UNESCO Beirut and IIEP Launch “Internal Quality Assurance in Higher Education in the Arab Region” E-course


PARIS - The adoption of internal quality assurance (IQA) has become one of the most important reform initiatives undertaken at the higher education level, including in the Arab States. When designing IQA systems, higher education institutions (HEIs) are often either responding to the requirements of national or international quality assurance agencies, or independently tightening control to manage the quality of their services, according to the UNESCO.

When developing internal quality assurance, HEIs face a number of challenges, such as choosing an appropriate focus for their IQA, integrating IQA tools into a cost-effective and coherent system, taking into account the need to enhance the employability of graduates through IQA and finding an appropriate balance between centralized and decentralized structures.

To bridge a knowledge gap on contextual conditions of IQA, UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) conducted an international survey and case studies of universities with a proven record of effective IQA processes focused at quality improvements and graduate employability. The research helped to document existing IQA practices and analyze its effects as well as identify internal and external factors that contribute to IQA’s efficient functioning.

Against this backdrop, and based on the findings of the IIEP, UNESCO Beirut is launching a distance education course (e-course) on “Internal Quality Assurance in Higher Education in the Arab Region”, whose aim is to enable higher education institutions in Arab states to identify areas to develop their IQA. The course targets university leaders in charge of academic quality (for instance, vice-rectors of academic affairs and quality assurance professionals at the central and decentralized levels) of higher education institutions from the 19 Arab countries.

The course, organized in four modules, mainly aims at equipping higher education officials with responsibilities for quality management with options and good practices for the development of an internal quality assurance system in a higher education institution. Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to:

• Choose among several options for the focus and orientation of their IQA system;
• Identify and distinguish tools and procedures for an integrated IQA system to enhance teaching and learning at their university;
• Analyse the link between IQA and employability, and identify tools and processes through which this link can be strengthened; and
• Design an effective and well-supported structure for IQA.

The course runs from 30 April 2018 to 29 June 2018 (9 weeks), and it offers an interactive and practice-oriented learning approach whereby participants will be asked to prepare practical exercises which will allow them to directly apply the skills acquired. So far, 56 participants from 15 universities in 9 Arab countries have registered in the course (Bahrain, Iraq, Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan, Oman, UAE, Tunisia, Syria and Yemen).