ONESQA Continued Staff Exchange Dialogue with TWAEA and JUAA
On Tuesday, March 28, 2023, ONESQA conducted an online International Staff Exchange in cooperation with Japan University Accreditation Association (JUAA) and Taiwan Assessment and Evaluation Association (TWAEA). The program session took place over Zoom with the topic entitled “Creating Value for QA Agency: Increased Public Awareness, Building a Strong Link between Higher Education QA System and Industry.” The event has been generated over the last several years via onsite programs. However, due tothe COVID 19 pandemic, the sessions for the past couple of years have shifted to be online via Zoom. It is expected that the next engagement will return back to an onsite program session.
The event encompassed pertinent External Quality Assurance (EQA) staff members from JUAA in Japan, TWAEA in Taiwan and ONESQA in Thailand to share their insights and analysis of the QA status in their respective countries. Participatingcountry team members initially shared the background information of their EQA agencies and then discussed specific QA perspectives on increasing public awareness of the agency’s EQA standards.Explicitly, all three organizations emphasized the critical EQA activities including: a.) national and international EQA engagement activities; b.) the use of social media and c.) the continual QA and EQA research and publication initiatives.
In regards to the international partnership endeavors, for instance, ONESQA has signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and has further generated QA mission strategies with several international QA partners. Specifically, ONESQA works with various global organizations including: ASEAN Quality Assurance Network (AQAN), Asia-Pacific Quality Network (APQN), International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE), CHEA International Quality Group (CIQG) and Cross Border Quality Assurance Network in Higher Education. In particular in this video conference, TWAEA requested further details on the relationship of ONESQA and the European Union Support to Higher Education in ASEAN Region (EU SHARE) and the EQA Agency (EQAA) review procedures. In this instance, Dr. Somyot Cheejaeng, Chiefof thePolicy and Strategy Department, provided details on how ONESQA has worked with EU SHARE and explained the aim of SHARE’s review exercises in enabling EQA agencies with consolidated EQA structures, such as ONESQA, to benchmark their national systems with the ASEAN Quality Assurance Framework (AQAF)’s regional standards and in view of international good practice. ONESQA joined the Pilot Reviews of EQAAs in ASEAN which was implemented in 2017 and in 2018 received a QA Trophy as recognition as an AQAF aligned agency.
TWAEA is also incredibly active in its national and international collaboration with local as well as global EQA agencies and relevant stakeholders. Established in 2003, Taiwan Assessment and Evaluation Association (TWAEA) is a non-governmental and non-profit organization dedicated to the provision of evaluation services, as well as the development and promotion of evaluation knowledge and techniques. Jointly founded by senior members of Taiwan’s academia and business sectors, TWAEA is committed to provide external quality assurance for any concerned party. TWAEA has built up a solid reputation in the implementation of evaluation system and has been widely recognized as a professional evaluation agency in Taiwan. From 2004 onwards, TWAEA has been engaged in evaluation projects commissioned by the Taiwan Ministry of Education. Along with all other higher education evaluation agencies, TWAEA was officially recognized as a certified evaluation agency in 2009. TWAEA has a four-year EQA evaluation cycle and has increasingly adjusted its assessment standards indicators. During 2014 through 2018, TWAEA standard indicators focused on the enhancement of student’s learning effectiveness. TWAEA particularly invites alumni representatives to be at the evaluation interview sessions to ensure that learning quality is indeed in proper alignment with the learners’ and community’s learning needs. For the cycle of 2019 through 2023, the evaluation indicators signify the promotion of Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) implementation; making “self-improvement” an independent indicator. The strategies encourage Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to implement IQA and EQA in their institutional strategic improvement actions. Lastly, during the evaluation cycle of 2024 through 2028, TWAEA aims to include the United Nation (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the designed EQA to cohere with international evaluation trend. Additionally, TWAEA is currently a member of various international EQA agencies such as, Asia Pacific Quality Network (APQN), International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE) and CHEA International Quality Group (CIQG).
Similar to ONESQA and TWAEA, JUAA places emphasis on national and international cooperation to ensure visibility and competitiveness. Specifically, Japan University Accreditation Association (JUAA) is a voluntary organization established in 1947 with 46 initial member institutions which include national, local, public and private universities. The mission of JUAA is to promote the qualitative improvement of higher education institutions in Japan through the voluntary efforts and mutual assistance of member institutions and to contribute for international cooperation such as educational and research activities in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). JUAA is, the first Certified Evaluation and Accreditation Agency for a university, certified by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) in 2004. To effectively serve the local QA stakeholders, JUAA emphasizes the need to expand the target audience beyond the higher educational identities; to include high school students, parents, and teachers. Realizing that “word-of-mouth” of “quality” education can significantly affect the decision of the parents in choosing what they “believe” to be high quality HEIs, JUAA adjusts its QA strategies to include pertinent stakeholders in their QA marketing plans. In 2022, due to JUAA’s continual EQA quality improvement service, JUAA has received the accreditation for their quality service status in accordance to the Guidelines of Good Practice (GGP) from the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE).
