News

7 principles to guide international quality in higher ed

By Ron Bethke, eCampus News Assistant Editor, @eCN_RonB
July 16th, 2015

As relations between institutions from different countries becomes easier in the digital age, CHEA has released 7 principles meant to guide educational quality internationally.

principles-international-qualityThe Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)’s International Quality Group has released a set of International Quality Principles to help strengthen growing international activity within higher education.

Recent years have seen a large rise in student mobility, faculty exchanges, research collaboration, and partnerships among institutions from different countries. This is largely thanks to using online or Web-based education and various supporting technologies to act as a bridge across borders.

“There is no question that the internet and technology have greatly increased the capacity to be a higher ed provider and reach many, many more students,” said Judith Eaton, President of the CHEA.

Closer relations between institutions of different cultures, however, have created a need for a better shared understanding of educational quality, which is precisely what inspired CHEA to create a set of international quality principles.

Although a single standardized regimen for educational quality would be difficult or even undesirable to establish worldwide, CHEA’s international quality principles aim to act as guidelines towards further understanding the dimensions of quality “while acknowledging and respecting the many differences of history, culture, beliefs and values that shape our systems of higher education and our perspectives on quality.”

“These principles are not coming from a negative or some big problem out there,” said Eaton. “We just want to underline the importance of the international quality conversation, and looked at what we can do to further frame this. We respect the diversity of cultures and their different approaches to quality, but it’s important to share ideas, communicate efficiency, and find common ground.”

Chiefly, the seven principles are intended to serve as a framework for international deliberation by establishing a common foundation for understanding quality in higher education. The principles should be used to guide discussions of quality, quality assurance and necessary qualifications at the country, regional or international level.

“We worked hard on finding language that was…adequately descriptive without putting anyone on the spot with regards to learning,” said Eaton.

 (Next page: a breakdown of CHEA’s international quality principles)


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