THE CONCEPT OF THE UNIVERSITY’S INTERNAL QUALITY ASSURANCE SYSTEM
Context of the University
The internal quality assurance system (IQAS) of the University is a set of organizational structure, internal documentation, indicators, processes and resources necessary for continuous improvement of the quality of educational programs and the development of a culture of continuous improvement.
The University’s IQAS has been developed, implemented and maintained in relation to the current organizational structure in accordance with the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG).
For the stable functioning of the internal quality assurance system, the University determines external and internal issues related to its purpose and strategic direction and affecting its ability to achieve the intended results.
The main external factors for the University are related to the legislative, technological, competitive, market, social and economic environment.
The legislative environment is determined by laws, presidential decrees and Government resolutions of the Republic of Kazakhstan, regulatory documents of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan, etc. The change in the regulatory framework leads to the need to correct the activities of the University, including internal documentation.
The technological environment is characterized by the widely use of information systems, databases and other computer technologies, which significantly improves productivity and quality of labor. To maintain competitiveness, the University creates and maintains an information environment that ensures a high level of the educational process, research and development.
The competitive environment and market environment are characterized by the presence in Almaty of other universities that provide training in similar educational programs.
Changes in the market environment lead to the need for regular study of the need to open new areas of training, educational programs.
The social environment of the region is determined by its location, area, population, social protection system, and other factors.
The economic environment is characterized by the availability of budgetary and extrabudgetary financing. With stable economic growth in the country, the University can receive acceptable funding from the state and from other sources (paid tuition, etc.). This makes it possible to develop and improve the training of specialists, develop scientific activities, improve the qualifications of teachers and other employees. The well-established mechanism of cooperation with academic and industry organizations, industrial enterprises and social institutions provides opportunities for the commercialization of scientific achievements and developments. If negative phenomena appear in the economy, problems with financing, purchase of equipment, etc. may arise for the University.
Internal factors are related to the values, culture, knowledge and performance of the University. They are conditioned by human resources, applied technologies, infrastructure, management system, etc.
The University constantly monitors and analyzes information on external and internal factors, the results of which are included in the annual report on the activities of the University, summary records of the Board, Academic Board, Academic Council, Council of Higher Schools meetings, reports of relevant structural units.
Needs and expectations of stakeholders
Stakeholders have an impact on the University’s ability to continuously provide services that meet the requirements of consumers and applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
Internal consumers of the University include:
– students, undergraduates, doctoral students;
– teaching staff and University staff.
External consumers are:
– persons entering the master’s and doctoral programs.
Other parties interested in the activities of the University include:
– parents of applicants;
– organizations-employers, partners, educational institutions;
– state bodies and society.
The University monitors and analyzes information about stakeholders and their requirements. The requirements and expectations of stakeholders are determined by:
– survey (oral, by questionnaire method);
– analysis of feedback, suggestions and letters of thanks received by the heads of processes and structural divisions, from consumers of educational and other services;
– analysis of feedback and suggestions from teaching staff and employees (within the framework of Board meetings, Academic Council, Councils of Higher schools, workshops in structural divisions).
The identified requirements and expectations of stakeholders are taken into account when developing and updating educational programs, teaching aids, etc., planning the activities of the University and structural units, and making improvements.
Internal quality assurance system processes
The internal quality assurance system of the University is a set of interrelated and interacting elements (processes) that allow the implementation of the Quality Assurance Policy and management of the University in relation to the quality of educational services and processes.
The process approach in the development, implementation and improvement of the effectiveness of the IQAS is applied in order to increase customer satisfaction by meeting their requirements.
Understanding and managing interrelated processes as a system contributes to the effectiveness and efficiency of activities in achieving the intended results. This approach allows the University to manage the relationships and interdependencies between the processes of the system, so that the overall performance can be improved.
The process approach includes the systematic identification and management of processes and their interaction in such a way as to achieve the intended results in accordance with the Internal Quality Assurance Policy and the Development Strategy of the University.
For each University activity process, a process manager and its owner are established. The process manager ensures its implementation, monitors its effectiveness and efficiency. The owner of the process forms out the process in the form of a document, sets control assessments, manages the process, is responsible for its condition, conducts inspections.
To ensure the effectiveness of processes, both in their implementation and in their management, criteria and methods are defined.
The criteria and methods for ensuring the effectiveness of processes are defined by the heads in the regulatory documents of structural divisions.
The University has all the necessary resources (including information support) to support the processes and their monitoring.
The introduction of a process-oriented approach at the University makes it possible to strengthen the orientation to the needs and interests of internal and external consumers, to ensure transparency of all processes. As a result, each employee understands what role he plays in the overall processes and activities of the University as a whole. The introduction of a process-oriented approach also makes it possible to identify nonconformities in a timely manner and systematize activities to improve the internal quality assurance system.
