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QUALITY ASSURANCE IN TERTIARY EDUCATION IN MAURITIUS by Goolam Mohamedbhai Former Vice-Chancellor, University of QUALITY ASSURANCE IN TERTIARY EDUCATION IN MAURITIUS by Goolam Mohamedbhai Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Mauritius

Fact Sheet On Mauritius Small island in the Indian Ocean Govt. : Parliamentary democracy Fact Sheet On Mauritius Small island in the Indian Ocean Govt. : Parliamentary democracy Independent from UK since March 1968 Area: 2000 km 2 GNP/capita = US $ 4 600 Literacy rate = 86% National strategy for transforming Mauritius into a Knowledge Hub & Centre for Higher Learning Foreign promoters encouraged to set up branch campus in Mauritius

Overview of Tertiary Education Sector Institutions broadly classified as public and private sector, and Overview of Tertiary Education Sector Institutions broadly classified as public and private sector, and regional Tertiary Education Institutions (TEI’s) also referred to as post-secondary institutions – offering postgraduate, undergrad, diploma & certificate courses

Public Sector Institutions 2 Universities: Univ of Mauritius, Univ of Tech Mauritius Institute of Public Sector Institutions 2 Universities: Univ of Mauritius, Univ of Tech Mauritius Institute of Education, Mahatma Gandhi Institute, Mauritius College of the Air (distance learning college) 2 Polytechnics: Swami Dayanand Institute of Management, Institut Superieur de Technologie Mauritius Institute of Health (under Ministry of Health) Industrial & Vocational Training Board Total enrolment = 11, 700, 55% at Univ of Mauritius, the oldest & largest institution, operational 1968

Private Sector Institutions 35 local, privately established institutions 50 overseas institutions delivering education through Private Sector Institutions 35 local, privately established institutions 50 overseas institutions delivering education through local bodies Characteristics of private institutions: part-time programmes; market-driven, ‘soft’ subjects; small cohorts; offer foreign courses under franchise agreement; agents for DE institutions overseas Enrolment: approx. 7 500, 39% of total enrolment in Mauritius, and increasing continuously No foreign university branch so far

Regional Institutions Institut de la Francophonie pour l’Entrepreuneuriat, set up by AUF, caters for Regional Institutions Institut de la Francophonie pour l’Entrepreuneuriat, set up by AUF, caters for African region SSR Medical College, Indian institution affiliated to Univ of Mauritius Mauras College of Dentistry, Indian institution affiliated to Univ of Bhavnagar in India --------------------------- Mauritian students studying overseas = 6 800 Total tertiary education enrolment rate = 20% Plan is to increase this to 35%

INSTITUTIONS OVERSEEING TERTIARY EDUCATION 1. Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) 2. National Accreditation and Equivalence INSTITUTIONS OVERSEEING TERTIARY EDUCATION 1. Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) 2. National Accreditation and Equivalence Council (NAEC) (now defunct) 3. Mauritius Qualifications Authority (MQA)

1: Tertiary Education Commission Created 1988 as a parastatal body under Ministry of Education 1: Tertiary Education Commission Created 1988 as a parastatal body under Ministry of Education Main responsibilities at time of creation: Plan, develop, coordinate TEI’s under its purview; allocate govt funds; ensure accountability & optimum use of resources Institutions under TEC’s purview: 1. Univ. of Mtius 2. Mtius Inst. of Education 3. Mahatma Gandhi Inst. 4. Mtius College of the Air; 5. (later in 2000) Univ of Tech Mtius In 1988, no private institutions & QA not yet applicable

2. NAEC Established by Govt in 1997 under Ministry of Education Main objective was 2. NAEC Established by Govt in 1997 under Ministry of Education Main objective was to ensure quality education in Mtius To establish equivalence of qualifications of institutions within & outside Mtius To undertake academic audits and accreditation of institutions Was meant to serve as the QA agency in Mtius But never really fulfilled its mission

3. Mauritius Qualifications Authority Set up in 2001 under Ministry of training & HRD 3. Mauritius Qualifications Authority Set up in 2001 under Ministry of training & HRD Main objective was to evaluate & recognise qualifications awarded by technical/vocational training institutions but this was not explicit MQA started to also evaluate post-secondary qualifications Overlap in responsibilities between MQA & NAEC (recognition of qualifications) Overlap also between MQA & TEC (public TEI’s)

