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The Quality Assurance Council releases Audit Report on The Hong Kong Institute of Education

The Quality Assurance Council (QAC) released the Audit Report of The Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd) today (September 30).

The Audit Report presents the findings on the quality of the student learning experience at HKIEd. The findings confirm that HKIEd has a strong commitment to implementing an effective quality assurance system and to maintaining a focus on excellence in teaching and learning while the Institute builds its research profile.

The Chairman of the QAC, Mr Philip Chen said, "The QAC notes that the Institute is undergoing extensive changes and has introduced a number of measures to increase its capacity to develop new discipline areas and to build the research focus. I am confident that if the Institute continues to actively pursue the path it has set for improvement of its quality assurance system, and takes into account the advice in the report, the Institute will make great strides in the coming years."

The QAC noted the positive features identified in the Audit Report, including HKIEd's strength and effectiveness of its relationships with its partners (including the school sector), its Council's effective leadership in moving towards the goal of achieving university status with an Education-plus academic profile, the effectiveness of the Institute's Centre for Language in Education, the Institute's advising services for students, its commitment to facilitating student mobility and supporting students' Mainland/international experience, and the Institute's commitment to professional development for staff and the quality of staff induction.

In the light of the findings of the Audit Report, HKIEd has given an Institutional Response which is attached to the Report. The Institute will submit a progress report within 18 months on its follow-up actions.

"The completion of the HKIEd Quality Audit also marks the completion of the first round of QAC audits. I would like to thank the eight UGC-funded institutions for their support throughout the first audit cycle without which the audit process would not have been a success. The QAC will, in consultation with the institutions, review the current quality audit process and the Audit Manual with a view to working out the way forward for the next audit cycle," said Mr Chen.

Background of the Quality Audit on HKIEd

The quality audit on HKIEd was undertaken by an Audit Panel appointed by the QAC. The Audit Panel was chaired by Professor Sandra Vianne McLean and comprised Dr Leo Goedegebuure, Professor Dr Rainer Kuenzel, Professor Paul Lam, Professor William Lee and Mr Yau Chung Wan. The Panel reviewed the Institutional Submission which was prepared by HKIEd following a period of self-review. The Panel visited HKIEd from March 21 to 24, 2011 to meet with the staff and students from across the Institute. It also met with a number of external stakeholders such as local employers and graduates of HKIEd. The full report (including HKIEd's Institutional Response) can be found at http://www.ugc.edu.hk/eng/qac/index.html.

The QAC Audit is a "fitness-for-purpose" audit of the quality of HKIEd's educational provision at the time of audit. The audit findings aim at facilitating the Institute to improve its quality assurance structure and process. The Institute is thus encouraged to make constructive use of the findings for its continuous improvement.

Background of the QAC and its quality audits

The QAC was established in April 2007 as a semi-autonomous non-statutory body under the aegis of the University Grants Committee (UGC). The QAC aims to assist the UGC in assuring the quality of programmes (however funded) at first-degree level and above offered by UGC-funded institutions. The QAC fulfils this task primarily by undertaking periodic quality audits of the institutions.

The purpose of QAC's quality audit is to encourage quality improvement through institutional self-review, and improvement on areas identified in the Audit Report. The QAC expects the institution to implement the audit recommendations unless there are good reasons not to do so. As such, the Audit Reports are written primarily for providing feedback and guidance to the concerned institutions. The feedback is presented as: Commendations of good practices; Affirmations which recognise improvements the institution is already making; and Recommendations for improvement (CARs). QAC defines quality in terms of "Fitness for Purpose", and its quality audits do not attempt to rank institutions by the number of CARs given. The CARs are to be read with the substance of Audit Reports, which will provide useful information on an institution's endeavours in enhancing quality of its educational provision.