Moreover, one of the main issues discussed during the video conference is the focus on the use of researchpublications, magazines, electronic applications and social media platforms in ensuring the agencies continual connection with the national and international public audiences and relevant stakeholders. For instance, ONESQA uses the organization’s website and Facebook Live applications to informally reach and gather public opinions concerning EQA performance activities. The formal EQA evaluation process has also been conducted using the application called “E-SAR.” E-SAR stands for “Electronic Self-Assessment Report.” It is a tool developed by ONESQA to be used to facilitate the self-assessment process for educational institutions at all levels under ONESQA’s authorities. E-SAR allows educational institutions to collect and analyze data on their performance in various areas, such as academic quality, governance and management. E-SAR provides a standardized framework for self-assessment, which helps institutions to identify areas for improvement and develop action plans to address them. By using E-SAR, educational institutions can also generate a self-assessment report that can be submitted to ONESQA and corresponding parental authorities for further review and accreditation purposes.
Another example is how ONESQA implemented Facebook Live in engaging public hearing within the country. ONESQA uses Facebook Live to conduct public hearing sessions as part of their quality assurance and accreditation processes. Facebook Live allows ONESQA to stream live video content to the participants across Thailand. All of the relevant stakeholders including students, faculty, staff and the general public can participate, ask questions and provide feedback during the event in real time. The Facebook Live sessions can also be recorded and can be accessed later for those who were unable to attend the live broadcast. Altogether, by using Facebook Live, ONESQA can reach a wider audience and make the public hearing process more accessible to engage with proper stakeholders and gather feedback in a more efficient and cost-effective manner. Both TWAEA and JUAA admire ONESQA efforts in implementing creative strategies to conduct EQA activities including public hearing sessions on-site and via Facebook Live.
Likewise, JUAA develops an electronic accreditation management system that allows universities to submit their self-evaluation reports and document electronically. The system helps to streamline the accreditation process and improve efficiency. For social media tools, JUAA uses Twitter, Facebook, and Note application platforms to disseminate information about JUAA activities, events and services to their members and relevant public. Particularly, JUAA uses online surveys to collect feedback from clients on their activities and services. The feedback is used to improve their QA practices. JUAA also conducts online webinars and workshops covering various topics and related quality assurance issues. Lastly, JUAA provides electronic accreditation reports to universities after the accreditation process is complete. Overall, JUAA uses electronic and social media for QA purposes to improve efficiency, engage stakeholders, collect feedback, promote learning, and disseminate information. These efforts help to promote quality assurance in Japan’s universities and to maintain high standards of education.
TWAEA, on the other hand, still emphasizes on-site public hearing sessions. For online strategies, TWAEA uses “E-Newsletter” as an electronic tool to promote QA procedures. TWAEA uses E-Newsletter to disseminate information about TWAEA activities, events, and services to the involved members and stakeholders. The E-Newsletter is also used to share best practices and success stories as well as collecting QA feedback from and promoting QA awareness to the member and relevant organizations. Exceptionally, TWAEA has been the leader in generating “International Survey Project on Learning Outcomes & Satisfaction” (ISPLOS) project in cooperation with HEI students and EQA agencies namely JUAA (Japan), CEA VNU-HCM (Vietnam), ONESQA (Thailand) and MNCEA (Mongolia). Interestingly, the survey results can be used to strengthen the QA regional knowledge. The project provides a platform where QA agencies can reach out to the HEI’s stakeholders. With the survey results, QA agencies can learn more thoroughly about how successful teaching methods and campus education are applied in different regions. Such project offers the relevant partner institutions an opportunity to learn about the status of higher education in each region and leads to further more specific cooperation among the involved country team members.
Altogether, the session was valuable in continuing knowledgeable dialogues with ONESQA partners in the Asia Pacific countries. Education and quality assurance management is necessary for keeping up with the changing world of global pandemics and an electronic evolution. Stand-alone countries will ultimately cease to exist. Global collaboration and healthy competition will be the key to success. Mutual growth, academic excellence and overall economic and political sustainability can be made possible through open global cooperation, communication and exchange. Thus, ONESQA will ensure that future International Staff Exchange will continue to be welcomed as the firm moves toward being a recognized leader in the global QA arena.