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Quality Assurance in ODL Programmes in Mauritius. Praveen Mohadeb. Quality Assurance in ODL Programmes in Mauritius. Government has an obligation to ensure that its citizens receive quality education.

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Quality Assurance in ODL Programmes in Mauritius

  • Government has an obligation to ensure that its citizens receive quality education.

  • The Government has to ensure high Quality delivery while at the same time encourage investment

  • It has to ensure long term sustainability of the education sector

    Reputation of the Sector - BAD APPLES SPOIL THE BARREL


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DE / ODL Programmes

  • Fastest growing area of education in the world

  • Separation between learning and teaching / space, time…

  • Requires special course design, learner support, instructional techniques, media, technology and organisation


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DE and ODL in Mauritius

  • Can be traced back to 1865 – correspondence programmes by University of London

  • Setting up of MCA in 1971

  • Very timid growth initially

  • Gained importance in early 1990’s in Tertiary Education with establishment of TEC – ( Teacher Education programmes + publication of Code of practice and Guidelines for Prospective Students of DE Programmes Offered by local and Overseas Institutions)

  • Basically in soft areas

  • MCA, UoM, MIE + most Private providers

  • Enrolment in ODL programmes 25 – 30%

  • Creation of Open University of Mauritius


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The Tertiary Landscape in Mauritius

  • Publicly funded institutions offering own programmes

  • Private institutions offering programmes of foreign/ local Universities

  • Total: 9 Publicly funded and 46 Private

  • More than 550 programmes

  • Total expenditure (public and private) about Rs 6.0b

  • A Regulatory Framework since 2005 (amended 2007)

  • Basically includes Approval for Setting Up, Registration, accreditation of Programmes and Quality Assurance/Audit


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Quality Assurance in ODL Programmes in MauritiusSome changes in the provision of Tertiary Education worldwide

  • Education -Traditionally State centric but now no longer hegemony of the State (specially TE)

  • Demand for Education – Increasing

  • Emergence of the Private Sector

  • Pace of global expansion in transnational Providers

  • Increase in for-profit providers

  • New modes of teaching and learning

  • Reforms in financing (shift from state to students and households, income diversification and cost recovery and support to students- scholarships, bursaries, loans, HCC’s…)


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Quality Assurance in ODL Programmes in Mauritius

  • No country where the government is not involved in the supply of education.

  • Private provision is seen more as a supplement than to a substitute for the public system

  • Many countries have come up with regulatory frameworks for Assuring Quality


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What is Quality Assurance?

  • Many definitions and no one size fits all

  • A systematic management and assessment procedures adopted by education institutions and systems in order to monitor performance against objectives and ensure achievement of quality outputs and quality improvements

  • Quality is a product of planning, monitoring, control and coordination; It depends on products, processes, systems and people


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Quality assurance

  • Facilitates recognition of standards of awards,

  • Serves public accountability purposes,

  • Helps informed students choice,

  • Contributes to improved teaching, learning and administrative processes, and

  • Helps disseminate best practices with the goal of leading to overall improvement of education systems.


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External Quality Assurance Processes

  • Provider registration – to protect the public from ‘fly-by-night’ providers

  • Qualification and sometimes ‘unit standard’ registration

  • Provider/institutional inspection, review, audit or accreditation (often through a check on quality management systems)

  • Programme accreditation based on more transparent criteria, procedures and evidence. Emphasis increasingly on outcomes rather than content.

  • Programme review across the system

  • External examinations, sometimes coupled with centrally monitored continuous assessment and portfolios


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Internal Quality Assurance Processes

  • Those policies, systems, strategies and resources used by the institution

  • to satisfy itself that its quality requirements are stipulated

  • to support and sustain existing levels of quality

  • to develop and enhance quality

  • to monitor, evaluate and act on resulting recommendations


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Separate QA system for DEOL or Integrated?

  • It is argued that external quality assurance for DEOL should be integrated into ‘mainstream’ quality assurance processes in that

  • the distinction between face-to-face and distance education is becoming increasing blurred

  • the same staff are often teaching on both types of programmes

  • it is the key way to overcome notions that distance education is second best

  • there is an increasing emphasis on outputs in quality assurance


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Quality “ball on the hill” (Koch,1991)Quality refers to standards an institution sets itself to achieve at any one time. The standards are dynamic and quality is about continuous improvement

Quality

E x c e l l e n c e

standard

standard


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Approaches to Quality

  • Fitness for purpose: examined in the light of the institution’s mission and objectives

  • Fitness of purpose: examined with regard to the manner and extent to which an institution’s mission and academic activities take national priorities and needs into account in relation to how the institution meets national goals, practices and targets.

