Parallel Sessions 5

Post-Pandemic Scenarios for External Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Jeanette H. Baird1, Alison E. Baird2
1 Honorary Senior Fellow, LH Martin Institute, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne
2 Professor of Neurology, SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University


We review emerging phenomena in the environment of higher education and propose some scenarios for external quality assurance (EQA) agencies over the next 15 years. These scenarios reflect potential changes in the way quality is defined and demonstrated in marketised education systems. We contend that EQA agencies could improve their own and sector-wide risk management by more intentional use of foresighting techniques.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a disruptive change that, in higher education, has cleared the way for the widespread acceptance of educational technology and demonstrated how distributed ways of learning and collaborating can be sustained. As higher education institutions and systems emerge into a ‘new’ post-pandemic world, it is timely to explore with fresh eyes the implications for our understandings of ‘quality in higher education’ of trends that are already evident in wider societal and business environments.

Changes in EQA are both a response to and marker of changes in global higher education. As a marker, the standards and practices used by EQA agencies reflect the way ‘quality’, as a bundle of desirable attributes, is understood and how quality can be assured, for example, through peer review. The scope of EQA agencies’ work reflects a political consensus on what elements of learning need to be regulated.

The list below shows current developments that are influencing ideas of quality higher education. These can each be related to the categories of: attributes of quality; how quality is assessed; and, what is regulated.
- Emphasis on global citizenship and sustainability       
- Advances in the neuroscience of learning
- Continued product extension in rankings    
- Micro-credentials and alternative credentials                               
- Availability of global expertise online, both human and machine                         
- Proprietary compliance, risk and QA systems                                
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning          
- Global accreditation, membership-based accreditation by EQA agencies.

These various trends will combine in different ways, with differing effects on EQA depending on the nature of national and regional higher education systems. We explore possible effects, for example, increasing or decreasing existing ‘digital divides’.

Changes in the ways quality is assessed are moving rapidly, while changes in the meaning of quality and what is regulated will be further down the track. From a consideration of these developments, we identify and describe four plausible scenarios for EQA agencies.
1. Busier: More activities to regulate and approve as digital badges and certifications are regulated     
2. Re-focused: EQA pivots to address sector-wide quality and emerging risks
3. Evolved: EQA agency processes are automated and online; changes to ideas about learning and quality slowly emerge
4. Replaced: Other bodies and activities provide effective substitutes for previous EQA activities

EQA are agencies good at asking institutions to plan forward, to anticipate change and manage risk. Many are less skilled at applying relevant techniques to their own operations, to identify future opportunities as well as challenges. Scenario-based strategic planning is one way to imagine alternate futures and help an EQA agency chart a course towards desired outcomes. Such planning can be used to engage stakeholders, improve machine learning, and support sector-wide risk management.

Author Profile(s)
Jeanette Baird is a higher education consultant with extensive experience in quality assurance and governance. She is an Honorary Senior Fellow of the LH Martin Institute at the University of Melbourne, a Council member of the University of Divinity in Australia, and an Adjunct Professor of Higher Education at Divine Word University in Papua New Guinea. Her qualifications are BA (Hons), BLitt, MBA and PhD. She has worked in several universities and in Australian external quality assurance agencies. Her international activity includes quality audits, advice on quality assurance standards and helping to establish external quality assurance agencies for higher education.

Alison E Baird is Professor of Neurology at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University in New York, USA. She has a particular interest in applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning, in addition to her research on neuroimaging and novel diagnoses for stroke and related conditions.
The Right to Disconnect: Prospects in South Asian Higher Education Institutions in the Post-Pandemic Era

Nashia Ajaz
Lecturer, Fatima Jinnah Women University


The debate on the ‘right to disconnect’ emerged in France in 2001, and over time, it appeared in various European and Asian countries through inclusion in their labor laws. In principle, the right to disconnect implies that employees are under no obligation to accept taking work, files, and working tools to home after their work hours. This right also includes that the employees who are not reachable or available on the phone outside their working hours cannot be charged for misconduct. This right not only prevents employees from formal disciplinary actions against them for not being available after work hours but also includes creating a work environment where such workers are not subjected to shame, bullying, or negative biases for day-to-day work or promotions.

