Sri Lankan Quality Assurance System
During the last ten years the Quality Assurance Council (QAC) under the aegis of the UGC has set up a robust and comprehensive Quality Assurance System within the state sector. The main components of this system are;
- Sri Lanka Qualification Framework.
- Subject Benchmarking.
- Codes of Practice.
- External Quality Assurance.
- Internal Quality Assurance.
- Sri Lanka Qualification Framework (SLQF): SLQF provides a structure within which all HEIs can position their awards at an appropriate level. The SLQF combines descriptors of qualifications/awards at each level with credit measures that indicate the levels and volume of learning that a student is expected to achieve for each type of qualification.
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- Subject Benchmarking (SB): SB is a policy device aimed at improving the capacity of subject communities to regulate their academic standards. It achieves this by creating subject based information that can be used by teaching teams as a prompt for self-critical reflection and further development. Subject Benchmark Statements (SBSs) provide a set of reference points to show how the key features of a programme, its intended learning outcomes and the standards that derive from these intended outcomes, relate to what is deemed appropriate by the subject community.
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- Codes of Practice: Codes of practice are documents which lay down the standards that need to be met when conducting any academic procedure. They are meant to provide a reference point for Universities/HEIs on the main aspects of setting academic standards and safeguarding the quality of education. They are reflective of the key elements of good practice which support the student learning experience.
Codes of practice developed by QAC:
- Code of Practice on Assessment of Students;
- Code of Practice on Career Guidance;
- Code of Practice on External Assessors;
- Code of Practice on Postgraduate Research Programmes;
- Code of Practice on Programme Approval, Monitoring and Review;
- Code of Practice on Student Support and Guidance;
- Code of Practice on Staff Development;
- Code of Practice on Student Feedback
- Code of Practice on Peer Observation
- Code of Practice on External Degrees
- Code of Academic Accountability for Academic Staff in Sri Lankan University System
- External Quality Assurance: With both global and local expansion in higher education with greater intra and international competition, it has become essential to assure quality through a reliable national mechanism. External quality assurance by peer review has now gained worldwide acceptance as an effective method to ensure quality and standards of education.
The unit of assessment for external review could be the University as a whole or individual Subjects/Programmes within the University.
- Internal Quality Assurance: While periodic external review by a peer group provides an impetus for reflective behaviour and self-appraisal which are essential pre-requisites in the quest for excellence, the responsibility for quality and standards lies effectively where the power to control or change practices exist, and that is with the University itself, and not with an external agency. Quality Assurance is a continuous process, not a one-time event or an event at specific intervals. The process has to be a part of the University’s continuous concern for maintaining and enhancing quality.