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Developing and Implementing a National Framework and External Quality Assurance System for Higher Education: the Maltese Experience

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Alexander Spiteri National expert in quality assurance for further and higher education, Malta QA Islamic Workshop, North Cyprus 28,29th May 2015 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Developing and Implementing a National Framework and External Quality Assurance System for Higher Education: the Maltese Experience


1
Developing and Implementing a National Framework
and External Quality Assurance System for Higher
Education the Maltese Experience
  • Alexander Spiteri
  • National expert in quality assurance for further
    and higher education, Malta
  • QA Islamic Workshop, North Cyprus
  • 28,29th May 2015

2
The oldest temples in the world...
Before Göbekli Tepe was discovered !
3
Background
  • 2,000 years of colonisation
  • 1964 Independence
  • 1974 Republic within the Commonwealth
  • 2004 Membership in EU
  • 1930s construction of school inspection system
    as big brother centralised control due to poor
    teacher status
  • 1990s rejection of inspection as colonialist
    legacy, in parallel with increased teacher status
  • 2000 education discourse moves from
    massification to quality of provision
  • 2006 Education Act amended to foster quality
    culture throughout education system, including HE.

4
The Quality Cycle
Enhanced quality, numbers, personal and national
well-being
5
IQAs and EQAs
6
A National Quality Culture
7
Wide variety in a micro context
  • Three self-accrediting institutional providers
  • University of Malta EQF 5-8 for 11,000 students
  • MCAST, national vocational college EQF 1-6 for
    11,000 students
  • ITS, national hospitality institute EQF 1-5 for
    800 students
  • 3 foreign university campuses or affiliate
    centres, with more applications in line
  • 30 other private providers of foreign courses,
    from short FE courses to Ph.D.s
  • 10 state entities and departments that develop
    courses and outsource provision
  • 55 other providers, mostly micro.
  • Increased demand for accreditation of distance
    and digital learning

8
Capitalising on local strengths
  • One Ministry of Education from pre-primary to
    vocational, adult and tertiary provision
  • National Qualifications Framework that gave
    parity of esteem to vocational and tertiary
    provision
  • Parity of esteem and same mechanism for ECTS and
    ECVET learning credit systems
  • Same licensing and accreditation mechanisms
  • Vocational providers aspired to status of
    tertiary providers
  • Very close working collaboration between key
    stakeholders

9
Many roads to the same QA goals...
ESG
10
Preliminary Scoping Exercise
  • c.75 of license holders at the time were visited
  • Almost all had explicit or implicit IQA
    procedures in place.
  • Discussions brought these to consciousness and
    identified gaps
  • Providers approved of an overarching FHE QA
    Framework based on ESG and enriched with EQAVET

11
An Organic Approach to Framework Development
12
Aims of a QA FH Framework
  • Developing a national QA framework for FH
    education that
  • Fosters enhanced quality cultures in providers
  • Increases the agency, satisfaction and numbers of
    users
  • Enhances the international profile and
    credibility of FH providers in Malta
  • Contributes towards Malta becoming a regional
    provider of excellence in FH education

13
Framework Principles
  • A Framework based on the ESG and enriched by the
    EQAVET perspective focus on financial and
    institutional fitness for purpose
  • A Framework that contributes to a National
    Quality Culture
  • IQA that is Fit for Purpose
  • EQA that is a tool for both Development and
    Accountability
  • The Quality Cycle is at the Heart of the
    Framework
  • Integrity and Independence of the
    EQA Process

14
The IQA Standards for FHE
  • Policy for quality assurance.
  • Institutional and financial fitness for purpose.
  • Design and approval of programmes.
  • Student-centred learning, teaching and
    assessment.
  • Student admission, progression, recognition and
    certification.
  • Teaching staff.
  • Learning resources and student support.
  • Information management.
  • Public information.
  • Ongoing monitoring and periodic review of
    programmes.
  •  Cyclical External Quality Review

15
Framework Development
  • First stage implements the provisions on
    internal quality assurance and periodic external
    quality audits in Legal Notice 296 of 2012. It
    refers to further, higher and adult formal
    education provision in both state and non-state
    sectors. Third and final version in July 2015.
  • Second stage review of accreditation procedures,
    including for elearning and digital learning
  • Third stage incorporating QA requirements
    for informal and non-formal learning and
  • work-based learning.

16
How was this achieved?
  • Setting up of Net-QAPE
  • Unique training opportunities
  • Constant dialogue at all stages
  • Strengthening Internal Quality Assurance (IQA)
    systems by providers
  • with NCFHE support, through Net-QAPE
  • Developing together the External Quality Audit
    (EQA) objectives, procedures and tools.
  • There was full agreement on the QA Framework,
    external audit objectives and procedures
  • Piloting the IQA and EQA in the three major
    state institutions

17
Feedback from
  • Maltese stakeholders and service providers
  • ENQA - the European Association for Quality
    Assurance in Higher Education 
  • CEDEFOP the  European Centre for the
    Development of Vocational Training
  • AQA - the Austrian Agency for Quality Assurance
  • OAQ - the Swiss Center of Accreditation and
    Quality Assurance in Higher Education
  • QAA the UK Quality Assurance Agency
  • RAQAPE - the Romanian Agency for Quality
    Assurance in Pre-University Education
  • ASIIN German QA Agency
  • AQUIN German QA Agency

18
EQA parameters
  • Based on ESGEQAVET,
  • External review by peers, that include student
    evaluators
  • Entity informed 6 months before
  • Desk analysis of documentation for initial
    research questions
  • Entity has 6 weeks in which to give response to
    draft report
  • Full report is published, including response by
    entity on way forward

19
Lessons Learnt
  • IQAs
  • work needed to bring to consciousness good
    practices
  • work needed to change mentality from provider of
    educational service to an educational entity with
    intrinsic quality culture
  • IQA Reporting how to ensure that report not just
    descriptive but truly self-reflective,
    identifying needs and proposing sustainable
    action plan
  • Peers experts independent academic peers are
    more perceptive and demanding than QA agencies
  • Student evaluators a valuable contribution
  • Judgments need to standardize their
    interpretations, BUT judgments cannot be compared
    across different categories of entities
  • FH Framework having one set of standards and
    interpreting them flexibly for different types of
    providers WORKS.

20
Dr. Alexander Spiteri (National expert in quality
assurance for further and higher education in
Malta)
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