The Quality Assurance and Accreditation Office (QAAO) was established in September 2014. The QAAO is an important milestone indicating the University’s clear intention of consolidating its QA efforts from its early days and setting the course for the University’s way forward in the context of its continuing growth and development. QAAO has the mandate to develop and implement various guidelines and internal academic audit systems for continuous quality assurance and enhancement of the academic work of the University. The University has also established the Internal Quality Assurance Committee which will consider recommendations from QAAO for matters relating to the mandate of the QAAO. To understand the role and scope of work of QAAO, it is necessary to understand the meaning of “Quality Assurance”. What does it mean? “Quality” is an evolutionary, and to some extent, a complicated concept. It means different things to different people.
Some popular definitions in the relevant literature (Harvey and Knight, 1996) are as follows:
- Perfection (meaning flawless); or exceptional (meaning excellence or outstanding achievement through the expertise of faculty);
- Value for money (meaning from the stakeholders perspective, return on investment via, for example, university rankings);
- Transformation (meaning a process of change with emphasis on adding value to students’ knowledge, skills and experience and empowering them); and
- Fitness for purpose (meaning identification of a purpose or purposes and setting in motion a set of tasks, activities, and strategies, and employing the necessary resources to accomplish the purpose(s)).
These definitions give us some guidance on what we at JGU need to do. We also need to understand the word “assurance”, which could mean adherence to a narrow range of regulatory requirements to achieve threshold standards, or the development of policies, systems and procedures creating a robust Quality Assurance Framework which enables us to stand shoulder to shoulder with the world class universities. Our choice in this respect is abundantly clear.
Reverting to the above definitions, what is the purpose or purposes of JGU? As per the Haryana Privates Universities Act, 2006 (as amended 2012) the objects of the university include the following:
- to provide instructions, teaching and training in higher education and make provisions for research, advancement and dissemination of knowledge;
- to create higher levels of intellectual abilities;
- to establish state of the art facilities for education and training;
- to carry out teaching and research and offer continuing education programmes;
- to create centers of excellence for research and development and for sharing knowledge and its application;
- to maintain the academic standard of degrees, diplomas, certificates and other academic distinctions.
These legislative requirements and that of the University Grants Commission, Bar Council of India and other regulatory bodies translate into the University’s Vision/Mission, which underpin all of the activities and tasks of the University relating to teaching, learning and assessment, research and scholarship and service to the community.
The University recognizes that Quality Assurance is a shared responsibility of the entire University community. The three important principles which the University strives to promote relate to:
1.Setting up of goals in the context of the University’s Vision and Mission for all departments;
2.Ensuring a decision making process which is consultative, evidenced-based, and transparent; and
3.Focusing on the outcomes and impact following (a) and (b) and considering further action as required.