Generalizing Quality assurance in Higher Education in Iraq
In the framework of UNESCO' quality interventions in the field of Higher Education in Iraq, two workshops have been organized to enhance and expand quality assurance processes in Iraqi universities, and review the improvement plans of academic performance in selected universities to ensure the transition from quality assurance towards quality improvement.
Following the introduction of a quality assurance' process to 12 Iraqi Universities in June 2011 based on a 7-step cycle and coming close to its full implementation, UNESCO has organized a workshop to launch phase-II of Quality Assurance (QA) project, that will expand this process to all Engineering Colleges in Iraq totaling 14 new ones.
Held in Amman in 25 October 2013, this workshop gathered 24 deans and heads of engineering faculties from 10 universities and 2 polytechnic institutes, with 5 officials representing the Ministries of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MoHESR) in Baghdad and Erbil, and experts from UNESCO and the Network of Iraqi Scientists Abroad (NISA).
During this two-day event, UNESCO experts provided brief orientation to the new university teams on QA process, steps, techniques, tools with particular emphasis on the need to spread the culture of quality not only within their respective departments/colleges but also at the central level.
Head of the QA department at the MoHESR, Mr. Abdul-Naser Hafedh described this stage as "a key milestone in the development of higher education in Iraq", while UNESCO Senior Project Manager Semia Saadaoui stated that "the introduction of Quality Assurance to Iraqi universities is not only essential to restore the international recognition in the country's higher education system but also vital for the reconstruction of a sound and high-standard environment that can develop learning, research and inspire innovation", emphasizing the importance of this programme for the long term benefit of Iraqi students.
On the other hand, in another major development under the same programme, UNESCO organized a workshop from 27 to 29 October 2013 to “Review the Quality Improvement Plans (QIPS) of Pilot Colleges of Engineering” that have been submitted to a panel of external reviewers.
During this event, the 12 pilot colleges of engineering have presented their plans on the light of the recommendations of the site visits’ review group. The experts studied the plans and produced their feedbacks and recommendations to launch an institutionalized Quality improvement process. After three days of technical discussions, participants were able to identify a list of strategic recommendations to be presented to the MoHESR to support the implementation of Quality Improvement and constructively use the outcomes of produced assessment reports to improve strategic planning, management and governance, and that will eventually serve the effective development of a continuous improvement framework in terms of Quality Assurance.
Within the project of “Rehabilitation of Iraq’s Higher Education System”, UNESCO is assisting the Ministries of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Baghdad and Kurdistan Region to establish a cutting-edge and higher quality system to improve the academic and institutional performance of Higher Education Institutions. Building capacities of public staff in the field of higher education constitutes an essential component of this multidimensional programme.
The complete resources for this quality assurance programme are compiled on a dedicated website: www.qahei.com
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