School of Education

Post Graduate Certificate In Quality Assurance In Education (PGCQAE)

Rationale for the Programme

The Post Graduate Certificate in Quality Assurance in Education programme has been necessitated by the fact het of late tertiary education has seen a massive increase in external and internal quality assurance (QA) activity around the world. The programme targets practising quality assurance professionals and individuals who wish to play a role in quality assurance in tertiary education contexts in particular.

Programme Courses Synopsis

HE811: Higher Education in a Global World: The Context of Quality Assurance

An understanding of the higher education context in which quality assurance agencies operate is an essential foundation for the design of good quality assurance practices and accountability. This module, as the title suggests, sets out to introduce you to the trends in higher education at a time when national boundaries are melting away and the world has become more globalised than it has ever been.

EQ811: External Quality Assurance

This module considers the different approaches to quality assurance (QA). It will show the complexity of the concept of quality and the frameworks that attempt to define and measure it. Case illustrations will be used to set forth the roles and responsibilities of EQA providers in different national settings and the way in which they approach their policy objectives. You will learn about the rationale behind the choices made by EQA agencies.

While QA practices differ, there is agreement on the essentials needed for a credible QA framework. Most QA schemes emphasise the importance of self-assessment based upon predetermined criteria, and an external review conducted by experts.

Students should make note of the different ways in which these elements are applied. Of particular importance are the approaches that agencies take toward 'standards' and the measurement of achievement. One cannot over-emphasise the need for strong internal quality systems or IQA at the institutional level. This subject provides a foundation for those who choose to work in QA, within government, EQA agencies, professional bodies or institutions.

In summary, you will learn about the various approaches to EQA in different policy contexts, and perhaps more important, their evolutionary direction.

QA812: Operating an External Quality Agency

This module takes an organisational perspective on the establishment and management of an external quality assurance agency. It describes the functions to be performed such as determining scope of operations and the development of methodologies to be used for reviewing and other activities. The module outlines a variety of frameworks used by agencies to link theoretical aspects of quality, purpose of review and the practice of quality assurance. It contrasts different approaches, eg, fitness-for-purpose, fitness-of-purpose and (qualitative and quantitative) standards based frameworks. The module also discusses governance and organisational structures as well as the ways in which an agency can establish its credibility and demonstrate accountability.

MQ812: Maintaining Quality within the Institution

Maintaining Quality within the Institution focuses on how people can undertake define, measure, monitor and improve internal quality. The first unit of the subject provides an introduction to the contexts and approaches of internal quality monitoring, addressing at a range of cultural, methodological and practical considerations. The second unit explores how institutions can plan quality strategies and operations, and different methods for assessing and evaluating quality.

Forms of evaluation, review and monitoring are considered in the third unit, which concludes with a discussion of options for managing quality improvement. In synch with the quality cycle, the final unit links back to the start of the cycle – understanding and analysing the external positioning of internal QA. This unit takes stock of what has been achieved, and looks at opportunities for benchmarking against other institutions and standards.

Programme Structure

Table 1: Post Graduate Certificate in Quality Assurance in Education Curriculum Structure

Year 1 Semester 1

Year 1 Semester 2

Code

Subject Name

Credits

Code

Subject Name

Credits

HE811

Higher Education in a Global World: The Context of Quality Assurance

20

QA812

Operating an External Quality Agency

20

EQ811

External Quality Assurance

20

MQ812

Maintaining Quality within the Institution

20

Sub Credit Total

40

Sub Credit Total

40

Total Credit for the Programme

80

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