Support for expert visits on internal and external quality assurance systems under the Fullbright program


Support for expert visits on internal and external quality assurance systems under the Fullbright program

EdNet agency actively invites internationally recognized experts to conduct trainings and seminars on quality and accreditation issues. So, in the period from 2014 to 2016, with the support of the Fullbright program, EdNet agency invited two American experts on accreditation and quality assurance from Kent State University - Martha Merrill and Mark Kretovitz. The seminars and trainings conducted by the experts significantly influenced the understanding of quality assurance in higher education in Kyrgyzstan and the development of the EdNet Agency in general. Martha Merrill conducted seminars on various topics for academic and administrative staff of metropolitan universities, such as KEU, KGUSTA, KSTU, KSU, etc. on topics such as "Learning outcomes, learning activities and assessment" in order to clearly distinguish (define) that learning outcomes represent statements that the student should know, understand and / or be able to demonstrate upon completion of the learning process and become familiar with the learning outcomes shaping methodology, and the Comparative Analysis of American and European Quality Assurance This seminar was aimed at to provide a broader vision of American and European internal / external quality assurance in terms of criteria, procedures, similarities, differences, weaknesses. and what makes them successful through benchmarking. Martha Merrill spoke in detail about learning outcomes - a new mechanism in the universities of Kyrgyzstan. This topic has been important for academics because many universities are in the process of implementation; however, they have been confused with older educational approaches such as ZUN. During the seminar Martha Merrill defined what the Learning Outcome is, spoke about the importance of improving the content of education. After the workshop, the participants got a clear idea of ​​what the learning outcomes are and were able to identify the differences between RO and competency-based approach. Also, American education experts discussed internal and external quality assurance and how it is practiced in the US and Europe, presenting a comparative analysis. Despite the fact that Kyrgyzstan is in the process of introducing independent accreditation, many universities want to obtain international accreditation, because they understand that accreditation will not only help improve the quality of education, but also increase their potential and image in other countries. Thus, this workshop gave the audience a clear understanding of quality assurance in the US and Europe, after the workshop they were able to identify their similarities and differences. In addition, the audience discussed with Martha Merrill which system would be applicable to Kyrgyzstan with its mentality and culture.

During the first day Mr.Kretovics had a meeting in the Parliament with Nikitenko Natalia, member of the committee for education, culture and sport under the Parliament (Jogorku Kenesh) of the Kyrgyz Republic, where they discussed the recent trends in accreditation policy on the national level. This meeting gave a general overview of the tendencies and problems that occurred during formation of the legislative base about accreditation. Particularly, the content of the legislative documents was the key point of the discussion. Mrs. Nikitenko revealed key aspects that cause difficulties in promotion of independent accreditation in Kyrgyzstan, and Mr. Kretovics provided information about how similar difficulties were overcome in USA.

Mark had a seminar with Kyrgyz Economic University, and provided to the staff of the university consultations on how to run American ACBSP accreditation, since this is the first university in Kyrgyzstan that has passed pilot accreditation in EdNet Agency and is aimed at accreditation in ACBSP.

a seminar for the representatives of KG universities about Learning outcomes and learning assessment was held, whereas 35 people could learn how to assess learning outcomes and apply theoretical knowledge on practice. The seminar was enriched with practical cases from American educational system that provided a unique experience and food for thoughts for our academicians. The same seminar was in Osh and Jalal-Abad cities. In total 134 people from about 15 universities, including all universities of the South region participated on the seminars (Osh State Unviersity, Jalal-Abad State University, Osh Technological University, Jalal-Abad University of Economy and Entrepreneurship, Osh State Law Institute etc.). The content of the seminar had deep practical application and effective comparative analyses of American and Kyrgyz educational system in terms of using of learning outcomes.

Mark conducted a seminar about Human resources Management in Universities. This topic is completely new for Kyrgyz educational market, and the audience received practical knowledge, instruments and skills on how to establish human resources department in a university, the processes that have to be established in the department, what are liabilities and obligations of the department’s staff, and what is the effect of having HR department in the university.

Mark has been working with EdNet Agency’s staff on revision and development of internal documentation of the Agency that regulates accreditation process. Particularly, Mark made analyses of the standards of the Agency and also procedures of accreditation in respect to American’s system requirements. He concluded that there are similarities between Agency’s standards and requirements are USA system. Besides Mark conducted internal seminar for the staff of the Agency about organization of endowment funds in USA, and we have discussed possibilities of establishing of endowment funds in Kyrgyzstan. Practical cases that were provided by Mark provided deeper vision about development of this movement in Kyrgyzstan. After the seminar, EdNet Agency has developed further plans for improvement of the internal documentation and establishment of endowment funds on the base of the Agency.

Mark gave excellent seminars about strategic management and Human resources management. Representatives of around 10 different universities, including regional universities participated on the seminar. The seminar about strategic management was the first seminar in Kyrgyzstan dedicated to this topic.

In general the visit of Mark Kretovics to EdNet Agency, Kyrgyzstan was extremely successful, that is confirmed by the feedback that was provided by the listeners of the seminars and trainings held by Mark, and outcomes that followed after his visit. Particularly, the experts on accreditation got clear and professional vision of their role in the assessment of the quality of education during accreditation, and understood the organization of the processes that take place in universities from qualitative, but not quantitative point of view. Representatives of universities received valuable practical information on how to develop and assess learning outcomes, and could make some improvements to current curricula and competences that are developed in the university and within a concrete discipline. And the most impressive and useful information was about introduction of HR department and strategic management in universities. These seminars made some transformation in the minds of the academic representatives in terms of organization of educational process and the role of each level of the staff in the ensuring of a quality. All studied during Mark’s visit were discussed in the lime light and within the framework of independent accreditation in Kyrgyzstan, and allowed at least partially prepare some of the representatives of the academic society to run through this process.