The process of re-accreditation of GSU epidemic condition
Interview with Tehmina Marutyan , Vice-Rector of the University, PhD, Associate Professor
-Mrs. Marutyan, please present the stage of Goris State University in 2019. The process of institutional re-accreditation started in October.
According to the agreement signed between Goris State University and the National Center for Quality Assurance in Vocational Education, the expert group was scheduled to visit the University in May within the framework of re-accreditation in May, and the process was to end in October, but on April 14 According to the letter received, due to the epidemic in the Republic of Armenia, due to the state of emergency, the process of institutional re-accreditation of both a number of educational institutions and Goris State University was postponed. At the same time ANQA, as a partner-external evaluator, continues to carry out some processes online to this day, during meetings, consultations, discussing issues that have arisen in the new situation, analyzing existing experience. The University in turn, seeks to implement urgent steps and changes at the strategic level to make potential risks manageable in the new situation. The external evaluation process will greatly enhance how the university’s quality management systems have responded to the challenges. ANQA has also expanded the requirements of the electronic institutional data questionnaire. A new platform has been added, which has posted videos of online courses , exams , dissertations and master’s theses defense in the required specialties , and the presence of ANQA specialists in the online final attestation process has been ensured upon request . The center has developed a guideline for organizing online education in universities in accordance with quality assurance standards which has also contributed to who smooth running of the work .Let me mention that on 12.05.2020 ANQA presented the preliminary staff of the expert group to GSU. GSU did not object to any member of the expert group giving its formal consent to proceed to the next stages of the process.
–What was the goal of ANQA this year? Online monitoring conducted at Goris State University on April 30. Please provide some details.
ANQA had planned the monitoring earlier but due to the circumstances, it took place this year. On April 30, at a remote gauge, with a pre-submitted schedule and groups of stakeholders. In general, in the current situation with the COVID 19 epidemic, cooperation with universities and consideration of possible issues have become more urgent and necessary. The purpose of the monitoring was to get acquainted with the quality assurance processes in the University, to be informed about the implementation of the improvement plan, the results of which were summarized in the report on the self-analysis of the institutional capacity of the University. Presented to ANQA in February. During the monitoring, online meetings were held on the ZOOM electronic platform with the Rector, Vice-Rector, Head of the Department, Heads of Departments, Head of the Quality Assurance Department, Heads of Self-Analysis Criteria, lectures and students. ANQA specialists led by Director Ruben Topchyan got acquainted with the achieved, the existing problems and challenges, providing the necessary advice to prepare for the expert visit. It should be noted that ANQA highly assessed the stakeholders’ awareness, motivation, psychological state and professional readiness for self-organization in the new situation, the level of awareness of the quality assurance processes of education join team work.
–How will the possible extension of online training affect the re-accreditation process? What steps are being taken in this period, what does ANQA offer to the universities that are in the process of accreditation?
The National Center for Quality Assurance in Vocational Education first suggested that universities use the period before the start of the new academic year to analyze the results, re-evaluate, re-plan educational programs, and fully prepare for all possible developments. Leading so to speak, transitional analysis is encouraged to find out to what extent the university has been able to meet internal challenges. The question of how to organize institutional accreditation in an epidemic is currently in ANQA’s field of vision. On May 26, an online discussion was organized with the same agenda with the quality assurance officers of the RA and HEIs in the process of accreditation or re-accreditation. During the meeting, three possible options were discussed: postponing the accreditation process until the end of the epidemic, implementing the process of entirely online, combining online meetings with visiting a university. Like the representatives of other universities, we also expressed our opinions on the proposed odometers, considering the mixed version more expedient. Now we are waiting for the decisions. Regardless of when institutional re-accreditation will be organized at the University, the process will determine how effectively the institution has acted in the event of an emergency, how the institution’s quality assurance system has operated in the current situation, and how prepared we are for risk management. And all this can be achieved only as a result of joint quality work, responsibility, mastering the best practices, improving the internal mechanisms of quality assurance in line with new challenges.