An Outline of Approaches used by the authorities of different countries in managing the quality assurance of distance learning programmes

:
Can a viable strategy based on distance learning be formulated to make Malaysia a competitive education hub?
By: Dr. CHOW Yong Neng SEG International Bhd
yn.chow@gmail.com

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Executive Summary There is a need to have a more precise definition of distance learning in the Malaysian context. The Quality Assurance Agency (UK)’s definition of distance learning which encompasses a broad spectrum of delivery modes employed by the various British institutions for overseas academic delivery should be adopted in Malaysia. A revision of thinking should be considered when we evaluate a programme from the point of view of the ‘outputs’ (which is the learning experience and opportunities) and delivery in a holistic manner rather than basing our judgement solely on the definition of the delivery mode of a programme. The QAA (UK) and the AUQA (Australia) both, in their different ways, make the universities in their respective countries accountable for the quality and delivery of programmes overseas. Malaysia perhaps could leverage on the work of these agencies in streamlining the work of regulating the delivery of foreign programmes in Malaysia. The Singapore’s authorities have devised a relatively straightforward and comparatively transparent quality assurance system that has fostered the growth of the private higher education industry in the past few years which saw 770 programmes being approved to be offered there. Despite the initial hiccups, the Hong Kong’s quality agency, HKCAA managed to register 403 programmes delivered in the private sector and 573 programmes in the quasi-public sector. These factors perhaps confer great competitive advantages to Singapore and to a lesser extent, Hong Kong.

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Like Hong Kong, the Malaysian qualifications framework should be complemented by a revision of the present rigid regulation and recognition criteria of the various authorities. This should address the problems of the present system of recognition of qualifications and allow diverse entry and exit points as well as different pathways to achieve recognised qualifications that will foster lifelong learning. The Singapore’s approach in handling the recognition of foreign qualifications by emphasising on the quality of the awarding institutions overseas and delivery quality by distance learning deserves considerations for adoption in Malaysia. The imminent threat and impact to the higher education sector of Malaysia by the World Trade Organisation’s General Agreement on Trade in Services require that the country take stock of the current situation and make the necessary streamlining of the various processes to enhance the competitiveness of its higher education industry to further seize the opportunities and counter the threats of globalisation.

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Definition of Distance Learning The best definition of distance learning perhaps is given by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA)1 of the UK, “distance learning has been taken to mean a way of providing higher education that involves the transfer to the student’s location of the materials that form the main basis of study, rather than the student moving to the location of the resource provider”. However, distance learning is a generic term used to describe a wide range of delivery methodology for tertiary institutions to provide distance delivery of their programmes. The QAA further elaborated on 4 dimensions of distance learning:

Materials-based learning: Refers to all the learning resource materials made available to the students studying at a distance and can be in printed, audio-visual, other media format, materials on the World Wide Web, and computer-based materials.

Programme components delivered by travelling teachers: Refers to staff of the providing institution travelling on a periodic basis to the location of the student to deliver components of the programme. The delivery can be done on a scheduled basis or concentrated in a period of intensive contact hours.

Learning supported locally:

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Refers to the providing institution employing suitably qualified local academics to provide local support for students in the programme.

Learning supported from the providing institution remotely from the student: Refers to defined support and specified components of teaching provided remotely for individual distant students by an academic of the providing institution. The communication between the academic and the student in this case could range from postal correspondence, audio or video cassette, telephone, fax, email and via an elearning portal.

Most distance learning programmes will rely on more than one or even all of the 4 dimensions in their delivery by the providing institution. Hence the term ‘distance learning’ could in fact encompass nearly all the offshore activities of universities. Perhaps the most obvious distance learning model in Malaysia and it is the one that come to mind of most Malaysians is the University Sains Malaysia model whereby students congregate at learning centres across the country to receive scheduled lectures broadcast from Penang. With the explanation given by the QAA guideline on the dimensions of distance learning, it is obvious that the USM model is just one of the possible ways for distance learning to be delivered.

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David Buckingham and Nicola Channon of the QAA concluded that “The conventional categorisations of off-campus provision [into franchise, validation or distance learning] do not help students. What is important to students is that the material delivered to them, the assessments against which they are judged and the support that they receive as learners are of assured quality and secure standards. The important part for students is that they are getting good learning opportunities in a form that suits their needs and that they are able to achieve the standards expected of an UK award.”2 Hence, a revision of the thinking in terms of classification of programmes in Malaysia may be timely. It may be best that we evaluate a programme from the point of view of ‘outputs’ (which is the learning experience and opportunities) and delivery in a holistic manner rather than basing our judgement solely on the loose definition of the delivery of the programme. A distance learning programme may provide better if not equal learning experience to a student compared to a conventional full face-toface delivered programme.

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2.

