Quality Assurance in Higher Education: Staff Development Program @ Bangalore, India
In its quest of excellence in the tertiary education of Bangladesh, the University Grants Commission (UGC), in conjunction with World Bank, took up the HEQEP (Higher Education Quality Enhancement Project) to implement in various universities of Bangladesh – both public and private. University of Asia Pacific (UAP), a leading private university, is one of the contract signatories in the round two of this HEQEP initiative. As part of this project, a 12-day Staff Development Program on 'Quality Assurance in Higher Education' was held recently in Bangalore, India from 5th to 16th of October, 2015. Dr. Mahbubul Haque, Associate Professor, Department of Business Administration, and Director, IQAC (Institutional Quality Assurance Cell), UAP, represented the university in this program. MTC Global, an apex global advisory body in management education in Bangalore, organized this 12-day training program designed to impart the participants with requisite know-how and exposure in institutionalizing the quality assurance cell in their respective universities.
A number of renowned academics conducted this training program. Drawing on their rich experiences from both academia and industry, the academics in their deliberations shed light on a host of issues vis-à-vis quality assurance and quality control in educational institutions. These would encompass setting the vision and mission strategy, regular revision and redesign of course curriculum, constant industry-institution linkage, improving the technology infrastructure, top management' unflagging commitment, and above all, adopting a holistic approach that takes into consideration the interests of all stakeholders involved. Towards this end, they emphasized on the pivotal role of faculty responsibility and involvement in fostering an entrepreneurial spirit in the minds of the students, in adapting to the technology innovations in teaching-learning pedagogy, and in creating and disseminating cutting-edge research that impacts on the society as a whole. Specifically, from the 'student' standpoint, they underscored the paramount need of outcome-based education and experiential learning, whereby students won't get choked only with the theoretical aspects, rather engaged with the 'feel' of an environment that the real world entails. In this era of constantly evolving market scenario and shifting customer demands, these practices, as argued by them, ought to be a top priority and a never-ending endeavor in nurturing a quality culture in a university context.
Apart from in-class interactions with the trainers, participants also had a hands-on experience as to how the various academic institutions in Bangalore were striving to ensure quality in their course curricula and extra-curricular activities. The institutions visited included renowned Christ University, PES University, Indus Business Academy, New Horizon College of Engineering, among others. Such face-to-face discussions would reveal a strong commitment on the part of the management in implanting a quality culture across the whole institution. This was manifested in mandatory faculty training and industry experience, students' active involvement in course-related clubs, low faculty-student ratio, regular publication of departmental journal, faculty incentive for research publication in top tier journals, a strong placement cell, an active alumni association, etc.
Beyond the issues strictly academic or training-related, this Bangalore trip offered the participants an opportunity to pay a visit to the Mysore landmark – the citadel of much-mourned, mythical Tipu Sultan, his summer palace and his graveyard site – that would relive the enduring aura of his prowess and his valiant fight against the colonial British invaders. A subsequent safari park excursion would also feature prominently as one of the fondest memories that the participants would cherish for a long time to come.
This two-week training program at Bangalore, in essence, was a rewarding experience for all the participants visiting from Bangladesh.