MAJOR CHANGES IN 2005 MQA Act amended, to be responsible for only technical/vocational institutions MAJOR CHANGES IN 2005 MQA Act amended, to be responsible for only technical/vocational institutions NAEC demolished, all responsibilities passed on to TEC explicitly given responsibility for ensuring quality of public & private post-secondary institutions TEC Act amended to give it the following additional responsibilities w. r. t. post-secondary institutions: 1. register & accredit private institutions 2. recognise & determine equivalence of qualifications 3. promote quality through QA & accreditation mechanisms

TEC & QA (Public Institutions) Set up QA & Accreditation Division in 1997 Quality TEC & QA (Public Institutions) Set up QA & Accreditation Division in 1997 Quality Assurance Cmttee (with rep from each TEI) May 1997: major seminar “QA in Higher Education” with overseas academics 1999: “Framework for QA in Tertiary Education Sector in Mtius” published to guide TEI’s 1999: workshop on “Setting Up of Institutional QA Systems” for all TEI’s TEC’s model is for each TEI to set up its own QA system. “Guidelines for Establishment of QA Systems” published TEC defines quality as ‘fitness of purpose’ and ‘fitness for purpose’

External Auditing of Public TEI’s by TEC 2000: “Guidelines for Self Assessment” published 2004: External Auditing of Public TEI’s by TEC 2000: “Guidelines for Self Assessment” published 2004: “Quality Audit Handbook” published Procedure for external audit: -TEI to prepare self-assessment portfolio -Portfolio assessed by external audit panel set up by TEC in consultation with TEI -Panel visits TEI over 3 -4 days, then submits report to TEI through TEC, for comments -Panel finalises report & submits it to TEC & TEI -TEI to act on recommendations & later informs TEC of outcome of actions taken An aggrieved TEI may appeal to Minister who sets up an ad hoc committee to hear and decide on the case. 2005 -07: First cycle of auditing of TEI’s by TEC. Univ of Mtius audited in May 2005.

Accreditation of Private Institutions by TEC Any PI has to register with TEC which Accreditation of Private Institutions by TEC Any PI has to register with TEC which then accredits academic programmes “Programme Accreditation” & “Guidelines for Programme Accreditation” published Accreditation Panel chaired by TEC Director & includes 2 subject specialists Panel may grant provisional accreditation subject to quality control by TEC during the programme period. Subsequently accreditation may be granted for the full duration of the programme Panel may also refer back an application with recommendations for resubmission, or reject it

QA at Univ of Mauritius Uo. M started putting QA system in place in QA at Univ of Mauritius Uo. M started putting QA system in place in mid 90’s – in parallel to TEC’s initiatives QA under Pro-VC for curriculum development Guidance from a number of foreign academics Strategic Plan (1999 -2004) prepared Review of all academic processes started University Quality Assurance Team (UQAT) set up under Senate. Also FQAT in Faculties, UQAT in Administration Outcome: QA documents detailing procedures, questionnaires, evaluation forms, etc. 2002: QA Office with full-time Director appointed 2004: Self assessment & mock internal audit undertaken 2005: External Audit by TEC 2006: Draft Audit Panel’s report received & views submitted. Final report awaited for recommendations

Some Issues for Consideration Why was NAEC unable to function? Lack of leadership, poor Some Issues for Consideration Why was NAEC unable to function? Lack of leadership, poor governance structure, insufficient resources Should technical education not be under Ministry of Education? Dividing line between technical and post-secondary education is blurred. Hence, still overlap between MQA & TEC. Different Ministries complicate matters further. TEC still responsible for channelling govt funds to public TEI’s. Conflict of interest in TEC being also a QA agency? No legal provision for TEC to charge fees for accreditation Should Director of TEC chair Programme Accreditation Panel for PI’s? Serious lack of trained human resources in QA at TEC & TEI’s Preparing for external audit takes enormous institutional effort time & paperwork. Academic work suffers, especially in a small institution. Too many Cmttees set up at U of Mtius

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