Fabian Demicoli

National Quality Assurance Framework for Training Providers Launched

An NCFHE conference concluding its European Social Fund project Making Quality Visiblelaunched the National Quality Assurance Framework for training provision in Malta. The National Quality Assurance Framework was described as a milestone for further and higher education provision in Malta as it consolidates and formalises processes towards achieving and acknowledging quality standards across the board. NCFHE Chairman Martin Scicluna highlighted how this was the first framework of its kind across 

Europe since it is a common framework for both academic as well as vocational training and covers all levels of the Malta Qualifications Framework.

GRTU considers this as a very positive development that helps establish a level playing field in the sector of training provision. It also ensures more seriousness in terms of credibility and mutual understanding of training courses. This supports employers in understanding what the prospective employee has learnt and is able to do after having followed a specific course. Quality training and certification is essential to push forth a more skilled workforce reflecting more and more industry needs whilst being backed by certification which is understandable for recruitment. GRTU sees this as a positive development whilst reiterating that implementation of Quality Assurance policies cannot be dealt with in a one-size-fits-all approach. The processes and contexts of a micro-sized business providing specific training cannot, for instance, be considered under the same guise that the processes and contexts of a national university would.

The idea behind the setting up of a Quality Assurance framework is to up the level of training provision as well as provide support to institutions in order to identify pitfalls and conduct self-improvement. It needs to transcend a culture of quality across the board in terms of training by bringing together all stakeholders including providers, trainers, students, employees, employers and policy-makers. The cycle is based on:

  • Internal quality assurance (IQA);
  • External review to the internal quality assurance;
  • External quality assurance, and;
  • Review by the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education.

The process is based on implementation, evaluation, review and planning.

The Quality Assurance process shall seek to assess whether the 10 IQA standards are fit for purpose, functioning and effective, and sustainable. The report on the quality assurance systems of training providers shall be peer-reviewed by experts appointed by the National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE).

The Internal Quality Assurance Standards are as follows:

  • Presence of an effective quality assurance policy
  • Institutional probity (Appropriate Financial Sustainability)
  • Appropriate design and approval of programmes
  • Student-centred learning, teaching and assessment
  • Student admission, progression, recognition and certification
  • Competence and development of teaching staff
  • Appropriate learning resources and student support
  • Appropriate information management
  • Appropriate public information
  • Ongoing monitoring and periodic review of programmes
  • Cyclical external quality assurance

At the end of the conference, Education and Employment Minister Hon Evarist Bartolo presented certificates to the quality assurance experts who operate in various training provider institutions which have undergone the respective training in quality assurance.

 

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