The Xi’an Eurasia University held an international seminar online on May 13, 2022. With “Quality Assurance for Pandemic-Disrupted Higher Education: An Accreditation Perspective” as the theme, it is expected that under the impact of pandemic, the quality assurance (QA) of higher education worldwide can be explored from the perspective of QA agencies. At the seminar, WSCUC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission), HKCAAVQ (Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications), QAA (Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education), BAC (British Accreditation Council), TWAEA (Taiwan Assessment and Evaluation Association), and other professional evaluation agencies shared their experiences.
The Xi’an Eurasia University is a school focused on business education development. At present, there are over 20,000 students. The ten colleges including accounting, finance, business administration, cultural medium, humanity education, art & design, information engineering, human settlements & civil engineering, general education, and higher vocational education, cover 58 professional fields with high prestige in the field of business education.
Dr. Chi-Yeh Yung, the chairman of Taiwan Assessment and Evaluation Association (TWAEA), was invited to deliver a keynote speech on the topic of “Quality Assurance for Pandemic.” The explanation covered aspects such as the current situation of Taiwan’s higher education, educational measures and practices under the pandemic, and the QA mechanisms. In view of the impact of pandemic on Taiwan’s higher education, the policy of “Classes Suspended but Learning Continues” has been practiced as well as to carry on international exchanges and expand digital learning support. Higher education institutions (HEIs) have developed various supporting measures based on these policies. At this time of crisis, digital transformation has been conjunctively implemented, hoping to pave the way for a new layout in higher education.
In response to global pandemic, the QA mechanism of TWAEA for higher education has been adjusted as follows to meet the new normal.
I. Postponement and reschedule of on-site review
In conjunction with the evaluation validity of schools, TWAEA assists HEIs to reschedule the date for conducting the on-site review.
II. Strengthen pandemic prevention measures
During the ongoing COVID-19 situation, various pandemic prevention measures for schools, reviewers, and administrative staff have been fostered, including implementing pandemic prevention measures in office environments, fulfilling various pandemic prevention measures for meetings, increasing pandemic prevention preparation during the site visit, such as providing isolation packages, filling out health declarations, and taking out COVID-19 insurance, etc.
III. Digital Transformation and Conduction of Online Evaluation
Due to the impact of pandemic control upon arrival and departure, on-site review involves greater difficulty, setting the trend of online evaluation. In view of this, TWAEA has first assessed the validity, feasibility, and necessity of online evaluation and then commenced the international online evaluation system for overseas HEIs. Systematic operational procedures have been carried out based on the reliability and validity of on-site review, thereby achieving the consistent quality standards.
IV. Technology Integration and Smart Evaluation System
TWAEA has actively set up the smart evaluation system. The contents cover data filling by evaluated HEIs, document review by evaluators, evaluation reports written by reviewers, and other functions. The evaluation database has been improved at an accelerated pace to ensure the complete and prompt supply of various information.
Since the COVID-19 broke out in 2019, the world has faced major challenges in economic and education development. All HEIs have had no choice but respond within the shortest possible time, while simultaneously developing digital assessment mechanisms and enhancing the teaching capacity of faculty in order to maintain the quality of talent cultivation under distance learning.
On such an occasion, turning crisis into opportunity, improving the crisis management competency of HEIs, and getting the big picture will be important issues faced in the sustainable management of universities. TWAEA bears the mission of a professional evaluation agency, and works together with HEIs to co-create a new way of running a school and embrace challenges of the future in unity.