Monitoring of the Quality of programmes and their delivery by home countries With the tremendous financial implications to the higher education industry of offshore delivery of programmes, both the QAA of the UK and the Australian University Quality Agency (AUQA) have taken great interest in the activities of their respective universities overseas. While the approaches of both QAA (UK) and AUQA (Australia) are somewhat different, with the QAA publishing guidelines for distance delivery of programmes and carrying quality audit on British universities’ overseas activities1 and the AUQA adopting a less stringent but yet effective approach of verifications of quality practices by Australian universities3, nevertheless, countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong which are ‘net-importers’ of such educational products should find it reassuring that the regulatory authorities of these countries are taking responsibilities for monitoring the overseas activities of their respective universities.

2.1

The QAA’s Case in the UK: With the proliferation of open learning and distance learning programmes from British institutions and more importantly with the internationalisation of the activities of many British universities, the Quality Assurance Agency of the UK has published a guideline on the quality assurance of distance learning in 1999. This forms the terms of reference for all offshore activities of British universities. This guideline also form the basis in which many British universities carry out the

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delivery of their programmes overseas regardless of whether the programme is defined as in distance learning mode or otherwise. Six aspects of distance learning are covered in this guideline:
1. System Design – the development of an integrated

approach One of the precepts for this guideline is copied below, ″Higher education by distance learning should be underpinned by principles relevant generally to higher education. An institution intending to offer distance learning programmes of study should design and manage its operations in a way that applies those principles and, at the same time, take full account of considerations specific to teaching its students at a distance.”
2. The establishment of academic standards and quality in

programme design, approval and review procedures: The programme designed for distance learning must provide the same academic standard as those delivered on campus and the learning opportunity and learning experience for the students studying in distance learning mode must be comparable to those delivered on campus and provide the students with a fair and reasonable chance of achieving the academic standards required for successful completion. The distance learning programme should acquire the necessary approval which include an element of scrutiny external to the institution.

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3. The

assurance of quality and standards in the

management of programme delivery: The providing institution is responsible for managing the delivery of its distance learning programme. Learning via distance learning mode should be treated as an activity involving all participants in the system.
4. Student development and support:

“…a providing institution should give explicit attention to its responsibility for supporting and promoting autonomous learning and enabling learners to take personal control of their own development. An institution should set realistic aims, devise practical methods of achieving them, and monitor its practice.” 5. Student communication and representation: Full information about the nature and expectation of the distance learning programme must be given to all students. The providing institution needs to ensure that effective dissemination of this information to students is carried out and that appropriate student representation, feedback and communication are achieved. 6. Student assessment: The providing institution needs to demonstrate that the summative and formative assessments for programmes studied at a distance are appropriate for the mode of study

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with

assessment

procedures

in

accord

with

the

requirement to safeguard academic standards and that it has direct control over the assessment processes. From these six guidelines, we can conclude that the QAA has charged all British universities with the full responsibilities and accountabilities of the delivery of distance learning programmes. In the Malaysian context, all British universities’ offshore activities in Malaysia, especially in the delivery of programmes are under the scrutiny of the QAA. Therefore, in view of this, it may seem to be a duplicating of efforts in many aspects of the activities of Lembaga Akreditasi Negara (LAN) with regards to the evaluation of British programmes delivered locally by Institusi Pengajian Tinggi Swasta (IPTS) that collaborate with their British partners. We can perhaps consider the scrutiny of the activities of British universities in Malaysia by the QAA an adequate quality assurance practice and perhaps the Ministry of Higher Education could contemplate adopting the QAA’s finding or engaging the QAA in such quality assurance process to achieve a streamlining of the quality assurance workload of the industry. 2.2 The case of the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA): Unlike the approach used by the QAA of the UK, the AUQA does not provide any specific guidelines for Australian universities in their pursuit of offshore academic activities and delivery of programmes. It does however, carry out routine audit on

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overseas activities of Australian universities based on the following principles3: 1. The scope for audit being the university’s stated goals and objectives. 2. There is no comparison between institutions or about the adherence to a common set of standards. 3. The audit is based on an institution’s self review (which is the approach to quality assurance practices in Australia). 4. There is no rigid performance portfolio template to adhere to and each institution is recognised for its own distinctiveness. 5. Audit costs need to be kept to a minimum but not at the expense of the integrity of the audit. The AUQA uses seven tests to determine if an audit visit to an Australian institution’s overseas activities is required, these are:
1. What are the numbers of staff and students per overseas

venue? If the number is large and can affect the institution’s financial position, the audit panel may elect to visit the site. 2. What is the significance of the overseas activities to the institution’s strategies? If the overseas activities are subject to great growth potential, the audit panel will pay special attention to it. 3. What is the likelihood and consequences of things going wrong with the overseas activities? How stable is the operation? Risks on political and policy changes etc. 4. How experienced is the institution in handling overseas students and overseas operations?

