Quality assurance is a pillar of sound governance. It ensures that educational inputs, processes and outputs meet the minimum quality standards and the overall quality is fit for purpose. Assuring quality should be a continuous and ongoing process. Quality assurance systems aim to provide appropriate evidence to substantiate claims made about quality and so to enable stakeholders to have confidence about the management of quality and the level of outcomes achieved. Quality assurance serves many purposes. It ensures that users are receiving the value for money and that government investment is supporting education activities of an appropriate standard. It protects beneficiaries, users and other stakeholders by providing information on quality standards of an institution. It can also contribute to improved teaching and administrative processes and help disseminate good practice, leading to overall system improvement.
In the above context, it is very important to develop a quality assurance system for every institution as well as the system as a whole. Some commonly used quality assurance mechanisms include self-study/self-evaluation, benchmarking and external quality monitoring. Through these mechanisms, it is possible to find out not only whether core elements or conditions for quality are present and functioning in the education but also whether these elements are inter-related and coherent.
In recent years, a more market-driven approach is applied as a quality assurance mechanism whereby educational institutions across the world are assessed and ranked based on certain criteria. This is particularly true in higher education. This may be initiated by some universities or media groups or commercial institutions.