On July 25, 2019, NIAD-QE University Quality Assurance Forum 2019 - Quality Assurance of Higher Education in Times of Change was held at the Hitotsubashi Hall of the National Center of Sciences Building with the support of Japan University Accreditation Association (JUAA), Japan Institution for Higher Education Evaluation (JIHEE), Japan Association for College Accreditation (JACA) and Japan Network of Certified Evaluation and Accreditation Agencies (JNCEAA), Asia-Pacific Quality Network (APQN), and Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Over 250 participants, consisting mainly of those in the field of higher education, were on hand to listen intently to the forum discussion.

Looking ahead to Japan’s next cycle of institutional certified evaluation and accreditation, the forum aimed to provide an opportunity to conceive an ideal state of the country’s quality assurance in higher education. The event stated with an in-depth look into the substantially-changing circumstances over higher education and its quality assurance practices in the U.S. and the Asia-Pacific, as well as related situations and challenges in Japan.

Following the opening address by FUKUDA Hideki, President of NIAD-QE, and the introduction presentation by YAMAMOTO Shinichi, Dean of the Research Department, two internationally-recognized speakers gave keynote speeches.

Dr. Jagannath Patil, Advisor of National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), Immediate Past President of APQN and Past President of INQAAHE, pointed that due to increase of international mobility, the emergence of MOOCs and micro-credentials, and the growing presence of university rankings, world’s higher education is gaining complexity. Hence, the role of the quality assurance organizations and their network has become important than ever before. Referring to the philosophy of Bengaluru statement 2016, he explained the virtue of information sharing, which creates greater trust and collaboration among quality assurance organizations. Furthermore, he introduced the Asia-Pacific Quality Register (APQR) as a practical measure against the threat of accreditation mills.

Keynote speech by Dr. Jagannath Patil

Dr. Judith Eaton, President of Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), spotlighted on various global changes emerging in higher education, e.g. diversity of student backgrounds, social requests for verification of higher education outcomes, threats to academic freedom and free speech, diversification of higher education institutions and quality assurance of digitized education, multilateral student exchanges, and university rankings. Thereupon, she emphasized that these changes must be well recognized when we conceive ideal quality assurance and evaluation responsible to trust and demands from general society. Also, she introduced recent trends in the U.S. that the pressure on reforming the accreditation system and the federal government’s involvement in higher education are increasing. Dr. Eaton explained that the fundamental idea of these are all for the benefit of students while the higher education community is seeking to respond towards the changes.

keynote speech by Dr. Judith Eaton

Thereafter, TUTIYA Syun, Special Appointed Professor of the Research Department at NIAD-QE, moderated a panel discussion. Firstly, three Japanese panelists gave presentations on current situations and challenges in Japan from the viewpoint of a policymaker, a leader of a quality assurance organization, and a researcher.

Ms. ISHIBASHI Aki, Director of Office for International Cooperation on Cultural Heritages, Cultural Resources Utilization Division, Agency for Cultural Affairs, who was involved in quality assurance policy-making within the Japanese government, made a presentation “Quality Assurance in Higher Education of Japan”. Dr. OKUNO Taketoshi, President of Japan Association for Quality of University Education, gave a lecture titled “Evaluations for Public Universities in Japan -To face autonomous bodies and local communities-”. Dr. HAMANAKA Junko, professor of School of Education, Waseda University, delivered a presentation “An Expectation for Certified Evaluation and Accreditation”.

In the latter half of panel discussion, referring to questions from the audience, the panelists and two keynote speakers actively exchanged their views to conceive ideal state of Japan’s quality assurance of higher education.

With closing remarks by HASEGAWA Toshikazu, Vice-President of NIAD-QE, the forum was successfully concluded.

Professor Tutiya moderates the panel discussion

Panel discussion

On the following day, NIAD-QE held an open seminar. After a presentation by Professor Tutiya overviewing the quality assurance practice in Japan, the two keynote speakers from the forum gave ensued topics on quality assurance systems in India and the U.S to deepen participants’ understanding.

Presentation materials from the University Quality Assurance Forum can be downloaded from our website.


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