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What are the risks to the students in the overseas operations from the point of view of the institution’s ability to cope with its roles and responsibilities?
5. What is the number and location of the overseas venues in

which the institution has operation? The larger the distribution the practicability of the audit exercise and the accuracy of the sampling (if carried out) will need to be evaluated.
6. What is the effect of the accreditation requirements of the

host country on the operation of the institution’s overseas activities? Can the AUQA utilise the outcomes of the accreditation process for its audit purposes?
7. Is it necessary for the audit panel to visit the overseas

site(s)? Can the audit panel obtain all the necessary information without the need of a field visit? With the growth of transnational student population (i.e. those students receiving education from Australian institutions but located overseas) growing from 20% in 1994 to 34% in 2003 (and this figure is set to grow to 50% in 2025)4 , the AUQA will pay significantly more attention to Australian distance learning programmes and overseas activities. 3. How do the authorities in Singapore and Hong Kong regulate the delivery of foreign programmes in their countries?

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3.1

The Singapore’s case: The Singapore Government adopts a very different approach to the quality assurance of distance learning programmes delivered by foreign universities5. In fact it treats all programmes from foreign universities delivered in Singapore, regardless of the mechanism of delivery as distance learning. The registration of such programmes is on a programme by programme basis. Significant emphasis is placed on the credibility of the foreign institutions and the programmes offered with a relatively minimal emphasis on the local partners. As such the approving process is relatively swift. However, the Singaporean government does require that distance learning programmes by overseas institutions to be subjected to the same quality assurance process as the on-campus programme in the home country and the overseas institution and its local partner need to demonstrate that the learning experience of students in Singapore will be equivalent of their counterparts in the home country. 1. All local organisations representing overseas educational institutions offering their programmes of study in Singapore must obtain the Ministry of Education’s permission to conduct their activities on a programme-by-programme basis.

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2. The overseas institution concern is fully responsible for every aspect of the programme that it is offering in Singapore. 3. The local organisation provides support including physical facilities, logistics, recruitments and programme management.
4. The Ministry of Education in Singapore does not have a list of

accredited overseas universities and there is no central authority to assess or to grant recognition for foreign degrees. The position taken by the government is that the onus is on the employers to determine if a candidate’s qualification is suitable for employment6, 7.
5. An extensive list of the approved foreign degree programmes

shows that the number of such programmes allowed is very huge8, with a total of 770 programmes having been approved for delivery in Singapore, as shown in Tables 3.1 a - e. This indirectly indicates that there is a relatively simple but efficient process that the Singaporean Government has adopted to handle this matter.

Table 3.1a: Number of Australian Institutions and Programmes approved to be offered in Singapore
No. of Undergraduate Programmes 1 1 4 No. of Postgraduate Programmes Total number of programmes offered by institution 1 1 7 1

Name of Institutions Australian Catholic University Australian Institute of Music Australian Maritime College Australian National University

3 1

- 15 Central Queensland University Charles Sturt University Curtin University of Technology Deakin University Edith Cowan University Entrepreneurship Institute Australia Flinders University of South Australia Griffith University James Cook University KvB Institute of Technology La Trobe University Macquarie University Mitchell College of Advanced Education Monash University Murdoch University Open Learning Institute, TAFE Queensland Queensland University of Technology RMIT Southern Cross University Swinburne University of Technology University of Adelaide University of Ballarat University of Canberra University of Central Queensland University of Melbourne University of New England University of New South Wales University of Newcastle University of Queensland University of South Australia University of Southern Queensland University of Sydney University of Tasmania 8 3 27 15 15 3 1 2 13 1 9 4 15 4 4 1 10 6 3 5 3 3 2 9 1 8 16 2 4 8 9 2 8 2 5 2 2 4 12 6 8 11 5 4 1 4 4 28 3 5 3 8 2 8 5 6 2 12 1 12 7 55 18 20 6 9 4 21 1 14 10 2 27 5 4 5 18 15 5 8 7 8 2 5 6 12 15 9 19 21 6 1

- 16 (Cont. Table 3.1a)
University of Technology Sydney University of the Sunshine Coast University of Western Australia University of Western Sydney University of Wollongong Victoria University Victoria University of Technology Number of Programmes 1 1 1 5 3 2 5 7 8 1 6 217 3 1 6 12 11 1 6

210

Table 3.1b: Number of US Institutions and Programmes approved to be offered in Singapore
No. of Undergraduate Programmes No. of Postgraduate Programmes 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 3 1 2 2 1 2 2 4 1 2 1 1 4 2 1 3 42 Total number of programmes offered by institution 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 4 1 2 3 2 1 2 2 4 4 2 1 1 7 2 1 3

Name of Institutions Aurora University University of Central Michigan University of Louisville University of Massachusetts University of San Francisco University of Wisconsin-Stout Upper Iowa University Utah State University Western Michigan University Wheelock College Wilmington College Oklahoma City University Ottawa University Pennsylvania College of Optometry Revans University Rutgers University Columbus State University Cornerstone University George Washington University Golden Gate University Salem International University San Diego State University South Eastern University Southern Illinois University State University of New York California State University Syracuse University The City University of New York Number of Programmes

