Contextualising the 2nd International Conference: University of Ibn Zohr, Business School, Agadir, Morocco, March 13th -15th 2019

Quality in Higher Education: Sharing Cross-national Examples of Effective Practices

Quality in higher Education has significantly changed in the last decades. Higher education institutions have experienced pressures of increasing numbers of students and demographic changes, demands for accountability, reconsideration of the social and economic role of higher education, implications and impact of new technologies. More importantly, massification of higher education has not only changed the mission of higher education institutions, but also has brought about concerns for standards and quality.

The increasingly globalized economy means that higher education is facing similar challenges that need to be approached cooperatively. Higher education institutions around the globe do share almost the same characteristics particularly current crisis of quality, decrease of government funds, and fierce competition both locally and internationally. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that higher education institutions share their experiences, models and approaches to meet their local needs.

The importance of cross-national quality practices and perspectives has grown considerably in the last two decades, thanks to increased mobility of students, academic staff, international accreditations and internationalization of programmes. The internationalization of higher education has also urged governments and organizations as well as quality agencies to protect higher education stakeholders from low-quality services. For example, UNESCO and OECD’s guidelines on Quality Provision in Cross-border Higher Education encourage higher education stakeholders namely governments, students, academic staff, higher education managements and quality assurance agencies to acknowledge international collaboration and recognize diversity as well as national authority. The growth of external quality assurances agencies in the world is a clear indicator of raised interest in quality in higher education. Despite the increase in regional agencies for quality assurance, they are far from being international due to cultural, economic and political specificities. Therefore, bringing all educational practitioners and theorists together will contribute positively to quality in higher education.

The overall aim of ‘Quality in Higher Education: Sharing Cross-national Examples of Effective Practices’ conference is to discuss present different approaches, models and options that can be considered as good principles for quality enhancement in higher education and a source of inspiration to guide other higher education institutions in the design and development of their own quality assurance model. Quality in higher education, albeit in a number of different forms (quality assessment, programme review, accreditation, licencing, benchmarking, etc.), is nowadays an inevitable reality in each national higher education system and will remain a necessary guideline and steering instrument for many governments, universities and quality assurance organisations.