|Higher education is very essential for active participation in the knowledge societies which in turn accelerates economic growth. Quality education is a prerequisite to gain access to knowledge which guarantees economic development. This makes the condition of higher education in Pakistan a very critical issue. Recognizing this, the Higher Education Commission is committed to quality assurance and enhancement of higher education institutions. To achieve world class standards, quality assessment and continuous improvement are the necessary ingredients. This includes the accreditation of academic programmes and quality assessment of the university / institution. The university quality assessment is primarily concerned with the institutional issues rather than academic programmes issues.
Quality Assurance is the planned and systematic review process of an institution or Academic program to determine whether acceptable standards of education, scholarship and infrastructure are being met or not, maintained and enhanced. It is an instrument designed to add value to higher education by encouraging high quality. An efficient and effective high quality higher education system which is internationally recognized and a well established national Quality Culture are vital for economic growth in developing countries like Pakistan. A sustainable quality assurance programme enhances employment opportunities, improves the education and training of future employees, future leaders, facilitates an enabling learning environment, and enriches the academic and intellectual landscape. Thus it fuels the engine of economic and social development at the national, regional and international levels.
A quality higher education system is essential to the successful development and functioning of an open and democratic civil society. Higher education is expected to provide the social norms of communication and interaction such as philosophical thinking and reasoning to promote the sovereignty of its individuals, and to eliminate all kinds of social-class ethnic conflicts and gender or religious biases. A quality providing institution of higher education is a model for creating a modern civil society. This ideal state of academic quality is not commonly realized but it is, nevertheless, a yardstick by which to measure the effectiveness of higher education systems operating in the country.
The development of Quality Assurance is a continuous process and therefore, continuity of Strategies, actions and efforts is a prerequisite for quality in higher education. Quality Assurance including its processes, procedures and outcomes of assessment is a challenge and its management is even a greater challenge to practitioners seeking workable guidelines, evidences of good practices and tools that will facilitate the process.