Responsibility for quality assurance
The management of the University’s internal quality assurance system is based on a clear definition of the functions of all officials, employees and their relationship in the performance of their functions, including responsibilities and powers.
The quality of education is ensured by the appropriate organizational structure of the University. Taking into account the set goals and available resources, the most appropriate organizational management structure has been created at the University.
The functions performed by key officials and departments included in the organizational structure of the University are subordinated to one common goal – to ensure the quality of the educational process.
The responsibilities and powers of officials and divisions are defined and fixed by internal regulatory documents, University plans, orders of the Chairman of the Board – Rector, job descriptions and regulations on structural divisions.
The job descriptions of the University staff define the duties, rights and responsibilities of the employee appointed to this position.
The University management carries out quality assurance activities in the following areas:
– organization and planning of the educational process;
– the quality of all types of training sessions;
– providing students with educational and methodological complexes of disciplines in accordance with the state general education standard of education;
– the use of technical and software tools in the educational process;
– professional development of the teaching staff.
Higher schools carry out quality assurance activities in the following areas:
– development of educational programs in demand on the labor market in the areas of personnel training based on state general education standard, standard rules and professional standards and their implementation;
– creating the necessary conditions for the implementation of educational programs aimed at professional formation and personal development based on the achievements of science and practice, the introduction of international, national standards and universal values;
– training of highly qualified personnel who are competitive in the labor market;
– conducting relevant scientific research;
– the introduction of the results of the latest scientific research into the educational process, as well as the practical involvement of students in their implementation;
– timely updating of the material and technical base of the Higher school for the introduction and further development of innovative learning technologies;
– development of personal capabilities, formation of solid foundations of morality and a healthy lifestyle;
– education of citizenship and patriotism, love for the Motherland – the Republic of Kazakhstan, respect for state symbols, intolerance to any unconstitutional and antisocial manifestations.
Heads of structural divisions:
– ensure the quality of processes and educational services in accordance with internal and external regulatory documents;
– are responsible for communicating to each employee the internal quality assurance policy of the University;
– ensure the functioning of processes in departments.
The personnel of structural divisions is responsible for the quality of performance of their official duties in accordance with the regulations on the structural divisions and job descriptions.
One of the main components of the internal quality assurance system is the involvement of students in the management of the University (student self-government). All students actively participate in the quality assurance procedure: students, undergraduates, doctoral students. Thus, students are involved in the work of the Academic Council, the Anti-Corruption Council, the Ethics Council, the Quality Assurance Commission.
The organization of work with students and their involvement in the work on assessing the quality of the educational process is carried out by the Youth Center and Quality Assurance Commissions on the basis of Higher schools.
In order to improve the quality of educational activities, Quality Assurance Commissions are functioning on the basis of Higher schools. By order of the Chairman of the Board – Rector, the Commission consists of teachers and students of the University.
The Commission makes decisions on the content and conditions for the implementation of educational programs, assessment policy and other academic issues of higher education, organizes a questionnaire of students for compliance with the quality of educational programs and disciplines/modules, for the presence of facts of violation of academic integrity. The meetings of the Commission are held according to the approved plans. Representatives of the administrative and managerial staff of the University take part in the meetings of the Commission, depending on the issues under consideration.
Documentation support of the internal quality assurance system
The internal quality assurance system’s documents are:
- documented information of permanent use;
- operational documented information;
- external documented information.
Documented information of permanent use consist of the following groups:
- Guidance on the internal quality assurance system;
- documented procedures, regulations, rules, standards and instructions on the areas of activity;
- organizational documentation (organizational structure, regulations on divisions, job descriptions).
Operational documented information includes:
- documented information containing data on the results achieved or evidence of the activities carried out;
- input and output data of processes;
- reports and records;
- suggestions for improvement;
- applications, etc.
The forms (templates) of operational documented information and the rules for its implementation are established in the relevant internal regulatory documents (documented procedures, regulations, instructions, rules, standards).
External documented information includes:
- Laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan (“On Education”, “On Science” and other legislative acts);
- State standards of the Republic of Kazakhstan, including state general education standard of education;
- industry standards;
- guidance documents of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan and other ministries and public administration bodies;
- external regulatory and legal documentation.
The list of internal regulatory documents of the internal quality assurance system can be viewed here.
The use of these documents makes it possible to effectively manage the University and to improve the quality of education at all levels of training.
Access to the internal regulatory documents of the IQMS is provided by posting it in Smart Zhetysu platform. On the official website of the University, the Internal Quality Assurance Policy, the Guidance on the Internal Quality Assurance System, University Development Programs, Academic Policy and Academic Integrity Policy are freely available.
The developed regulatory framework (internal regulatory documents) in all areas of activity and processes is constantly updated taking into account the changing requirements of external documents, recommendations and prescriptions of higher authorities, as well as the opinions of interested parties.