1

1 1 1 1

3

3

14

- 17 Table 3.1c: Number of UK Institutions and Programmes approved to be offered in Singapore
No. of Undergraduate Programmes 1 No. of Postgraduate Programmes 2 2 1 1 3 3 3 1 1 3 2 Total number of programmes offered by institution 1 2 2 1 1 3 3 9 1 1 3 5 2 7 9 5 1 22 1 6 1 1 4 2 4 1 1 2 8 7 1 11 7 1 4 12 1 1 3

Name of Institutions Bolton Institute Bournemouth University Brunel University Coventry University Cranfield School of Management De Montfort University Henley Management College Heriot-Watt University Imperial College London Institute of Financial Management Leeds Metropolitan University Liverpool John Moores University Loughborough University Middlesex University Northumbria University Nottingham Trent University Open College Open University Oxford Brookes University Queen Margaret University College Roehampton University Royal Holloway College Sheffield Hallam University South Bank University Thames Valley University University College Chester University of Bath University of Birmingham University of Bradford University of Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate University of Durham University of Huddersfield University of Hull University of Keele University of Leeds University of Leicester University of Lincolnshire & Humberside University of Liverpool University of London

6

3 2 7 3 1 1 21 2 1

6 4 1 1 4 1 4 2 2 1 1 2 5

2

3 7 10

1 1 7 1 4 12 1 1 2

1

- 18 (Cont. Table 3.1.c)
University of Luton University of Manchester University of Manchester Institute of Science & Technology University of Nottingham University of Portsmouth University of Salford University of Sheffield University of Stirling University of Strathclyde University of Sunderland University of Surrey University of Wales University of Westminster University of Wolverhampton University of East London University of Glamorgan Warwick University Wolsey Hall Number of Programmes 2 2 1 2 2 2 1 2 3 6 4 6 8 2 2 1 1 1 132 2 2 3 2 2 1 2 5 6 11 6 15 2 4 2 2 1 3

2 7 7 4 1 2 96

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Table 3.1d: Number of Institutions and Programmes from countries other than Australia, UK & US approved to be offered in Singapore
No. of Undergraduate Programmes 1 1 1 1 1 1 4 3 1 1 No. of Postgraduate Programmes 2 1 1 Total number of programmes offered by institution 3 1 2 2 1 1 9 4 1 1

Name of Institutions Asia International Open University, Macau Beijing Normal University Beijing University, China Capital Normal University, Beijing, China Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, New Zealand East China Normal University, Shanghai, China European University, Switzerland Fudan University, China Helsinki School of Econmics & Business Administration, Finland Jinan University, China KS Graduate Business School (The Federal University of Applied Sciences, Berne, Switzerland) Lincoln University, New Zealand Maastricht School of Management Marketing Development Institute, Switzerland Multimedia University, Malaysia Nanjing University, China National University of Ireland Preston University, Pakistan Royal Roads University, Canada RVB International Institute for Management, Netherlands Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China Soochow University, China Southwest China Normal University Taiwan National Chi Nan University Universitas 21 Global University of La Rochelle, France Victoria University Europe, Switzerland Number of Programmes

5 1

1 1

2 1

3 1 1 1 1 3 9 2 1 2 3 1 1

1 1 4 1 2 5 2 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 22 1 37 2 1

1 1 1 2

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Table 3.1e: Summary Information on the Number of Institutions & Foreign Programmes in Singapore
Number of Institutions 44 57 28 27 156 Undergraduate programmes 210 96 14 22 342 Postgraduate programmes 217 132 42 37 428 Total Number of Programmes 427 228 56 59 770

Country Australia UK US Others Total

The data presented in Tables 3.1 a – e were compiled from information published by the Ministry of Education, Singapore8. There are 156 institutions (the bulk of which, over 82% came from the UK, Australia and USA) that are approved by the Singapore authorities to offer 342 undergraduate and 428 postgraduate programmes in Singapore. It is interesting to note that the Multimedia Just below 56% of the University (Malaysia) has also been approved to deliver its MBA programme in Singapore. programmes approved are at postgraduate level.
6. The Singapore Government is very strict on the offer of post

secondary courses like certificates courses (LCCI, NCC, ACCA, SAT etc)9. These programmes can only be offered by registered private schools which register the said programmes with the Ministry of Education. The teaching staff of these private schools are also well regulated. But the regulation for offering distance education programmes at degree level and beyond is relatively straight forward. There

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is no separate category for ‘Colleges’ in the Singapore system, an establishment can either be a school or a university.
7. Registration for a distance learning programme in Singapore

is a relatively straightforward affair and the decision process by the Ministry of Education is very transparent in nature and timeframe of 2 months or less is the norm to secure approval.

