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Quality Assurance in practice: the example of Cyprus

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Title: Quality Assurance in practice: the example of Cyprus


1
Quality Assurance in practicethe example of
Cyprus
  • Elpida Keravnou-Papailiou
  • President of the Governing Board of
  • Cyprus University of Technology
  • and
  • Member of the Evaluation Committee for
  • Private Universities
  • 6 December 2010
  • ASEM Conference, Limassol, Cyprus

2
Presentation
  • Higher Education in Cyprus
  • Current Quality Assurance Bodies
  • Legislation for a new unified National QA and
    Recognition Agency
  • Conclusions

3
Higher Education in Cyprus
  • Relatively short history
  • Three state universities
  • University of Cyprus (1989, 1992)
  • Open University of Cyprus (2003, 2006)
  • Cyprus University of Technology (2003, 2007)
  • Four private universities (2005, 2007, 2010)
  • Currently operating under probationary license
  • Cyprus signed the Bologna Declaration in 2001

4
Private Schools of Tertiary Education
  • In addition there are many private schools of
    tertiary education, some of which have accredited
    university-level programmes
  • This is confusing since the schools themselves do
    not have the status of a university
  • Some are actively pursuing transnational
    arrangements with universities abroad (course
    validation, franchising agreements)

5
Transnational education provision is welcome
  • Provided that quality is not adversely affected
  • Provided that the management of quality is a
    strategic priority for HEIs and other education
    institutions
  • Universities in Cyprus can offer joint programmes
    and award joint degrees
  • Countries should safeguard against the
    commercialization of HE and the easy acquisition
    of qualifications
  • Such developments do not differ substantially
    from degree mills
  • An ever growing and thriving business

6
Bologna Process Stocktaking 2009 for Cyprus
DEGREE SYSTEM
1. Stage of implementation of the first and
second cycle
2. Access to the next cycle
RECOGNITION
7. Stage of implementation of diploma supplement
3. Implementation of national qualifications
framework
8. National implementation of the principles of
the LRC
QUALITY ASSURANCE, ESG
4. Stage of development of external QA system
9. Stage of implementation of ECTS
5. Level of student participation in quality
assurance
10. Recognition of prior learning
6. Level of international participation in QA
7
Some facts and figures for Cyprus
  • According to the official report on the progress
    of the Lisbon strategy
  • Amongst the 27 member states, Cyprus has the
    highest percentage (29.7) of population in the
    age group 25-64 with HE qualifications
  • Cyprus, Malta and Ireland are the three member
    states with the highest progress in the period
    2000-2007, regarding the percentage of their
    population with HE qualifications
  • This is a central progress indicator
  • Cyprus has a high student migration
  • More than half of its approximately 35,000
    students are studying at universities abroad
  • Government policy aims to reverse this situation
    and in addition to attract international students
  • Convert Cyprus to a regional centre for quality HE

8
The Quality Scene for HE in Cyprus
  • All HEIs in Cyprus are strongly encouraged to
    develop and apply effective internal quality
    management strategies

9
Current Quality Assurance Bodiesin Cyprus (1)
  • SETE (Advisory Committee for Tertiary Education)
  • Institutional evaluation for registering as a
    tertiary educational establishment
  • SEKAP (Council for Educational Evaluation-Accredit
    ation)
  • Seven member committee of university professors
  • Private Schools of Tertiary Education
  • Programmatic Evaluation and Accreditation
  • Strong participation of international experts in
    evaluation committees

10
Current Quality Assurance Bodiesin Cyprus (2)
  • ECPU (Evaluation Committee for Private
    Universities)
  • Seven member committee of university professors
    (chaired ex-officio by Chairperson of SEKAP two
    other joint members)
  • Processing applications for the establishment of
    new private universities and recommending to the
    Minister of Education
  • Monitoring progress during the probationary
    period
  • Monitoring progress subsequently
  • Strong participation of international experts

11
Private Universities
  • Quality management of their education provision
    is particularly extensive
  • Operate under probation for four years
  • Operate for profit
  • The quality of their programmes is a key
    criterion for granting them proper license of
    operation
  • Special emphasis is put on the implementation of
    the ECTS requirements

12
Criteria/Indicators for the Quality Management of
Programmes of Private Universities in Cyprus
  1. Aims, objectives and overall identity of
    programme
  2. Student intake
  3. Admissions criteria and admissions process
  4. Target audience (home and international students)
  5. Structure of programme
  6. Learning outcomes (overall programme, individual
    modules)
  7. Practical/industrial component (if applicable)
  8. Project work (dissertations, group work, theses)
  9. Implementation of ECTS requirements
  10. Generic skills and competencies that the
    programme aims to give to the students
  11. Research-related aspects of programme
  12. Internal mechanisms for evaluating the quality of
    the programme and the student and staff
    satisfaction, and the adequateness of these
    mechanisms
  13. Internal procedures for reviewing the programme
  14. Relation of programme with other programmes of
    the university
  15. Impact of the programme (societal, scientific)
  16. Learning Resources supporting the Programme

13
Current Quality Assurance Bodiesin Cyprus (3)
  • KYSATS (Cyprus Council for the Recognition of HE
    Qualifications)
  • Seven member committee
  • Exercises quality control on the degrees of
  • Private schools of tertiary education
  • Certification of knowledge proficiency
  • Private universities under probation
  • Verification of adherence to the transitional
    provisions
  • Accredits distance-learning qualifications
    provided by conventional institutions

14
The external QA scene in Cyprus is presently
rather fragmented
KYSATS
ECPU
SETE
SEKAP
Unfair quality control on local degrees
Minimal institutional evaluation
Forced to accredit distance learning degrees
Obliges schools to have students on
non-accredited programmes
Mixed-up situation between private universities
and their associated schools
state Institutions?
Schools are not obliged to have their programmes
accredited
What monitoring after probation?
There are gaps, overlaps and inconsistencies in
existing separate legislations
15
Legislation for a new unified National QA and
Recognition Agency
  • That will replace SETE, SEKAP, ECPU and KYSATS
  • With the aim of filling the gaps and removing
    overlaps and inconsistencies
  • Based on the ESG and addressing all tertiary
    level institutions
  • QA for all institutions
  • Accreditation only for private institutions
  • Dealing with cross-border education provision to
    and from Cyprus

16
Other Ongoing Developments in Cyprus
  • Dialogue in progress regarding the establishment
    of a new, unified and modernized legislation for
    HE
  • An NQF for Cyprus in line with the QF for the
    EHEA and the EQF for LLL is under development

17
Future Challenges for Cyprus
  • Implementation of the HE reform process
  • Extending the HE capacity to satisfy the demand
    for university studies
  • Increasing research activities
  • Increasing the involvement of the private sector
  • Establishing centers of excellence to compete
    internationally
  • Improving the attractiveness of HE by improving
    the quality of HE
  • Making the HE system student-centered
  • Enhancing student/staff mobility
  • Introducing flexibility in studies and
    establishing LLL centers at all HEIs

18
Conclusions
  • HE in Cyprus is growing rapidly
  • QA, both external and internal, is of critical
    significance
  • A culture towards quality is necessary for
    safeguarding against minimum quality standards
    for academic and professional qualifications
  • There is justifiable concern about cross-border
    education provision - this calls for strong
    collaboration links between national QA agencies
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