Although the debate about the ‘right to disconnect’ started and developed in the Global Northern countries, it is evident through literature that the Global Southern countries have also been facing problems associated with the work-life balance due to the expectations of being available at work after hours. Amid the work from home requirements induced by the Corona Virus pandemic, the need for the right to disconnect has become even more worldwide, specifically in the Global Southern world, due to the unavailability of the relevant policy.

This paper builds on twelve In-Depth Interviews and 2 Focus Group Discussions with female and male public and private Higher Education Institutions in 4 South Asian countries- Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. The participants discussed the dire need for the right to disconnect, which has become even more necessary during the Corona Virus Pandemic. The participants also disclosed their experiences of feeling less included and judged for not being available online after work hours, both by their students, colleagues, and higher-ups.

The research recommends the inclusion of the right to disconnect in labor policy at state and institutional levels and changing perceptions about and attitudes towards the employees who tend to exercise this human right.

Author Profile(s)
Nashia Ajaz is a Lecturer in the Department of Gender Studies at Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan. She is also a final-year Ph.D. candidate at Amsterdam Institute of Social Sciences Research (AISSR) at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Relationships Have Value, the Impact of Leader Member Exchange on Affective Commitment: Case Study of Vocational Institute Teachers From Pakistan

Naveed Anwar1, Badar Z. Quershi2
1 Assistant Professor, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST) Larkana Campus
2 Ph.D. Scholar, IQRA University Karachi


Teachers commitment towards their profession is key to their performance not only as a "Guru", to impart quality knowledge to students but also an employee of a university. A committed teacher can really add value in students life. This research contributes into further investigating the impact of Leader Member Exchange (LMX) upon work attitude (i.e. affective commitment). A Study of (N=.277) full time teachers from vocational institutes of Pakistan using purposive sampling and self administered survey was conducted. Data Analysis was done using SEM -AMOS. Results showed that quality of LMX has significant positive association with affective commitment (AC) of teachers. These significant results have shown the importance of quality of Leader Member Exchange and its impact in attaining the positive organizational outcomes. Future research directions along with managerial implications have been provided.

Author Profile(s)
Dr. Naveed Anwar is working assistant professor at SZABIST Larkana campus in Pakistan. He has been teaching in national as well as international universities since last 20 years. A keen researcher in the areas of organizational behavior and human resource management.

Self-Assessment of Higher Education Institutional Blended Learning Practice in Mongolia

Batdulam Sukhbaatar1, Oyunchimeg Battumur1, Yanjmaa Ochirbat2, Soyolmaa Bavuudorj3
1 Senior Specialist, Mongolian National Council for Education Accreditation (MNCEA)
2 Vice-chairperson and Director of Secretariat Office, Mongolian National Council for Education Accreditation (MNCEA)
3 Advisor for Internal Monitoring, Mongolian National Council for Education Accreditation (MNCEA)


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Mongolia, a face-to-face mode of teaching and learning in classrooms had stopped since November in 2020, but the Ministry of Education and Science order (A/151) stated that higher education institutions should provide students online teaching and learning. Technology advancement plays a crucial role in providing quality and continuous online learning and teaching during the pandemic. Despite the sudden conditions, higher education institutions followed the order and provided online teaching and learning. However, online teaching and learning practice tended to vary in terms of the quality, continuity and access due to infrastructure and technological readiness of higher education institutions.

In Mongolia, the pandemic restrictions have been lifted gradually and since September 14 this year higher education institutions have started in person learning in classrooms that exist every other week switching with online learning in the other week. This combination of online and face-to-face modes of teaching and learning is often referred to as blended learning (Lim, Wang & Graham, 2019).

