Quality Assurance and Accreditation (QAA) program
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has launched the Quality Assurance and Accreditation (QAA) program as an important aspect of reform in higher education in Nepal. Accordingly, a Quality Assurance and Accreditation Committee (QAAC) has been formed for the development and implementation of QAA activities in higher education in Nepal in 2007. The QAA Division in UGC has been established to facilitate QAAC and to perform regular activities related to QAA.
Accreditation is a process of quality assurance whereby a program in an approved HEI is critically appraised at intervals not exceeding five years to verify that the HEI or the program meets the norms and standards prescribed by the QAAC. Accreditation does not seek to replace the system of a ward of Degrees and Diplomas by the Universities and Boards of Technical Education. It, however, provides quality assurance that the academic aims and objectives of the HEI are known to be honestly pursued and effectively achieved by mobilizing the resources currently available, and that the institution has demonstrated capabilities to ensure effectiveness of the educational program(s) over the validity period of accreditation.
The need and demand for accreditation has arisen because of rapid growth in the number and variety of HEIs and programs since the 1990s in Nepal. The overwhelming objective of the accreditation process is to recognize and acknowledge the value-addition in transforming a student admitted to a program/institution into a graduate with enhanced knowledge and an acceptable level of professional and personal competence. Some of the important aspects of QAA are listed in terms of following questions and answers.
Why do HEIs need quality assurance?
1. To meet statutory requirements,o to satisfy professional obligations
2. To satisfy professional obligations,
3.To meet stakeholders’ expectations,
4. To get internal and external confidence,o to meet accountability for development.
5. To meet accountability for development.
1.Facilitating higher education programs, institutions and universities to develop quality assurance mechanisms by providing formats for self-assessment, peer reviews and quality audits
2.Recognizing the contribution of the various professional councils,
3.Certifying the quality of the programs and HEIs on the basis of reviews, assessments and audits of the programs and the HEIs,
4.Offering quality advocacy in relation to measuring the equivalency of the various academic degrees earned from the universities across the world,
5.Helping the HEIs to assess their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats through an information processing system, and
6.Making QAA a publicly popular move for an overall development of higher education in the country.
Accreditation serves the following purposes:
1.Assuring Quality: Accreditation is the primary means by which universities, colleges and programs assure education quality to students and the public.
2.Source of Improvement: Accreditation provides a source and urge for continuous improvement in the educational practices followed by an institute, due to the periodic evaluation by the agencies.
3.Easing Transfer: Accreditation of institutions and programs is important to students for smooth transfer of programs among colleges and universities.
4.Recognition: Accreditation of institutions and their programs makes them recognized as a symbol of high quality education practitioner. The government and local agencies also openly refer to these institutes to the students and encourage them to consider only accredited institutes.
5.Engendering Employer’s Confidence: Accredited status of an institution or program is important to employers while evaluating credentials of job applicants and providing financial support to current employees seeking additional education