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The main function of the quality assurance agency for education is to assess the quality of education offered by schools, universities, or any other educational institutes. These agencies can be government, private or funded organizations. They help the educational institutes to know their weak and strong points which helps them to improve, so that they can provide better standards of education to the students.
These quality-monitoring agencies have set standards, guidelines, and procedures for assessing the quality of the education. All these standards, guidelines and procedures are developed by a team comprising of members of a quality assurance agency , academic personalities, and representatives from schools and universities. Just like QA services in manufacturing and service industry are meant to protect the employees and customers, these agencies are meant to assess the quality of education and are accountable to parents, students, teachers, and other stakeholders of the educational institutes.
Steps In Assessing The Quality And Standards Of Education
Development Of Standards
The first step is the development of the standards against which the performance of the institution will be measured. This step requires participation of people from all walks of the life to incorporate different ideas and perspectives. Various personalities from the field of education, representatives from educational institutes and government etc are invited to contribute to this process.
This step includes developing procedures for assessing the quality of education. It includes written sets of instruction for performing each and every task in the process of assuring quality of the education. It includes procedures for processes like how and when the quality assurance agency will intimate the institutes for audits, who should be a part of an audit team, how to conduct audits, how to make performance reports etc. These are also disseminated to the educational institutes and government.
Conducting An Audit
The institute where the audit has to be conducted is informed about the date of the audit. An audit team is formed according to the set procedures. First of all, there is an opening meeting with the head of the institution. Then, the audit team visits different departments of the institute. All the facilities provided by the institution are inspected and there are discussions with teachers and students.
A quality assurance agency may also prefer the involvement of parents in the process of audit. They may invite the parents for the interactions and discussions. Once the audit team has inspected the institute and interacted with teachers, parents and students, a draft report is prepared. At the closing meeting, there are discussions about the various findings by the audit team during the inspection process. The head of the institute and the staff can clarify the reasons for various non-conformities at this meeting.
Based on the draft report submitted by the audit team, a final report is prepared by the quality assurance agency . This report contains the facts observed during the visit to the institute and based on the report, various suggestions for improvement are given so as to improve both the quality and standards of the institute. Sometime, the institutes also assist in suggesting the improvements.
In short, quality-monitoring agency for education helps the institutes in maintaining the proper standards of education. Once the institute receives the audit report, it is their responsibility to sustain their positive points and improve upon the identified areas of improvement.