Quality Assurance in Philippine Higher Education

Manila Bulletin, August 12, 2001 | Go to article overview
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Quality Assurance in Philippine Higher Education

THE case for enhancing quality and institutionalizing quality assurance in the Philippine higher education sector has not been without its difficulties and constraints. For a number of years, it can be observed that there has been an identified urgent need to develop and plan a general framework for quality assurance in the country.

Though attempts have been done in the past, the Philippines has not implemented concrete actions to address this requirement. This is in view of the fact that there is a lack of coordinated efforts in the quality assurance mechanism in the country entailing large wastages and/or duplicative systems of quality assurance. Briefly outlined in the foregoing are observations and lessons, which arose out of the application of quality intervention mechanisms mentioned above.

On external advice and expert evaluation

One of the efforts aimed at harnessing the potential and expertise of both the public and private sectors is the medium of technical panels per discipline. As the main instrument of providing expert advice on matters pertaining to their specialized areas, the technical panels provide the buffer in policy-making as well as enhance the process of consensus and confidence building in the acceptance and implementation of standards of quality in the higher education sector. In the overall, the transformation from minimal levels of quality to desirable levels was accelerated and compliance levels by institutions of higher learning dramatically improved. It must also be noted that even in the area of standards setting through the technical panels, the influence of vested interest groups greatly diminish in view of the democratic and participative nature of the consultation and standards development process.

However, while the Philippines' Commission on Higher Education has profited much from the professional expertise of the Technical Panels in their respective disciplines, there is still a need to further strengthen these technical experts. In prospect, a system of both internal and external quality assurance are needed to improve educational quality and standards at all levels. Internal quality assurance among higher education institutions will entail the establishment of an inhouse quality assurance system within each educational management. External quality assurance, on the other hand, in coordination with higher education institutions, will involve criteria development and methods of external evaluation, conducting evaluation of educational achievements to determine quality of institutions by the Technical Panels. This means that external quality assurance system will be conducted among higher education institutions within a specified period of time or as recommended by the Technical Panels. Thus, internal and external quality assurance systems should be interdependent with each other such that higher education institutions will greatly interact with the Technical Panels and rely on the professional expertise on the improvement of higher education in the country.

On monitoring and evaluation

Overtime, it has become apparent that resort to external expertise and peer evaluation mechanism rather than purely inhouse assessors resulted to more professional assessments and evaluation thereby creating greater acceptance to advice and outcomes. Moreover, confidence in the quality assessment process is further enhanced.

Thus, we see the need to revitalize and further fortify the expertise of the Technical Panels in order to perform quality assessment among institutions of higher learning. It is only imperative that these Technical Panels must continue to enrich Philippine monitoring and evaluation systems.

On linking networks of HEIs as Centers of Excellence/Development

Although the concept of identifying and supporting Centers of Excellence or Developments in key disciplines or programs was perceived as a key strategy in enhancing quality and accelerating institutional capability building, the spreading of scarce resources too thinly somehow diminished the impact.

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