Upgradation of Colleges to Universities in KP: Quality Issues

1.4     Impact on Tertiary Education

All the three colleges upgraded to universities were providing only tertiary education. After upgradation, they still continue with providing the same as affiliated colleges. Most of the facilities of the colleges have been taken over by the universities and there is a big shift of resources. Similarly, college and tertiary education is now not a priority and hence is severely damaged. The general view of those interviewed including faculty was that the quality of tertiary education in the colleges has been damaged. They were of the opinion that, it would have been better if separate universities were established or if it is possible the college and university premises may be separated so that the college education can also get its due priority and attention.

Higher Education & Quality Issues

“Higher education not only has a mission to train citizens and professionals, providing them with the necessary qualities to construct democratic and developed societies that have the technical capacities that could potentially produce economic advances, but it also serves as a basic benchmark for memory strengthening and in-depth immersion in national cultural and identities, respecting the plurality of the expression and projects of distinct social groups”(Sobrinho and Goergen 2007)

Quality assurance in education in general and higher education in particular is currently the main concern of all national education policies as well as international community conferences and resolutions because it is only the quality that produces “qualitative changes in students, makes them into responsible, creative, participative and tolerant citizen who lives a full personal and social life in a democratic fashion” (Didriksson and Herrera 2007). It is also a fact that quality assurance in higher education is not simple rather it is a complex mechanism with a number of different variables that are dependent on cultural, economic and political changes, social and historical values, local and international environment and economic and market trends beyond availability of various kind of resources amongst which financial is the most important.

To measure the quality of HEIs, the world has engineered a number of indicators and techniques. The most commonly used are the world rankings. A number of organizations with different evaluation criterion are involved in producing different kinds of rankings. Although, this criterion could be challenged but still “there is no magic formula to rank a university, which is not an easy task and is always considered controversial and questionable”. With its pros and cons discussed in depth by various publications[9] and conferences’ reports, even then all these reports agree that university rankings have become a norm of the day and most eagerly awaited by all. (Laghari, Ranking Universities 2012). QS World Top Universities is generally considered the best[10].

2.1     Global Best Practices

To achieve responsibility in social and political criticism, contribute to social and economic development, expand the frontiers of knowledge, research and innovation and develop cultural dissemination measures the world has identified some global best practices.

The UNESCO’s Declaration of the regional conference about Higher Education in Asia and the Pacific held in Tokyo, 1997 considers quality as:

“[A] multi-dimensional concept and that it is not possible to arrive at one set of quality standards applicable to all countries and against which institutions can be assessed. Quality embraces all the main functions and activities of higher education: teaching and academic programs, research and scholarship, staffing, students, infrastructure, academic environment and both internal evaluation and external review are few of the components of a well-developed quality assurance system”

(Harvey and Green 1993) have grouped five approaches of quality in higher education; quality as exception, quality as perfection, quality as fitness for purpose, quality as value for money and quality as transformation.

Quality assurance process generally comprises of: accreditation, self- assessment or self-evaluation, peer review, quality audit or inspection and report for follow up. According to (Fraser 1994) maintaining and enhancing quality is the responsibility of all stakeholders who should understand, use and own the system and it should be examined regularly by management and sometimes by the stakeholders.

According to (Lodhi and Tufail 2006), authorities like W. Edwards Deming, Joseph M. Juran, Philip Crosby and others include the followings as components of Quality Management System:

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