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3.2 The Hong Kong’s approach: Hong Kong’s higher education sector is governed by the Nonlocal Higher and Professional Education (Regulation) Ordinance since June 1997, a self-funding government agency, Hong Kong Council for Academic Accreditation (HKCAA) plays the role of an accreditation and registration agency for Hong Kong10. All foreign programmes must be registered by the HKCAA. There are two main criteria which a non-local higher academic or professional courses must fulfil for registration: • The foreign institution offering a programme in Hong Kong that leads to a higher academic qualification must be a recognised institution in the home country. The programme that is offered in Hong Kong must be of comparable standard to a similar programme offered on-campus. • A programme that leads to a foreign professional

qualification must be recognised by the relevant professional body in the home country. However, the HKCAA does not apply the ordinance universally to all providers in the territory as the local public institutions (e.g. Baptist University or Open University of Hong Kong) collaborating with foreign universities to offer the latter’s programmes may be exempted from registration provided the 2 criteria above can be demonstrated by the parties involved. These programmes will be listed in the ‘list of exempted courses’.

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Registration

of

foreign

programmes

offered

by

private

institutions is mandatory11.

The fees charged by HKCAA is

substantial for the initial registration (over HK$33,000 per programme) and subsequent annual fees (HK$18,200) for those in the ‘list of registered courses’ as compared to those in the ‘list of exempted courses’. higher education The financial burden for the private to be compliant is huge12. industry

Nevertheless, as shown in Tables 3.2 a to e (the data presented were compiled from the published lists in the Hong Kong Government website)13, 14, there are 403 programmes registered as of 31st August 2004 in the ‘list of registered courses’ by private providers13. With a much reduced fees of HK$115 for registration and annual fees of HK$605, the public institutions of higher learning have registered 573 programmes as of 31st August 200411,
14

.

192 institutions are represented in Hong

Kong’s higher education scene, with UK, Australia and the US accounting for close to 78% of all the institutions with approved programmes in Hong Kong. same for undergraduate approved. Like LAN, the registration process in Hong Kong is a lengthy affair which takes 12 to 18 months on average to complete. The two-tier system of exempted and non-exempted programmes even if the same programme is provided by a public and private institutions respectively is causing dissatisfactions among the private players in the market in Hong Kong. There numbers are almost the and postgraduate programmes

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Surprisingly, the HKCAA and the Ordinance do not regulate the operation of what is termed “Pure Distance Learning” programmes where the programmes are conducted “solely through the delivery of mail, transmission of information by means of telecommunications (e.g. TV, radio or computer network), or sale of materials in commercial outlets, etc., but without the institutions, professional bodies or their agents being physically present in Hong Kong to deliver any lectures, tutorials or examinations, etc” are exempted from the need to register. But such operators are encouraged to register their programmes. Hence many programmes that can be delivered via e-learning will, technically, do not require registration in Hong Kong, as long as the examination can be carried out online.

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Table 3.2a: Number of Australian Institutions and Programmes approved to be offered in Hong Kong
Non-Local List Undergraduate Post-graduate programmes programmes 1 1 1 2 1 1 4 6 1 6 2 2 1 1 1 2 8 2 4 1 3 1 13 1 1 7 1 1 1 12 1 Local List Undergraduate Post-graduate programmes programmes Total number of programmes 1 2 2 1 1 6 19 1 26 7 10 2 4 2 13 1 20 2 2 16 2 7 1 3 8 1 7 1 1 2 5 2 6 3 1 9 1 2 11 3 3 2 7 4 2 9 2 15 5 7 1 5 3 17 12 8 21

Name of Institutions Adelaide University Australian Catholic University Australian Grad. School of Management Australian Institute of Export Bond University Central Queensland University Charles Sturt University CPA Australia Curtin University of Technology Deakin University Edith Cowan University Flinders University Griffith University La Trobe University Macquarie University Melbourne Institute of Finance and Management Monash University Murdoch University Queensland University of Technology RMIT Royal Brisbane International College Southern Cross University Swinburne University of Technology The University of Ballarat The University of Melbourne The University of New England The University of New South Wales The University of Newcastle The University of Sydney The University of Western Australia University of Canberra University of South Australia University of Southern Queensland University of Technology Sydney University of Victoria

1 9 1 1

4 9 7

1 8 2 3 1 6

7

4

1

9 2 5

- 26 (Cont. Table 3.2a)
University of Western Sydney University of Wollongong West Coast College of TAFE Western Sydney Institute of TAFE Number of programmes 1 1 4 2 2 1 4 8 8 12 15 4 1 80

1 71 83 52

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Table 3.2b: Number of US Institutions and Programmes approved to be offered in Hong Kong
Non-Local List PostUndergraduate graduate programmes programmes 1 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 18 2 2 1 1 1 7 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 10 2 3 2 2 27 Local List PostUndergraduate graduate programmes programmes Total Number of programmes 1 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 2 18 2 2 1 1 1 7 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 10 2 3 2 2