The current study, therefore, aimed at investigating how Mongolian higher education institutions self-assess their blended learning practice. We applied a framework and self-assessment tool proposed by Lim and Wang (2017) for the study’s purpose. The framework consists of eight strategic dimensions and they are: a) vision and philosophy, b) curriculum, c) professional development, d) learning support, e) infrastructure, facilities, resources and support, f) policy and institutions structure, g) partnerships, and h) research and evaluation.

We invited 73 higher education institutions to self-assess their blended learning practice, but 49 of them provided their self-assessment results. Among them 16 are state-owned and 33 are private higher education institutions. The participants self-assessed their blended learning practice considering the eight strategic dimensions and using four levels of institutional strategies supporting blended learning practices. The four levels are as follows: a) 0-under consideration, b) 1-applying/emerging, c) 2-infusing, and d) 3-transforming. The data were collected between September and October this year.

We conducted a descriptive analysis using SPSS 23.0 and Excel. The results provided a general understanding of blended learning strategies and practices of the participating higher education institutions. The findings show that the existing blended learning strategies of the institutions within each dimension are situated at level 2 (infusing) except for one dimension. Partnership is the one which situated at level 1 (applying/emerging). The self-assessment results will help higher education institutions reflect on their blended learning strategies and practice within each dimension and revise their existing strategies in order to improve the lacking areas. The growth to higher levels of institutional strategies will support good practices of blended learning and furthermore, ensure the quality teaching and learning.

Author Profile(s)
Dr. Batdulam Sukhbaatar is a senior specialist for research and development at Mongolian National Council for Education Accreditation. Her research interests are         primary education teacher education and family-school communication.

Oyunchimeg Battumur is an expert for accreditation at Mongolian National Council for Education Accreditation. Her research interest is quality assurance of higher education.

Dr. Yanjmaa Ochirbat is a Vice-chairperson and Director of Secretariat office at Mongolian National Council for Education Accreditation. Her research interest is quality assurance of higher education .

Soyolmaa Bavuudorj is an advisor for internal monitoring and internal quality assurance.
Education or Edutainment? Crisis and Opportunity in a Post-Pandemic World of Educational Technology

Adrian J. Davis
Associate Professor, Macao Polytechnic Institute


As the electronic age continues to dominate all fields of human endeavor, the challenge we face in the field of education is that the interface between teachers and students is being increasingly mediated by advanced computer systems, information technology and the Internet, constituting both a threat to in-depth learning as well as an ideal opportunity for new and innovative methods of instruction. This crisis is underpinned by two theoretical considerations. First, based upon McLuhan’s famous phrase “the medium is the message”, the actual physical form and hardware of any new scientific invention involves an inherent constraint upon material content which, in the case of educational technology, restricts the scope and efficacy of teaching and learning. In practice, this means that the traditional method of knowledge delivery of lectures, with all their pedagogical deficiencies, could simply be replaced by a digital interface. Second, given the increasing influence of technology on education, lectures should be reassessed as to their suitability and relevance. This exploratory paper will investigate the ramifications of these challenges for teaching and learning in the post-pandemic era by first contextualizing the whole debate according to the aims of higher education and subsequent graduate outcomes. The results of this investigation will highlight the arising of creative opportunities of educational technology in the wake of the pandemic crisis while also pointing out potential risks to the acquisition of knowledge and understanding.

Author Profile(s)
Adrian Davis (EdD) is an Associate Professor of Education in the School of Applied Sciences at Macao Polytechnic Institute. He has taught in schools in London, India, and Macao. He also has a Master Degree in Psychotherapy and is a certified Play therapist (APTA) and Art therapist (CiiAT). He is currently a student of Sandplay therapy with the HKSTA as well as Masters student in Buddhist Counselling at HKU. His research interests include the psychology of teaching and learning; cognitive, social constructivist, Vygotskian, and poststructural approaches to language learning; humanistic and psychotherapeutic approaches to teaching and learning; and teaching English for Specific Purposes (ESP) involving Content-based Instruction (CBI)/Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) for social work students.