GENERAL INTRODUCTION ON QUALITY ASSURANCE
Quality assurance is a regulatory mechanism focusing on accountability and improvement, thus, establishing confidence in stakeholders that the inputs, processes and output of educational system fulfill the expectations or measure up to minimum standards. Quality Assurance is therefore different from Quality Control.
In the context of the university, quality assurance entails a variety of procedures intended to protect academic standards and promote/improve learning conditions. Quality Assurance in tertiary educational institutions especially the universities have become a universal issue. There has been a rising concern on the part of governments around the world on the provision of quality education to their students. To this end, various commissions have been established to assure quality education. In Nigeria, the National Universities Commission (NUC) is charged with the responsibility of ensuring quality assurance. In the university system, quality assurance is the guaranty of confidence and certainty that standards and quality of a programme run by the university are being maintained and enhanced (Akpan, 2014).
ESTABLISHMENT OF QUALITY ASSURANCE UNIT (Q.A.U) IN THE UNIVERSITY OF ILORIN
University of Ilorin is one of the second-generation tertiary institutions in largest black nation of the world, Nigeria. It was founded in 1975 by the Murtala/Obasanjo–led military government occupying a large land space of over 75, 000 hectares to become the largest in the African Sub-region. It kicked-off with two faculties of 200 students and has in the last 40 years expanded to 15 faculties offering 93 programmes and with over 35,000 student population.
The Quality Assurance Unit (Q.A.U) of the University was formally established in the year 2017 as a unit within the Academic Planning Unit of the University. The Unit was headed by a Deputy Director. It became an independent Unit with the appointment of a Director in April 2018. The Unit is under the Office of the Vice Chancellor. The Director therefore reports directly to the Vice Chancellor.
The Vice Chancellor appoints the University’s Quality Assurance Director.
The Unit is not a unit that is responsible for quality but one which assists Faculties and other Units in their own self-assessment, coordinate activities within the University and act as a link with outside bodies in ensuring quality.
OVERALL MANDATE OF Q.A.U. IN THE UNIVERSITY OF ILORIN
The Unit is responsible for monitoring quality performance, through assessment and evaluation of the university’s activities on regular basis, in order to receive feedbacks for amelioration and thus promote productivity and development.
PURPOSE OF THE QUALITY ASSURANCE UNIT
a. Develop, apply and periodically review the quality benchmarks/parameters for various academic and administrative activities of the institution;
facilitate the creation of a learner–centred environment conducive to quality education and academic staff professional growth;
c. provides feedback mechanisms for students, parents, and other stakeholders on quality–related issues;
d. disseminates information on various quality parameters of education;
e. Organize inter and intra institutional workshops, seminars on quality related themes;
f. Document the various programmes/activities leading to quality improvement;
g. Act as the nodal unit of the Institution for coordinating quality–related activities, including adoption and dissemination of best practices;
h. Work closely with other academic departments and the institution’s Management Information System (MIS) for the purpose of maintaining /enhancing the institutional quality;
i. Promote and help sustain the culture of quality in the institution;
j. Lead the Internal Self-assessment process and prepare and submit the Report to the Management of the National University Commission (NUC) annually; and
k. Coordinate logistics during external accreditation/ assessment.
l. The achievement of accepted criteria of minimum standard of quality.
m. Establish confidence in stakeholders that the inputs, processes and outputs of educational system fulfill the expectations or measure up to minimum standards.
n. Put in place a range of procedures designed to safeguard academic standards and which will promote learning opportunities of acceptable quality.
The above tasks will be achieved through the following areas of coverage:
- Academic programme: Teaching and learning, including entrepreneurial skill training and e-learning; Accreditation
- Student motivation: Staff/students relationship, Students’ welfare e.g. access to utility, hostel and toilet
- Examination: Manner of conduct e.g. invigilator/students ratio, capacity of the hall, sitting arrangement, examination time table, quality of examination questions, result feedback and certificate release.
Buildings – Lecture Theaters, Classrooms
- Teaching and Learning Environment
- Gown/Town relationship, cordiality.
Adequacy in terms of:
- Motivation e.g. salary, allowances, promotion, training/development etc.
ISSUES INVOLVED IN QUALITY ASSURANCE
- Student Admissions (Quota (including Quota by Professional Bodies, Admission Requirement, Carrying capacity of Programmes etc.)
- Staff Recruitment (Qualification, Process, Orientation)
- Staff Promotion (Procedure, Residency, Timeliness)
- Curriculum Development (Regulations)
- Community Service Delivery.
- Academic Programmes such as Remedial, JUPEB, Diploma.
The Unit is expected to develop and update Assessment Instruments and Indicators for the issues above and particularly for the following:
a. Teaching Attendance Template (Students and teachers)
b. Feedback forms (Student and staff)
c. Peer–in–Class assessment form
d. Course experience questionnaire
e. Students retention, attrition and completion data form
g. Graduate destination survey form
h. Employers and Alumni feedback form
QUALITY ASSURANCE COMMITTEE
Quality Assurance Committee is to assist the Unit in data collection and issues relating to quality assurance.
The Committee is to be chaired by the Director with Representatives from: – Faculties’ Senior Academics (who shall chair their respective Faculty Quality Assurance Units),
– Representative of Registrar,
– Representative of Students’ Affairs
– Representative of Bursary
– Representative of Library,
– Representative of Works,
– Representative of Academic Planning,
– Representative of Health Services,
– Representative of SERVICOM.
ROLES OF ADMINISTRATION IN MAKING QUALITY A WAY OF LIFE
i. Demonstrate visible commitments
ii. Foster a climate of mutual trust
iii. Make judicious use of staff professional experiences
iv. Provide appropriate training and other supports
v. Engage everybody actively and let them take ownership of the quality culture
vi. Reinforce the desired quality culture
vii. Use every vehicle possible to communicate institutional direction
ROLES OF STAFF IN PROMOTING QUALITY CULTURE
Quality Assurance is the responsibility of all members of the University and not of Q.A.U. only. The roles of all staff therefore include:
a. Collective responsibility involving all staff and management of the University
b. Regular liaison with the heads of the various faculties and departments in a non–authoritarian, non-punitive manner without compromising the Standards prescribed by the National University Commission (NUC). c. collaboration with Dean of Faculties and Heads of Department in an atmosphere that is devoid of rancor, in order to enhance the quality of the management and delivery of the institution’s programmes; and promote and sustain the culture of quality in all aspects of the institution’s operations.