New standards set for higher education institutions - GulfToday

New standards set for higher education institutions

Education

The newly launched accreditation standards serve to ensure the quality of higher education.

Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent

DUBAI: The Ministry of Education has unveiled a new set of standards to be used for licensing higher education institutions in the UAE and accrediting their academic programmes, scheduled to go into effect as of Sept 2019.

The launch forms part of the UAE’s National Strategy for Higher Education and serves to achieve the country’s ambitions for enhancing the quality and global reputation of its local higher education sector.

The new accreditation standards cover 11 academic and administrative aspects of higher education institutions, namely: governance and administration; quality assurance; scientific and research activities; students; faculty; educational facilities; health, safety, and environment; legal compliance and public disclosure; educational resources; financial capacity and sustainability; and community service and integrity.

The new standards have been developed to cover the licensing and accreditation of all types of higher education institutions, including government universities (federal and local), private universities, specialised universities (eg police and army), branches of international universities, and free zone universities. Dr Ahmad Bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, said, “With the new standards, we look forward to creating a positive environment at higher education institutions, where graduates leave with in-depth knowledge, having developed the necessary advanced skills to meet the requirements of the future. We are confident that the coming years will see more UAE universities join the ranks of the world’s top 100 universities, further enhancing the reputation of Emirati education and the opportunities it affords to students in the region and the world.”

Meanwhile, Dr Mohammed Ebrahim Al Mualla, Undersecretary for Academic Affairs of Higher Education, said, “The newly launched accreditation standards serve to ensure the quality of higher education and raise awareness among both students and parents about the importance of pursuing higher education at institutions accredited by the Ministry of Education. Furthermore, they add value to qualifications obtained from UAE institutions both locally and abroad, which, in turn, boosts students’ and their parents’ confidence in these institutions and enriches the educational system across the country.” “What truly sets the new criteria apart is the fact that they embrace quality-based accreditation and licensing procedures, where higher education institutions are classified into several levels according to quality, and “high-quality” institutions will be rewarded.”

Al Mualla urged students and parents to make sure they enrol exclusively in Ministry licensed institutions and their accredited programmes.

Dr Mohamed Yousif Baniyas, Director of the Commission for Academic Accreditation of the Ministry of Education, said, “The new standards seek to facilitate the licensure and accreditation procedures applied to higher education institutions without compromising the quality of education.”

Dr Baniyas called on higher education institutions to cooperate and ensure that their applications for licensure and accreditation contain the necessary information to avoid delays in procedures, and to respond in a timely manner to comments and requirements of the external review teams assigned by the Ministry, in order to allow the Commission to issue licensure and accreditation certificates quickly and seamlessly.

The new accreditation standards allow the Ministry of Education to facilitate the licensure and accreditation procedures applied to higher education institutions without compromising the quality of education.

Higher education institutions are now required to, electronically, submit a brief “self-assessment report” outlining their strategy, quality assurance principles, syllabi, faculty members, educational resources, facilities, and laboratories.

The Ministry is currently working on launching an electronic platform in order to remain up to date on technological developments, and promote a paperless approach to licensing higher education institutions and accrediting their programmes.

The new standards are rooted in a quality-based evaluation, which considers the national and international ranking of an institution, its reputation, academic history, international accreditations it has secured for its programmes, and its compliance with the Ministry of Education’s standards, decisions, and requirements. Institutions are then classified along several levels.