Extending Engagement was the theme of the Sixth Annual Groningen Declaration Network Meeting in Melbourne in late April which attracted more than 130 delegates from 21 countries. The Meeting, which was hosted by HES in conjunction with The University of Melbourne, was officially opened by Senator Scott Ryan, the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cabinet.
The creation of central student data administration systems is central to the Groningen Declaration with My eQuals the Australian and New Zealand response to this initiative.
During the meeting, HES became an official signatory to the declaration given its role in managing My eQuals.
In the opening plenary presentation, Mr Anthony McClaran, CEO of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) said that services such as My eQuals are ensuring the higher education actively meets ever changing expectations and the needs of students and employers.
He said that TEQSA had been supportive of My eQuals since its inception, noting his membership of the My eQuals Steering Group.
While the possibility of a truly global alignment of qualifications and quality assurance frameworks still remains a goal on the horizon, he said, it is one which step-by-step is becoming closer.
None of this is principally for the benefit of QA agencies themselves – the purpose is to support providers wishing to offer courses and programs in other countries, to support students who wish to travel to study or to build portfolios of learning from several, perhaps many, providers in many different locations.
“The quality comes from the providers and students themselves; agencies like TEQSA exist to underpin the frameworks within which that quality can be recognized, exported, trusted and used to build individual learning programs and careers,” he told delegates.
Mr McClaran noted that the challenges faced in advancing the vision of the Groningen Declaration are many.
“TEQSA is active in the battle against breaches in academic integrity through cheating, impersonation and fraud and My eQuals, as well as being a vehicle for student mobility, will be a powerful defence against the rising problem of qualification fraud and forgery.
“The attempts to build internationally robust frameworks for quality assurance will continually come up against national priorities and even barriers, particularly at a time when international tensions are leading to new demands for protectionism.”
Mr McClaran said that the very freedoms offered by online higher education delivery can threaten to break through much of the traditional structure of higher education and that TEQSA’s focus will continue to be on assuring students who choose to study online receive the same quality of education as they would within campus walls.
Click here to read the full text of Mr McClaran’s presentation along with other presentations from the Meeting.