutions
  • Was meant to serve as the QA agency in Mtius
  • But never really fulfilled its mission
3 mauritius qualifications authority
3. Mauritius Qualifications Authority
  • Set up in 2001 under Ministry of training & HRD
  • Main objective was to evaluate & recognise qualifications awarded by technical/vocational training institutions but this was not explicit
  • MQA started to also evaluate post-secondary qualifications
  • Overlap in responsibilities between MQA & NAEC (recognition of qualifications)
  • Overlap also between MQA & TEC (public TEI’s)
major changes in 2005
MAJOR CHANGES IN 2005
  • MQA Act amended, to be responsible for only technical/vocational institutions
  • NAEC demolished, all responsibilities passed on to TEC
  • TEC explicitly given responsibility for ensuring quality of public & private post-secondary institutions
  • TEC Act amended to give it the following additional responsibilities w.r.t. post-secondary institutions:

1. register & accredit private institutions

2. recognise & determine equivalence of qualifications

3. promote quality through QA & accreditation mechanisms

tec qa public institutions
TEC & QA (Public Institutions)
  • Set up QA & Accreditation Division in 1997
  • Quality Assurance Cmttee (with rep from each TEI)
  • May 1997: major seminar “QA in Higher Education” with overseas academics
  • 1999: “Framework for QA in Tertiary Education Sector in Mtius” published to guide TEI’s
  • 1999: workshop on “Setting Up of Institutional QA Systems” for all TEI’s
  • TEC’s model is for each TEI to set up its own QA system. “Guidelines for Establishment of QA Systems” published
  • TEC defines quality as ‘fitness of purpose’ and ‘fitness for purpose’
external auditing of public tei s by tec
External Auditing of Public TEI’s by TEC
  • 2000: “Guidelines for Self Assessment” published
  • 2004: “Quality Audit Handbook” published
  • Procedure for external audit:

-TEI to prepare self-assessment portfolio

-Portfolio assessed by external audit panel set up by TEC in consultation with TEI

-Panel visits TEI over 3-4 days, then submits its report to TEI through TEC, for comments

-Panel finalises report & submits it to TEC & TEI

-TEI to act on recommendations & later informs TEC of outcome of actions taken

  • An aggrieved TEI may appeal to Minister who sets up an ad hoc committee to hear and decide on the case.
  • 2005-07: First cycle of auditing of TEI’s by TEC. Univ of Mtius audited in May 2005.
accreditation of private institutions by tec
Accreditation of Private Institutions by TEC
  • Any PI has to register with TEC which then accredits its academic programmes
  • “Programme Accreditation” & “Guidelines for Programme Accreditation” published
  • Accreditation Panel chaired by TEC Director & includes 2 subject specialists
  • Panel may grant provisional accreditation subject to quality control by TEC during the programme period. Subsequently accreditation may be granted for the full duration of the programme
  • Panel may also refer back an application with recommendations for resubmission, or reject it
qa at univ of mauritius
QA at Univ of Mauritius
  • UoM started putting QA system in place in mid 90’s – in parallel to TEC’s initiatives
  • QA under Pro-VC for curriculum development
  • Guidance from a number of foreign academics
  • Strategic Plan (1999-2004) prepared
  • Review of all academic processes started
  • University Quality Assurance Team (UQAT) set up under Senate. Also FQAT in Faculties, UQAT in Administration
  • Outcome: QA documents detailing procedures, questionnaires, evaluation forms, etc.
  • 2002: QA Office with full-time Director appointed
  • 2004: Self assessment & mock internal audit undertaken
  • 2005: External Audit by TEC
  • 2006: Draft Audit Panel’s report received & views submitted. Final report awaited for recommendations
some issues for consideration
Some Issues for Consideration
  • Why was NAEC unable to function? Lack of leadership, poor governance structure, insufficient resources
  • Should technical education not be under Ministry of Education?
  • Dividing line between technical and post-secondary education is blurred. Hence, still overlap between MQA & TEC. Different Ministries complicate matters further.
  • TEC still responsible for channelling govt funds to public TEI’s. Conflict of interest in TEC being also a QA agency?
  • No legal provision for TEC to charge fees for accreditation
  • Should Director of TEC chair Programme Accreditation Panel for PI’s?
  • Serious lack of trained human resources in QA at TEC & TEI’s
  • Preparing for external audit takes enormous institutional effort -time & paperwork. Academic work suffers, especially in a small institution. Too many Cmttees set up at U of Mtius
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