The System of Quality Network/Assurance In Higher Education: the Case Study of the Sultanate of Oman |
Higher education sector in Oman has grownand made significant development in the last decade. There is heavy investmentto improve the education infrastructure, provide increased educationopportunities with focus on women education to ensure equality and equity. Thespread of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) of all types, diversifiedprogrammes and establishment of Quality Assurance Council is a testimony to theimportance given by the nation to ensure quality of higher education that theneeds/requirements of 21st century are met. In order to achieve aninternational standard in higher education, all HEIs have adopted - importedcurriculum, recruited international / expatriate faculty and English as amedium of instruction. Despite these efforts, the quality of education in termof 21st century, requirement both in terms of knowledge acquisition and skillsseems to be missing and is not up to the desired level. This paper will discuss the role of qualityassurance units in Higher Education Institutes. The discussion will include anintroduction on the need for Quality Assurance units followed by challengesfacing quality assurance units. The paper then describes the outcomes of an initialneeds analysis that led to the development of a National Quality Plan. Some ofthe strategies in this plan for improving and increasing capability areconsidered, most particularly the establishment of a practitioner‐orientedOman Quality Network, and the design and implementation of a National QualityTraining Program. These two strategies attempt to address common obstacles tocapability, namely a paradigm that entrenches compliance and helplessness, andonly early awareness of effective quality enhancement and quality assuranceprinciples and methods.