  • Transformation: assessed with regard to the development of individual learners as well as the country’s requirements for social and economic growth.

  • Value for money: assessed by considering the extent to which efficiency, effectiveness and economies of scale are embedded in the management of the core function of the institution


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Approaches to Quality

Fitness forPurpose

- that the institution is fit to discharge the responsibility it has assumed

  • that the institution has articulated its MISSION and its OBJECTIVESand can demonstrate that it is fulfilling its mission and achieving its objectives

  • doing things right


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Approaches to Quality

  • That the institution is responding appropriately to the socio-economic needs of the country

  • doing the right things

Fitness of Purpose


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Quality Assurance /Audit

Objectives

  • Assess the strength of the quality culture

  • Facilitate and determine the commitment to continuous improvement

  • Appraise the systems in place for determining/setting academic standards

  • Evaluate the systems in place to ensure that measures taken to maintain and enhance quality are appropriate and effective

  • Establish whether the institution is fulfilling its mission and achieving its objectives in an efficient and effective manner


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Quality Criteria (South Africa)

  • Policy and Planning

  • Learners

  • Programme Development

  • Course Design

  • Course Materials

  • Assessment

  • Learner Support

  • Human Resource Strategy

  • Management and Administration

  • Collaborative Relationships

  • Quality Assurance

  • Information Dissemination

  • Results


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Quality Criteria -Mauritius

  • Institutional Mission, Aims and Objectives

  • Approach to Quality Assurance

  • Administrative and Management Issues

  • Curricula and Programmes

  • External Examiners

  • Research Degree Students

  • Collaborative Provisions

  • Industrial Links/Work-based Experience

  • Community Service and Good Citizenship


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Quality Criteria 1: Institutional Mission, Aims and Objectives

  • Institution’s mission is explicit. It is understood and owned by its staff

  • Aims and objectives are compatible with the mission. They are realistic and achievable


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Quality Criteria 2:Approach to Quality Assurance

  • Adopt a working definition compatible with the mission

  • Quality assurance is systematic and comprehensive, and is guided by an institutional Quality Assurance Handbook


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Quality Criteria 3:Administrative and Management Issues

  • Policies are clear, transparent and accessible by the public

  • Policy on equal opportunities is implemented

  • Consideration is given to physically disabled and mature students

3.1 Admissions


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Quality Criteria 3:Administrative and Management Issues

  • Principles of good governance are evident

  • Top management leadership

  • Management of funds

  • Management of academic activities

3.2 Governance


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Quality Criteria 3Administrative and Management Issues

3.3 Students

  • A Students Council is operational and it represents students views in various committees

  • Students Council voice is considered

  • Students welfare is operational

  • Students are encouraged to use the services provided


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Quality Criteria 3:Administrative and Management Issues

3.4 Staff

  • Staff Council is active

  • It defends the rights of the institution’s employees

  • Contributes to effective management

  • Staff welfare

  • Staff Appointments, Appraisal and Promotion

  • Staff Development


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Quality Criteria 4:Curricula and Programmes

4.1 Aims and Objectives

  • Curricula aims and objectives are explicit and are accessible by teachers and learners

  • They are consonant with socio-economic needs

  • Curricula provide an appropriate balance between general conceptual skills and personal skills, transferable skills and specialist skills

  • They are up-to-date in terms of specialist developments and current thinking on curriculum development and delivery


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Quality Criteria 4 Curricula and Programmes

4.2 Programme Design, Validation, Approval and Review

  • Programmes meet students’ needs

  • Access to programmes is extended to non-academic routes

  • Procedures have been established for validation and approval of programmes

  • Programmes are periodically reviewed

  • Input from professional bodies and industry


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Quality Criteria 4: Curricula and Programmes

4.3 Teaching and Learning Environment

  • Academic environment, physical and social, is conducive to learning and level of research is appropriate

  • Teaching accommodation is sufficient and appropriate for curricula on offer for full range of students

  • Ancillary facilities – staff accommodation, storage space, preparation rooms etc are adequate

  • Physical environment is adequately maintained – safety, cleanliness, repairs and décor


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Quality Criteria 4: Curricula and Programmes

4.4 Staff Resources Ancillary

  • Teaching staff establishment is sufficient to deliver the curricula

  • Teaching staff complement is suitable for the curricula, in terms of mix of qualifications, skills, experience, aptitudes, age, status, etc

  • There is adequate support in terms of library, technician, administrative, student services, staffing, etc.


