The concept of quality is eminent in the world of business and education, unlike the quantity which has various specific measurement approaches. Quality has no procedures that are set internationally (Zhimin & Yingzi, 2015). Hence, the general method of quality assurance is setting specific standards and making sure that they are followed. For example, a health institution is considered to have quality healthcare by having a clean environment. Quality assurance has been defined differently by different authors. One of the standard definition is the process of ensuring that an institution provides the best possible excellence of goods and services to the consumers. In this case, a body to check on quality assurance decides on the quality provided by the institution or organization. On the other hand, quality assurance is defined as a process by which an individual institution follows specific laid down procedures that meant to provide quality. In this case, quality is assured by developed particular systems.
Higher institutions are places where education studies are done at advanced levels; it is the last stage of education. Five approaches define higher education quality assurance. These include quality as exceptional, which include fulfillment of minimum standard, and the excellence of the institution. Quality assurance is also measured as perfection; this is where no flow is expected in an institution, specifications are conformed, and everyone is involved in the organization. Thirdly quality is considered as fitness for purpose. In this case, the mission of an institution is fulfilled, the customer is satisfied, and specific requirements of the audit body are met. Moreover, quality is defined as the value of money; this involves efficiency in spending and accountability of the managing entity. Finally, quality is measured by the transformation. In this case, an institution is said to be providing quality when it is adding value to the consumer by empowering them and enhancing their participation. Higher education has various tools for measuring quality; this paper will analyze the quality assurance and accountability in higher education, explore the concept of quality, and finally compere quality assurance across the education system in China and the USA.
Quality Assurance and Accountability
Quality education is one of the critical concepts toward higher-level learning of an institution. Quality depends on the level of training provided by the institution and how they offer it. In the world today, quality assurance has been developed depending on different concepts established by various government institutions. Moreover, a more generalized view on the quality type of education has been created to measure the kind of education that is provided to the students. More tools have been developed as the technology is evolving. Such moves have made the quality of education to improve globally. Generally, countries have become more and more accountable for the level of education offered by the higher learning institutions and therefore making the quality of education provided to the students be more of a higher level than before. There are various ways in which quality education has been established in the current education system.
Institution Responsible for Quality Assurance
The responsibility of the provision of quality education is left to the international institutions, government, and independent agencies. The government has developed its quality assurance agencies whose main objective is having an audit of the individual schools and come up with a conclusion on the quality education that they provide to the students. For example, the United States higher education department is obliged to ensure that every higher institution in the country has resources and standards for the quality of education necessary for the education provision. One of the significant roles of the institution is to provide the environment in which quality education is offered to the students. Ways for the individual institution to access the quality of education offered have also been established. In the year 2004, the School Development and Accountability (SDA) framework was developed as the most essential tool for an individual institution to access the quality of education provided to the learners. The purpose of the approach is to encourage School Self Evaluation (SSE) (Trow, 1996). This approach has made the institution to be accountable for the level and quality of education that they provide to the learners. Finally, independent institutions agencies have been developed to ensure the quality of education is provided to every student in the world; such agencies work both at international levels as well as at the local level. The popular agency includes the International Network for the Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE).
Transnational Quality Measures
One of the methods used to ensure quality education is the transnational measure of the quality of training provided by the universities in the world. Instead of the quality of education is measured by the individual country, they are regulated by a more generalized institution. Such institutions cover an entire continent accessing the quality of education in different countries and ranking them accordingly. The ranking process has made a kind of competition among the higher education systems in the world. Such features have made higher education systems more focused on the level of education that they provide to the learners. According to the report provided by the European Expert Network on Economic and Education (ENEE), one of the main advantages of the transnational collaborative is the access of the combined research on the quality of education provided to the learners and improving them as one multinational agency.
Transparency and the Perception
One of the critical factors that contribute to the improvement of the level of education provision in the world today is transparency among the learners. While initially, universities acted on privacy and the "Ivy-covered walls" concept; today, the world has changed (Ewell, 2010). Currently, higher education institutions have to print various information about the institution's progress to the world and the general society. Hence, such institutes are open to criticism and mockery by the general public. Appreciation, on anything useful done, is also shown to the schools that provide quality. Through this transparency, the society has worked as a pivotal contributor to the quality of education that needs to be provided. Since society perception about the school is considered a significant factor by the management. Hence, such moves have improved the quality of education provided to the student by substantial levels. Moreover, individual students have the right to question the level of education provided to them by the institution. Hence, the combined public pressure brought by the necessary transparency of the institution has acted as a critical factor encouraging the provision of quality education. Generally, the community has been made accountable for the quality of education provided in higher institutions.
The Concept of Quality in Higher Education
As pointed out earlier, quality has no unit measurement, and in most cases, quality depends on various observations made by the people in the institution. Hence in higher education, there are multiple concepts of measuring quality education. Such measures differ depending on the people doing measurement and the different parts of the world. Therefore, different countries and regions tend to use different approaches to measure the quality of education. However, the general object of any institution is to produce productive graduates who can be innovative, inventive, and can be exceptional in their field of work.
Management and Accountability
Management accountability is one of the conventional measures of the quality of education provided to learners in institutions. Every high culture is bound to have an environment that lays the base for a higher learning experience (Schindler 2015). Hence the quality of higher education is measured concerning the accountability of the entire institution in the provision of the necessity of education. The institution is responsible for the regulation of high-quality education to the learners and making them achieve their goals in learning. Hence, if such a system is not accountable enough, the quality provided is not likely to be as par the standard. For example, if the institution does not have high qualified professors, the quality of education is not expected to be as par the expected standards. Moreover, it should ensure a dependable student teachers ratio in which every student has an opportunity to learn and get the desired knowledge. Therefore, if an institution does not focus on making such approaches achievable, then it is not considered to be providing the quality of education required. Generally, the quality of higher education depends on how the institution provides education services.
Consumers of education include the students. For a long time, higher learning institutions have been considered to be providing high-quality education depending on the number of articles, researches, and innovation made by the institution. While today these are some of the key concepts used when considering the quality of education, they are not sufficient anymore. Therefore an adequate measure should involve student satisfaction. Student satisfaction includes how an individual learner feels towards learning in a specific institution. Such achievement is assured through various ways such as class attendance, treatment by colleagues and lecturers, and the environment of learning (Bernhard, 2012).
A student could be innovative and author various researches in the institution, yet they are not satisfied with the learning process in an institution. Currently, student satisfaction has been used as a vital tool for ensuring the quality of education provided. For example, there is no quality education on an institution that allows bullying. Such satisfaction approaches are provided by the students through various interviews and questioners done to the student. To ensure there is satisfaction, institutions have also established multiple ways to take students' opinions on the learning process. For example, almost every higher education institution has a student governing body that works together with the institution to make sure that significant student priorities are addressed by the body. Hence, the quality of education is measured by how these student issues have been resolved.
Infrastructure and Resources
This is the other tool for measuring the quality of the education system. Infrastructure includes building, and facilities provided by institutions. Infrastructures lay an environment from which students get the education. The environment plays a significant role in the learning process. For example, according to the researches done by Mott (2012), a student learning in a dull class is less likely to remember what is being taught and also understand the things being said by the teacher. Such a conclusion implies that one should learn in a well light environment. Moreover, students should be provided with infrastructure for the extracurricular activities while they are on the institution. Nurturing individual talents is also the other significant role of the higher education system. Hence, a higher learning institution should have various facilities such as football fields' basketball facilities, among others. The more an institution is endowed with these facilities, the higher the quality of...
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