Name of Institutions American Gem Society Association of Investment Management and Research Baruch College, City University of New York Bellevue Community College Binghamton University California State University, Fullerton California State University, Hayward Clark University DePaul University Educational Institute, The American Hotel and Lodging Association Indiana University Bloomington Institute of Supply Management Murray State University National Association of State Boards of Accountancy Northwestern University Ohio University Ottawa University RHODEC International The George Washington University The University of Alabama The University of Iowa The University of Louisiana at Monroe The University of MichiganDearborn Troy State University University of California, Berkeley University of Dubuque University of Massachusetts Dartmouth University of Northern Iowa University of Oklahoma University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Upper Iowa University Utah State University Walla Walla College Weber State University Western Michigan University Number of programmes

13

14

26

- 28 Table 3.2c: Number of UK Institutions and Programmes approved to be offered in Hong Kong
Non-Local List PostUndergraduate graduate programmes programmes 2 Local List PostUndergraduate graduate programmes programmes Total Number of Programmes 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 3 2 2 4 13 2 2 1 3 1 2 3 3 1 2 23 16 2 8 1 20 2 8 1 3 1

Name of Institutions ACCA Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Birmingham College of Food, Tourism, and Creative Studies Bolton Institute British Computer Society Brunel University Chartered Institute of Building Chartered Management Institute Coventry University De Montfort University Glasgow Caledonian University Henley Management College Heriot-Watt University Institute of Administrative Management Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment International Compliance Association International Register of Certificated Auditors Kingston University Leeds Metropolitan University Liverpool John Moores University Liverpool University London Metropolitan University Manchester Metropolitan University Middlesex University Napier University Nottingham Trent University Oxford Brookes University Queen Mary, University of London Sheffield Hallam University Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners Staffordshire University Thames Valley University The Chartered Institute of Marketing The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply

1 1 2 1 1 1 2 2 2 5 1 1 2

2 1

7 2

2 1 3 1 2 2 1 1 3 1 1 13 9 1 5 1 1 8 7 1

1

2 1 2 2

1 11

6

3 1 2 1

5

1

- 29 (Cont. of Table 3.2c)
The College of Estate Management The Institute of Business Administration and Management The Open University The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors The University of Birmingham The University of Hull The University of Lancaster The University of Manchester The University of Nottingham The University of Reading The University of York Trinity College London University of Bath University of Bradford University of Bristol University of Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate University of Central England University of Central Lanchashire University of Durham University of East Anglia University of Exeter University of Glamorgan University of Greenwich University of Huddersfield University of Leicester University of London University of Manchester University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology University of Newcastle upon Tyne University of North London University of Northumbria University of Portsmouth University of Reading University of Stirling University of Strathclyde University of Sunderland University of Surrey University of Ulster University of Wales University of Warwick University of Wolverhampton Number of Programmes 1 2 1 4 1 1 2 5 1 2 3 1 3 1 1 2 4 1 5 1 4 3 4 2 6 1 1 5 5 1 1 6 7 3 1 3 2 2 4 1 9 5 1 2 2 7 4 33 138 1 2 2 1 12 15 1 1 6 10 6 18 7 15 7

2

1 1

4 4 1 2 2 5 14 2 66 1 16 72

2 4 1

2 2 1 2 3 1 1 3 5 4 9

1 2 3 2 3 1 3 78 2 1 2 81

1 3 2

12 2 152

2 6 3 16 2 1

184

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Table 3.2d: Number of Institutions and Programmes from countries other than Australia, UK & US approved to be offered in Hong Kong
Non-Local List PostUndergraduate graduate programmes programmes 4 1 2 2 Local List PostUndergraduate graduate programmes programmes Total Number of programmes 6 1 2 8 9 3 3 1 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 4 2 1 2 1 2 2 3 2 1 3 2 1 1 2 1 2 4

Name of Institutions Asia International Open University (Macau) Asia Pacific School of Management Beijing Sport University Beijing University Beijing University of Chinese Medicine Beijing University of Languages Benedictine College British Columbia Institute of Technology Capital University of Economics and Business (China) Central Convervatory of Music, PRC Certified General Accountants Association of Canada Charles Darwin University Chartered Management Institute China Institute of Chinese Medicine Research China Institute of Sociology China National Auditor and Training Accreditation Board China Pharmaceutical University China University of Politics and Law Chingdu University of Chinese Medicine Dongbei University of Finance and Economics East China Normal University Institute of Policy and Management, China Academy of Sciences Jiangshi College of Chinese Medicine Jienan University Massey University Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology National University of Ireland NCC Education Ltd NIIT Limited Philippine Woman's University RenMin University, PRC

