Global Initiative for Quality Assurance Capacity (GIQAC). Governance Terms

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Author: UNESCO

Date of publication: January 2008

Summary: Education quality at all levels is a key to poverty reduction and economic growth. Stakeholders frequently lack reliable information about the quality of the education being provided. Governments wish to assure stakeholders that students are receiving a minimum standard of quality. The heterogeneity of higher education makes it more difficult to assess, monitor, and develop strategies for quality improvements than at lower levels of education.

Quality assurance (QA) in higher education is a systematic process of assessing and verifying inputs, outputs, and outcomes against standardized benchmarks of quality to maintain and enhance quality, ensure greater accountability and facilitate harmonization of standards across academic programs, institutions, and systems. QA can take many forms, ranging from simple self-assessment to more comprehensive inspection, accreditation, review, or audit supported by external, independent peer review. Building capacity for quality assurance that meets international standards requires a significant investment in technical assistance, training, knowledge sharing, analysis, and coordination that are costly and time-consuming.

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