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Reform Of The External System Of Quality Assurance In Higher Education In The UK

Posted on:2007-03-06Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:L HeFull Text:PDF
GTID:2167360185961577Subject:Higher Education
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The United Kingdom was one of the earliest sponsors of the movement of quality assurance in higher education. The process in the UK of trying to establish an external quality assurance system was so complicated and tortuous that the external system was always unstable in the past twenty years. However, it becomes a typical case when we study reforms of macro-management systems in higher education now. This dissertation takes historical study as its method, and describes, analyses and evaluates the process of the evolution of the external quality assurance system in higher education in UK, especially during the last twenty years.The United Kingdom is a country which insists on institution self-governance and academic freedom, so quality has always been regarded as the responsibility of academics themselves. The structure of British higher education changed dramatically in the 1960s and formed the binary system. One was the traditional university sector, institutions in which were all of highly self-governance. The other part was called the public higher education sector, mainly including those new polytechnics, which was controlled by local education authorities. British higher education came into a reform period in the 1980s because of the policies made by the Conservative Party. To meet the needs of the development in economy and society, UK abolished the binary system in the early 1990s and began to try to establish the external quality assurance system in higher education, which emphasized accountability and improvement in all higher education institutions. As main stakeholders in higher education, the British government and academics played important roles in this process. The government conducted and promoted the reform by means of administration, legislation, allocation and especially evaluation. Furthermore, with the active involvement of the academics, the aim of the system changed from accountability to enhancement, and the main body of quality assurance underwent from universities themselves to external organizations, and then back to higher education institutions, but assisted by external organizations. And also, the ways of assurance shifted from double external evaluation to single external evaluation. The process of external quality assurance reform in higher education in UK is the one that adjusted benefits between the government and academics by negotiation, compromising and action.The practice in UK shows that higher education institutions must take the responsibility for their quality, and make active actions to meet the needs of economy and society. The evolvement of the external quality assurance system in higher education is compound, so we have to make systematic investigation and research...
Keywords/Search Tags:quality in higher education, external assurance system, model of reform, quality assessment, quality audit
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