1 9 2 3 1

7

1

1 2 4 3 1 1 11 1 2

1 2 5 4 1 2 11 4 1 2

1 1

1 4

- 31 (Cont. Table 3.2d)
Royal Roads University Shanghai Economics University Shenzhen University Simon Fraser University The University of Western Ontario TsingHua University University of Alberta University of Calgary University of Waterloo University of Xiamen Victoria University of Wellington Zhong San University Number of Programmes 1 3 1 1 2 4 1 1 4 1 1 39 11 37 28 2 1 1 3 1 1 2 6 1 1 1 4 1 1

Table 3.2e: Number of Institutions & Foreign Programmes ('Non-Local' & 'Local' Lists) in Hong Kong Non-Local List Local List UnderPostUnderPostTotal Number of graduate graduate graduate graduate Number of Country Institutions programmes programmes programmes programmes Programmes Australia 39 71 83 52 80 286 UK 75 78 81 152 184 495 US 35 27 13 14 26 80 Others 43 39 11 37 28 115 Total 192 215 188 255 318 976

Total number of programmes (NonLocal List): Total number of programmes (Local List): Total number of Undergraduate Programmes: Total number of Postgraduate Programmes:

403 573

470 506

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The HKCAA, after conducting a self-review in 2003 has decided to adopt revised criteria for quality assurance that are “more output-focused and open-ended to accommodate all types of provision” so as to promote a more diverse and dynamic education and training market where “the value of quality assurance is upheld and appreciated”15. Like Australia, New Zealand and the UK, Hong Kong is setting up a quality framework to address the inadequacies in the present system of recognition of qualifications and to foster an environment conducive to lifelong learning which will enable the development of flexible and diverse progression pathways with multiple entry and exit points.

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4.

Current approach taken by Malaysia in dealing with distance learning programmes There is not any specifically clear policy being adopted by the authorities (Jabatan Pendidikan Swasta, Kementerian Pendidikan Tinggi and LAN) in dealing with distance learning and distance learning programmes in Malaysia. Perhaps the concept of distance learning and the models of distance learning for most people are confined to the USM model or the correspondence school’s model. There is, at present, no guideline for the regulation, approval and accreditation of overseas academic programmes that are delivered by distance learning mode or supported distance learning mode (which, according to the definition of the QAA, UK are encompassed by the term ‘distance learning’). In fact Royal Professor Ungku A. Aziz stated in 1992 that “Distance education is not always fully understood by many key decision makers in Malaysia………It may be superfluous to make the point that Malaysia already has all the necessary technology for providing a distance education system. All it lacks is the software and the political will to realise it.”16 The impending, and timely implementation of the Malaysian qualifications framework and the quest of the government to promote lifelong learning will require that the present rigid regulation and recognition criteria of the various authorities to be reviewed, as in the case of Hong Kong15 whereby, like Hong Kong, Malaysia should address the problems of the present system of recognition of qualifications and allow diverse entry

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and exit points as well as different pathways to achieve recognised qualifications to foster lifelong learning.

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5.

Conclusion: Malaysia is fully capable of devising a viable strategy based on distance learning models to make her an attractive and competitive education hub. In a recent list of Top 500 Universities in the world, published by the Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China17, none of the Malaysian public universities had made it to the list (National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University were placed at positions 101 & 302 respectively). In another ranking of top 100 universities in the Asia Pacific Region published by the same source 18, again none of the Malaysian public universities were listed. Interestingly, Malaysia spends proportionately high amount of our GDP on public higher education and was ranked 35 in a survey of 129 countries (Singapore ranked 74 and Thailand ranked 69)19. Against this backdrop, we can deduce that the attractiveness of Malaysian higher education to foreign students lies not in the local public or private institutions of higher learning, but with the reputation and awards of the foreign partner institutions that offer their off shore programmes in the country in distance learning or supported distance learning or fully franchised modes of delivery or the availability of articulation routes to these foreign universities for Malaysian programmes. To build up the reputation and hence the world’s perception and ranking of our institutions of higher learning will require a substantial period of time and efforts.

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Hence, to realise our country’s aspiration to be an education hub of the region, we should leverage on the tremendous strengths and expertise of the private higher education industry in the provision of supported distance learning programmes from overseas partner institutions. To foster such a strategy, there must be a flexible and transparent regulatory framework to accommodate such programmes. This is because of the fact that existing rules and regulations governing quality assurance of higher education programmes in the private sector are geared towards full-time education and mainly target school leavers, these are of course highly inadequate and inappropriate in achieving the quality assurance goal for distance delivery of programmes. In 1997, the UK government commissioned The National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education, in the introduction of the appendix of the report on ‘higher education in other countries’, the chairman Sir Ron Dearing mentioned that countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea and Taiwan are “likely to become major competitors [for the UK] over the next twenty years”20. This report recognised the great potential of Malaysia to be the education hub of the region. With the clear understanding of the regulatory authorities of the concept of distance delivery of programmes and the provision of a streamlined regulatory framework that enhance distance delivery of foreign programmes, Malaysian higher education industry shall be in the most favourable position to help to propel the country forward to achieve this aspiration. However,

