NCHE encourages development of international level Quality Management Systems in Higher Education Institutions
In a continued bid to improve quality within the Higher Education sector, the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), organized a five-day Capacity building workshop on development of quality management systems based on International Organization for Standardization 9001:2015 (ISO 9001:2015.)
The training was organized with funding from the UNESCO-SHENZEN Project.
The Workshop facilitated by the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS), introduced and familiarized Quality Assurance Professionals from Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), NCHE and the Ministry of Education with ISO 9001:2015, which is a set of criteria of requirements for meeting international standards of quality.
Speaking at the workshop, NCHE’s Quality Assurance Manager (Academic), Dr. Adamson Thengolose said the training was crucial in that it would enable improvements in quality assurance within Malawian Universities both public and private.
“The members have been taken through development of Quality Assurance Systems and the requirements for that development. The idea is to look at how we can enhance quality assurance systems in Higher Education,” he explained.
In an interview, the Chief Education Officer for Higher Education at the Ministry of Education Mrs. Ellin Rambiki, commended NCHE for taking the initiative towards the development of Quality Management Systems particularly ISO based. She also highlighted the importance of the training to the Ministry:
“When I look at this training, I look at the Ministry’s aspirations in the National Education Sector Improvement Plan for 2020-2030, where within the thematic areas, the focus is looking at issues of quality, how the Ministry can improve quality, relevance, governance as well as management. So, when I look at quality management systems, it fits well within the aspirations of the Ministry.”
Participants from HEIs were thrilled about the training stressing that this would result in their reworking and upgrading quality processes in their institutions.
Mr. Flemmings Nkhandwe, Quality Assurance Director at the University of Livingstonia, said now after being trained, it would be easier to raise their services to international standards.
“We have the quality policy, we have the resources and we have the leadership but this training is bringing in more insight on how to coordinate all these things in terms of quality. It would be difficult for us to understand such processes and to reach international standards without this training,” he said.
Professor Kayambazinthu, Acting Quality Assurance Director for Chancellor College shared the same sentiments adding that she felt that this was a timely training as most institutions have been operating without a comprehensive Quality Management System.
“We know a number of things including tools for quality assurance but putting them together the way ISO 9001 has done is very helpful. It has given us steps on how we can deal with the issue of developing a Quality Management System when we go back to the institutions. It is a very important training,” Kayambazinthu added.
This training serves as the beginning for not only the development and implementation of Quality Management Systems, but it will also allow HEIs to apply for ISO certification.