Quality & Quantity

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 2009–2024 | Cite as

Setting the course for quality assurance in higher education



While the application of quality management and total quality management in higher education (HE) are discussed in literature, quality assurance (QA) of academic programs—the main services offered by higher education institutes (HEIs)—is yet to be fully understood. Scepticism prevails on how the principles of QA—having origin in manufacturing sector—can be applied in HE. The main question addressed in this article is ‘how the academic processes can be designed for QA?’ This paper suggests the use of systems approach for a number of reasons: first systems approach brings wide range of stakeholders into organisational consciousness. Second, it allows deployment of QA strategically through the development of a mission for the HEI. Third, it allows alignment and realignment of academic processes with the mission of the HEI. Finally, it allows systematic management of QA implementation with an essential focus on continual improvement. The mentioned elements are embodied in a framework consisting of a list of diagnostic questions to guide the integration of QA into academic processes. The framework should help HEIs integrate QA into academic programs with continual improvement as an essential ingredient.


Quality assurance Higher education Academic programs Mission PDCA cycle 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Prince Sultan UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.University of the PunjabLahorePakistan
  3. 3.University of Management and TechnologyLahorePakistan

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