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Quality Criteria 4: Curricula and Programmes

4.5 Learning Resources

  • Physical and other resources, including equipment, materials and ICT facilities are sufficient to deliver the programmes

  • Equipment is up-to-date, readily available and effectively deployed

  • Library, audio-visual, internet access, appropriate hardware and software and other academic services are adequate for the curricula


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Quality Criteria 4: Curricula and Programmes

4.6 Programme Organisation and Delivery

  • Programmes are effectively organised and managed

  • Teaching programmes are clearly articulated and regularly monitored

  • Coursework and assessment are systematically scheduled

  • Feedback from students, employers, moderators and auditors are analysed and acted upon


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Quality Criteria 4: Curricula and Programmes

4.7 Teaching and Learning

  • Based on explicit learning outcomes

  • Teaching methods are innovative and appropriate

  • Teaching is planned such that it meets students’ needs

  • Teaching approaches encourage independent learning with critical thinking and students take responsibility for their own learning

  • Learning is enriched by reference to cross-curricular links, current research, industrial applications and development of generic skills such as communication and teamwork


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Quality Criteria 4: Curricula and Programmes

4.8 Student Support

  • During application and enrolment, potential students are given appropriate information and advice

  • Appropriate assistance in curricular, vocational and personal domains are provided

  • Students know where to turn to for specific support

  • Effective support through systems of induction, course tutor, personal tutor, provision for remediation and curricular choice is provided

  • Students are adequately prepared for next stage of study or employment


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Quality Criteria 4: Curricula and Programmes

4.9 Monitoring and Assessment

  • A range of assessment methods is used for diagnostic, formative and summative purposes

  • Coursework faithfully reflects full range of curricular aims, including development of generic skills

  • There is an effective system of monitoring students’ progress and providing feedback


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Quality Criteria 4: Curricula and Programmes

  • Performance indicators are regularly used to inform institutional achievement in relation to educational aims and learning outcomes

  • Results are monitored and analysed and appropriate action taken

  • Quality control arrangements are applied consistently

4.10 Output, Outcomes and Quality Control


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Quality Criteria 5: External Examiners

The institution has clear policies regarding the

appointment of external examiners and generally

should ensure that:

  • Appointment is for a fixed period not exceeding three years

  • They are from reputable institutions with necessary expertise and experience

  • Terms of reference are explicit


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Quality Criteria 6:Research Degree Students

Institution has an established policy on research

and on Research Degree Studentsto ensure:

  • Students receive guidelines on their responsibilities

  • Role of supervisors is explicit

  • Continuous monitoring of students’ progress is carried out

  • Resources are readily available


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Quality Criteria 7: Collaborative Provisions

  • Institutions concerned must ensure that programmes are of the required standard and are offered with the same rigour as those in the parent institution

  • Students benefit from the same standard of resources as the regular students of the awarding institution

  • The awarding institution assures quality of educational provision under the collaboration


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Quality Criteria 8: Industrial Links

  • A committee comprising institution, industry and other stakeholders meets regularly for purposes of manpower planning

  • The industrial sector’s help is enlisted in curriculum design and programme validation


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Quality Criteria 9: Community Service and Good Citizenship (CSR)

  • The institution plays an active role in inculcating the spirit of a healthy community

  • It provides its services and expertise to the community to promote psycho-socio-economic integration and development


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Quality Assurance in ODL Programmes in Mauritius

The QA system should:

  • Lead to a system of education which ranks among the foremost in the world

  • Lead to a high level of competitive performance as defined by benchmarking and use of best practices

  • Promote LLL and enhance student mobility

  • Be reasonable and should not constitute barriers

  • Easily understood, not to confuse and not be unclear

  • Not be cumbersome and bureaucratic

  • Up to date

  • Consistent

  • Transparent

  • Based on regional and international experiences



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