1.1 Introduction – Quality Assurance: The International Context
Quality assurance of university academic programs has been adopted around the world and is widely recognized as a vital component of every viable educational system. Considerable international experimentation in the development of quality assurance processes, along with increasing pressure for greater public accountability, has raised the bar for articulating Degree Level Expectations and learning outcomes in postsecondary education.
In developing the new Quality Assurance Framework for postsecondary education, Ontario universities have shown significant leadership and a firm commitment to cultivating a culture of quality in education. This new quality assurance process is more streamlined, more effective, more transparent, and more publicly accountable. By bringing Ontario’s universities into line with international quality assurance standards, the Framework will also facilitate greater international acceptance of our degrees and improve our graduates’ access to university programs and employment worldwide. With the implementation of the Framework, Ontario universities place themselves in the mainstream of quality assurance both nationally and internationally.
Care has been taken in developing the new Quality Assurance Framework for Ontario universities to balance the need for accountability with the need to encourage normal curricular evolution. In particular, if quality assurance measures become too onerous or restrictive, they can become impediments rather than facilitators of continuous program improvements. Ontario universities have kept this issue in mind in order to produce a Quality Assurance Framework that supports innovation and improvement while cultivating a culture of transparency and accountability – i.e., quality assurance that produces quality enhancement.