17 May 2023

IQA Experts from ASEAN, Spain, and Australia Share their Experiences and Best Practices at the Internal Quality Assurance System Design and Development Workshop

Patitin Lertnaikiat
AUN Programme Officer;

The Internal Quality Assurance System Design and Development Workshop in Viet Nam was a 3 day workshop where participants from Vietnamese universities gathered together to analyze challenges in the IQA system and to create the best plans to tackle them. The dedicated article covering the full event can be read here! The main focus will be bringing us to the second day of the workshop where the following 7 IQA Experts from ASEAN and Spain joined to engage with the participants in forming solutions for the challenges faced in the Vietnamese IQA system.

  1. Dr. Glòria González Anadón, President of AQU Special commission for the Certification of IQAs Implementation, University Autònoma de Barcelona
  2. Mr. Johnson Ong Chee Bin, AUN-QA Technical Expert, Founder and Principal Consultant of Education Quality International (EQI)
  3. Dr. Kamolwan Lueprasert, Special Advisor to AUN Executive Director
  4. Dr. Miquel Vidal, Dean of the Chemistry Faculty, University of Barcelona
  5. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tan Kay Chuan, AUN-QA Technical Expert
  6. Dr. Robyn Phillips, Director of XBorder Projects
  7. Dr. Satria Bijaksana, Deputy Chairperson of AUN-QA Council 

Before the IQA Experts and Participants split into 5 different groups, the experts shared trigger presentations in order to get everyones’ thought processes running for creating solutions. As the previous article has already covered the events of the workshop, this one will be taking a closer look at the information provided by the experts.

1. Dr. Glòria González Anadón


Dra. Glòria’s presentation focuses on how to approach the assessment of IQA systems at the institutional level. The starting point is requiring higher education institutions to assume a more active and responsible role. A principle of the European Standard and Guidelines is to make sure HEIs are comfortable with having the primary responsibility of their provisions. Quality assurance systems will need to respond by adapting to the diversity of higher education systems. The learned lessons are to have tailor-made systems, guidelines, and strategies for varieties of HEIs and a two-stage process beginning with making a general map of processes for institutions to pass evaluation first, then it is possible for them to begin developing their own guides and templates for their private IQAs.

2. Mr. Johnson Ong Chee Bin


A future-ready IQA system is the way to go with Mr. Johnson. The IQA system design is dependent on contextual factors and we live in a VUCA world where disruptive events can happen at any time that are capable of shaking the grounds of the higher education landscape. The system to design IQA requires both outside-in (ecosystem) and inside-out (microsystem) approaches. Therefore, a future-ready IQA system will be one that has agility, accountability, collaboration, and autonomy.

3. Dr. Kamolwan Lueprasert

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Developing systems of any kind can be difficult and time consuming, but looking towards examples can often help expedite the process. In regards to this, Dr. Kamolwan provided an example by sharing the transition process of the QA system of HEIs in Thailand. QA systems in Thailand first began being under the Ministry of Education (OHEC) and transitioned to being under the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation (CHES). Afterwards, the IQA system transitioned from OHEC’s QA system to the HEI’s own QA system. EQA used to be from ONESQA but is now from an internationally recognized agency that is approved by CHES. Eventually, the QA system has transformed from rule-based to an outcome based system. Now, programmes that were acknowledged by OHEC has transitioned to being accredited and assessed by CHES.

4. Dr. Miquel Vidal


Challenges in the IQA system happen in every higher education institution. Dr. Miquel shared his ongoing journey in the challenges he faced in the way to the certification of the IQA system implementation in the Faculty of Chemistry (FQ) of the University of Barcelona (UB). He explained the strengths and weaknesses of the IQA system before the certification of the FQ. First, for strengths, there were clear guidelines and standards for the certification of the IQA system implementation and the existence of the UB Quality and Policy Agency. For the weaknesses, quality was often not seen as useful and there was an absence of a centralized UB data office. Next, there was no additional funding along with no additional administrative staff and not all FQ academic managers have training in quality systems. A big challenge faced is that IQA systems are subject to continuous changes and improvements following reviews. Therefore the current systems in place for FQ must endure beyond changes of governing groups. Other current challenges to be addressed are to train the staff in quality systems and the creation of a data office.

5. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tan Kay Chuan


Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tan emphasized on how the VUCA world is driving changes to higher education. Universities nowadays no longer only serve full-time and part-time students, but also more than millions of students dedicated to lifelong learning. Singaporean universities and the government must also continue strengthening relationships to maintain policies and engage in collaborative efforts. The universities are also engaged with the latest trends to enhance education in the best ways possible. Before closing off, he shared 5 factors that make universities successful.

  1. Institutional Autonomy
  2. Open to Talent
  3. Invest in National Research
  4. Global Connections
  5. Education for Everyone: Full-Time, Part-Time, Lifelong Learners

6. Dr. Robyn Phillips, Director of XBorder Projects


Dr. Robyn presented to the participants strong considerations and ways to promote an inclusive IQA culture. University plans, policies and procedures contribute to the IQA framework. These need to be innovative, flexible, progressive and fit-for-purpose now and the future. It is a process of continuous improvement, of reviews and follow up. It can be viewed as a cyclical system. In terms of promoting an IQA culture, there must be shared responsibility across the institution. Staff participation must be encouraged and QA needs to be a valued part of all institutional activities. Individuals have to stay informed and inform others as well. Data can also be effective in informing the knowledge needed, however keep in mind that the data is only as good as the question that is asked.

7. Dr. Satria Bijaksana


Dr. Satria asked this thought-provoking question: “IQA, is it a shared path or a shared destination?” Higher education institutions all aim to have a well-developed IQA system, a similar destination, but do they all go through the same obstacles and challenges, going down the same path? In any case, that was for the participants to ponder throughout the workshop, but he also shared some perceptions about IQA. In the university’s point of view, IQA is a system or platform to improve the quality of an institution in line with its vision. However, in the view of individual units, IQA can be a complicated and tedious system to follow that results in tons of documents to create and infringes on academic freedom.

The Internal Quality Assurance System Design and Development Workshop has been a prominent step towards upgrading Vietnamese IQA systems to the next level. The produced information is plentiful and the future holds a bright path. Stay tuned for the coming week where AUN will cover the results and the way forward!