National Bureau for Academic Accreditation and Education Quality Assurance
State of Kuwait
The Conference Sub-Theme abdullah
The Challenges of Implementing Good Practices in the Arab Region
Setting the stage for the broad application of good practices in Arab and Regional tertiary institutions that enroll large numbers of students is an intricate process.
Since good practices are context-bound, challenges range from ways to identify those that are relevant to specific areas of institutional performance (for example, effective pedagogy, the assessment of student learning outcomes, the optimal management of resources, establishing a governance focused on capacity-building, increase of research productivity, etc.), to the alignment of good practices with the institutional mission and goals, to the prioritization of their implementation, to their uncontested institutionalization as a tool to assure the continuity of improved performance.
The objective of this session is to analyze these or related issues and provide recommendation in addressing them.
Technology as a Facilitator of Implementing Good Practices.
Technologies such as personal computing, productivity software and the Internet offer new tools and opportunities for learning. Using technology tools to solve problems or create original products can aid students in their learning and it can support student understanding, retention, and transfer of knowledge.
Moreover, new technologies in relation to library services are now key factors in fostering both scientific literacy and research output. In addition, educators must improve themselves by increasing their educational skills and competencies through the use of technology.
However, realizing these objectives is not easy. Integrating technology into classroom practices requires instructors to engage in sophisticated planning and design processes.
The session deals with the design and implementation of good practices for the use of technology to facilitate the learning process and creating an enabling environment for all stakeholders.
Externally-Enforced Limitations on State Higher Education Institutions & Achieving Effective Performance Indicators.
Tertiary institutions have the obligation to establish strong external engagements in order to meet the goals of development—economic, technical, social, and cultural—set by national strategic plans and industry; needless to say, external engagement should not convert into forms of external control and intrusion. In recent years, however, there is a sense that internal decisions on student intake is less independent, that external players succeed in directing institutional policies, that external factors are increasingly becoming serious variables to tertiary institutions that seek effective performance.
Hence, there is incongruence between institutional aspirations and external factors, such as populist attitudes, tenacious social realities, and most important, restrictive state laws, such as those related to civil service legislations.
Given these aspects, the necessity of institutional autonomy and its role emerges as a key topic that deserves discussion.
The objective of this session is to cast light on the above issues and investigate the ways Arab and regional tertiary institutions can balance, or counteract external pressures and establish a strong autonomy that fosters high performance and enhances their public responsibility as leaders of society.
Internal Quality Assurance, Decentralization, and Stakeholders’ Empowerment: What Outcomes?
The dramatic impacts triggered by the advances in technology and information systems since the turn of the century have imposed many new challenges on tertiary education, such as decentralization that bolsters the growth of an integrated institution.
These challenges invite the usage of various strategies and approaches to the traditional/centralized organizational structure of tertiary education that overshadow institutions of higher education in the Middle East.
The traditional top-down decision-making as well as an array government-directed regulation impedes the creativity and freedom of institutions to implement and experience new and self-regulated policies.
The objective of this session is to investigate how decentralization as a management system has impacted the quality of sectors and units within large and medium size tertiary institutions, and how it increased or decreased stakeholders’ empowerment (i.e., students, faculty, deans of colleges, etc.).
Other possible areas to investigate are how decentralization relates to the emphasis on quality assurance in terms of organizational effectiveness, stakeholder satisfaction, and accountability to the public.
Another area to probe is case studies that illustrate how schools meet the challenges and needs of rapid transformation despite the existence of centralized government-directed regulations.
Case Studies of Good Practices and the Empowerment of Internal Stakeholders.
The quality of a tertiary institution depends on the ways it empowers its internal stakeholders. Forms of empowerment can take the cooperation between the institution’s administration, and its faculty, students, and staff in reconstructing laws, introducing promotional criteria, and revision of workloads, curriculum re-design, usage of new technologies, changes in campus outreach, etc.
Other forms of empowerment relate to strengthening the employability of graduates, facilitating schemes of research collaboration of faculty with research centers, and facilitating the networking of faculty and students.
This session invites empirical perspectives on the above broad topic. It seeks presentations that illustrate effective cases of empowerment-oriented strategies that have been implemented and have yielded tangible results with regard to stakeholders work conditions, career building, learning experiences, and the realities of campus life.
The Globalization of Discipline-Specific Good Practices: A Feasible and Desirable Project?
Globalization is about the interconnectedness of people and businesses across the world that eventually leads to global cultural, political and economic integration.
Due to economic globalization, the rapid advances in technology and sciences, and a worldwide movement toward outcomes-based higher education programs, systems of accreditation increasingly require changes in the traditional models of education design and delivery.
The purpose of this session is to investigate whether an approach to good practices as standard indexes to the quality of educational programs in the domains of the sciences, engineering, humanities, etc., is recommended, feasible, and desirable.
The session, moreover, addresses other related questions: can a set of good practices be applicable to multiple disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and performative arts, etc.? Has the globalization of certain practices lead to the increase or decrease of students’ and faculty’s mobility? In what ways have the predominance of certain good practices prompted (or failed to prompt) transformations among colleges and universities? What are the impacts of the endorsement (or advocacy) of discipline-specific good practices on cultural/educational pluralism and the institutions’ abilities to position themselves within the local as well as the global landscape?
This session invites papers on lesson learned from accepting or rejecting discipline-specific good practices that are often showcased as globally primary and vital.
Development and Implementation of National Qualifications Frameworks and their Impact on Quality Assurance in Higher Education.
Many counties around the world have established and implemented National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The NQF is a reform tool that is coherent and integrated within the Education and Training system for the recognition of all types of learning.
It is classified according to a set of criteria for levels of learning outcomes, and allows for horizontal and vertical articulation of qualifications to be part of it. Through the exposition to the experience of national agencies in developing and implementing their National Qualifications Framework.
This session casts light on the successful strategies to establish a vigorous NQF, good practices that strengthen the quality of higher education through the implementation of the NQF, and the important factors that need to be considered in establishing and implementing the NFQ that is well aligned with the global trends and the regional and national priorities in terms of education reform and narrowing the gap with the labor market needs.
Focused on Growth: Tertiary Education for the 21st Century
This session invites papers that combine empirical evidence with insightful speculation. The session engages the issue of the future growth of the impact of regional tertiary institutions, i.e., growth in terms of the institutions’ capabilities to produce much-needed human capital, to contribute ground-breaking knowledge and technology to the world at large, to reconstruct existing economic and socio-political conditions.
The session, therefore, responds to an array of questions: Are the principles and paradigms of the growth of tertiary institutions shifting? and why? What types of new interactions, inclusions, and re-alignments create an environment conducive to growth? What aspects of growth should be assigned top priority, and on what basis? In what ways is growth (or its regression) connected to factors such as internationalization, global or regional competitiveness, the emergence of knowledge-driven economics and borderless markets? What impact the system of the National Qualifications Framework can have in shaping and disseminating particular approaches to the growth of tertiary education (as defined in the terms above)?
By responding to these and related questions, the session aims to define the requisites that establish firmly the educational, research, and civic functions of regional tertiary education in the 21st century.