Approach to Developing Standards

What are Common Quality Assurance Standards?

Common Quality Assurance Standards are intended to serve as common reference points for all program stakeholders to explain the expected quality as well as methods for maintaining and improving that quality with the goal of promoting inter-university exchange with quality assurance within the broader Asian region. In particular, Common Quality Assurance Standards aim to provide a guideline for universities involved in exchanges to promote the mutual understanding of their respective educational environment and systems and to sustainably improve their quality while working together and complementing each other.

Essential Elements for the Standards

The following elements are essential to the Common Quality Assurance Standards.

  • Consideration of Diversity
    Diversity does not only refer to the diverse countries of Asia, and it is essential to include in any standards due to the various types of exchange programs that have been established such as degree programs (including double/joint degrees), semester-level exchanges, and short-term intensive programs.
  • Promotion of Flexibility
    In times of uncertainty caused by the pandemic and social changes, the standards should promote the provision of appropriate educational methods and support systems to ensure that students' learning is not interrupted.
  • Support for Sustainable Quality Assurance
    Based on the basic principles of quality assurance, the standards should support university consortiums to further strengthen the structure, function of their quality assurance initiatives (their internal quality assurance mechanisms) and assist autonomous and sustainable efforts in program improvement and quality assurance.

Creating Common Quality Assurance Standards

The first step in creating common quality assurance standards incorporating these essential elements would be to collect and organize overseas examples of inter-university student exchange programs and guidelines/reference documents that summarize the qualities to be considered. A course is being set for the standards, specifically referring to the guidelines that have been agreed upon already at the government level and carefully considering the perspectives required. Moreover, the standards will be developed through cooperation and collaboration with the quality assurance agencies in Japan, China, Korea, and ASEAN countries.

Key Reference Examples
  • Guidelines for Exchange and Cooperation among Universities in China, Japan, and Korea with Quality Assurance
    These guidelines were developed based on the discussions at the second meeting of the Japan-China-Korea Committee for Promoting Exchange and Cooperation among Universities in Beijing in 2010. They outline the expected actions by the governments, universities, and quality assurance agencies to promote quality-assured exchange and collaboration between universities in the three countries.
  • ASEAN Plus Three Guidelines on Student Exchanges and Mobility
    These guidelines were adopted at the third ASEAN Plus Three Education Ministers Meeting held in Malaysia in 2016. They provide reference for the establishment and implementation of international student exchange programs in the region, notably the elements to include and information given to students.
  • Joint Guidelines for Monitoring International Cooperative Academic Programs in 'CAMPUS Asia' (Second Edition)
    NIAD-QE jointly formulated these guidelines in 2020 with the quality assurance agencies in China and Korea. They provide a set of criteria in monitoring activities to improve program quality, by identifying the status of the academic programs offered by university consortiums in Japan, China, and Korea.

Since these three sets of guidelines present various elements from the viewpoint of establishing common quality assurance standards, we will focus on, for example, the characteristic items shown in the table below and utilize them.

Key Examples for Reference
Guidelines Characteristic items Reference points
Guidelines for Exchange and Cooperation among Universities in China, Japan, and Korea with Quality Assurance
  • Criteria for each stakeholder group
  • Student-centered principles
  • Establishment of internal quality assurance mechanisms
  • Focus on criteria for higher education institutions
  • Consideration of student-centered perspectives
  • Reference to initiatives to improve quality through internal quality assurance mechanisms
ASEAN Plus Three Guidelines on Student Exchanges and Mobility
  • A balance between inbound and outbound students
  • Specifics of student-life support
  • Attention to sustainable balance
  • Consideration of the importance of wide-range student-life support
Joint Guidelines for Monitoring International Cooperative Academic Programs in 'CAMPUS Asia'icn_pdf.gif
  • Structure and design based on actual examples of'CAMPUS Asia' programs
  • Detailed criteria
  • Emphasis on the collaborative nature of the programs
  • Standards for degree programs
  • Balanced framework of criteria
  • Elements required for degree programs
Other Examples for Reference

Examples of AIMS* programs mainly in the ASEAN region are also collected [*student exchange programs promoted by SEAMEO-RIHED (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Centre specializing in higher education and development)]. Furthermore, Erasmus+ programs funded by the European Commission to support education, training, and youth exchanges within and outside Europe, are another example for reference.
In addition, evaluation criteria within the screening guidelines for the 2021 Inter-University Exchange Project are used as reference points.

Other Examples for Reference
Documents Characteristic items Reference items
The AIMS Program Operational Handbook (Second Edition):
Preparation Checklist
  • Details on students' learning and life support
  • Agreed credit transfer between member higher education institutions within each consortium
  • Support for participation in alumni networks
  • Consideration of the details of student support
  • Agreement on credit transfer within each consortium
Erasmus Charter for Higher Education 2021-2027 Guidelines
  • Principles of non-discrimination, transparency, and inclusion
  • Detailed support measures comprehensively covering all fields
  • Reference to elements requiring compliance by European higher education institutions seeking to engage in inter-university exchanges
2021 Inter-University Exchange Project screening guidelines
  • Offer online and blended/hybrid education and focus on ensuring its quality
  • Establishment of alumni networks
  • External evaluation framework
  • Reference to different methods of education in the post-pandemic society