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the Dearing Report20 also cited other countries in the region which could be competitors to the UK and hence competitors to Malaysia for a slice of this ever growing higher education market. Perhaps we could conclude by recommending that the Government consider the followings in its quest to improve on the quality assurance process for the country, in: • Adopting the QAA (UK)’s definition of distance learning to encompass a wide range of delivery modes by foreign universities in Malaysia and perhaps adopt the Singaporean’s definition of distance learning to include all foreign programmes • Adopting delivered in country.

the

Singapore’s

approach

in

handling

the

recognition of foreign qualifications by emphasising the quality of the awarding institutions overseas, placing the responsibilities (and hence accountabilities) for quality assurance of the foreign programmes fully in the hands of the foreign institutions. • Formulating guidelines taking into account the experience and practices in countries like the UK , Australia and Hong Kong to devise best practices that are more transparent in the regulation of foreign programmes delivered in Malaysia. • Collaborating with accreditation agencies like the QAA (UK), AUQA (Australia), and the Council of Higher Education

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Accreditation (CHEA) of the US in recognising the accreditation accorded by these agencies in streamlining the work of regulating the delivery of foreign programmes in Malaysia. • Utilising the quality assurance mechanisms and audit reports of agencies like the QAA (UK) and AUQA (Australia) which regulate the overseas activities of universities in those countries, perhaps by contributing towards the efforts of these agencies in assuring the quality of programmes from their respective countries that are delivered in Malaysia. Malaysia should bear in mind of its objective of achieving the status of the education hub for the region and the severe competition now faced by the industry from Singapore, Thailand as well as the Philippines to enhance the reputation, quality and competitiveness of the entire higher education sector. The over-regulation and long period needed to get approvals for programmes of the past few years had in fact robbed the higher education industry of Malaysia of our competitiveness and allowed our neighbours, Singapore in particular to overtake us in the recruitment of foreign students to study in the country. In addition, Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi in particular and the Government in general should take into considerations the likely impact of the World Trade Organisation’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) on the industry and on our aspiration as the education hub of the region21. The environment in Malaysia should be refined to

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prepare the higher education sector to further seize the opportunities and counter the threats of globalisation. Perhaps in our quest for ensuring quality delivery of programmes from overseas, we have not realised that the most important factor for ensuring quality is to ensure that the learning experiences of learners in Malaysia should be equivalent or as close as possible to those of their colleagues’ studying on campus overseas, as required by the HKCAA.
Reference List:

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2

QAA Guidelines on the quality assurance of distance learning (http://www.qaa.ac.uk/public/dlg/contents.htm ) Higher quality 10 - Continuous improvement - July 2002 http://www.qaa.ac.uk/public/hq/hq10/hq10_part2.htm

http://www.auqa.edu.au/aboutauqa/policies/002/index.shtml Proceedings of the Australian Universities Quality Forum, Melbourne 2003, “Australian Higher Education and Quality: International Issues, Challenges and Opportunities Ms Lindy Hyam, Chief Executive Officer, IDP Education Australia”, pg 22 -31.
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3

http://www1.moe.edu.sg/privatesch/ http://www.moe.gov.sg/corporate/post_secondary_faq2.htm#q1 7 http://www.careers.gov.sg/entry2.htm 8 http://www1.moe.edu.sg/privatesch/Directory/DLP_1.htm 9 http://www1.moe.edu.sg/privatesch/ 10 The regulation of non-local tertiary courses in Hong Kong, http://www.aare.edu.au/01pap/eva01481.htm 11 http://www.emb.gov.hk/index.aspx?nodeid=1248&langno=1 12 http://www.emb.gov.hk/filemanager/en/content_1262/ScheduleOfFees.pdf 13 http://www.emb.gov.hk/index.aspx?langno=1&nodeID=1438 14 http://www.emb.gov.hk/index.aspx?langno=1&nodeID=1247 15 Paper for the Legislative Council Panel on Manpower (18 March 2004) on the Establishment of a Qualifications Framework and its associated Quality Assurance Mechanism; http://www.emb.gov.hk/FileManager/EN/Content_181/panel%20paper%20(1803004e).pdf 16 http://mgv.mim.edu.my/MMR/9212/921205.Htm 17 http://ed.sjtu.edu.cn/rank/2004/top500list.htm 18 http://ed.sjtu.edu.cn/rank/2004/Top%20100%20Asia%20Pacific%20Universities.htm 19 http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/edu_pub_spe_per_stu_ter_lev 20 http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/ncihe/app5.htm & http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/ncihe/a5_001.htm 21 The impact of the GATS on Transnational Tertiary Education: comparing experiences of New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia; http://www.aare.edu.au/aer/online/30030f.pdf (all the online references were accessed between September - October 2004) Presentation made to Secretary General, Ministry of Higher Education &35 of his senior officers on 10 Nov 2004
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