The Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), the UAE’s largest applied higher education institution, has become one of the first six higher education institutions in the world to receive accreditation from the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), UK’s independent body and a global leader in quality assurance for higher education.
The global accreditation, launched in November last year, is awarded to institutions that have passed the QAA’s rigorous International Quality Review (IQR), an independent peer review measuring global institutions against the 10 standards of the internationally respected European Standards and Guidelines (ESG) criteria.
Dr. Abdullatif Al Shamsi, HCT President & CEO, said the rigorous 3-stage, 17-month process has enhanced HCT’s standing as it strives for excellence in its core activities. “We have demonstrated that our quality assurance systems meet internationally recognized standards, particularly those of the European Standards & Guidelines (2015),” he said.
“Being accredited and benchmarked against such high quality international quality assurance standards strengthens HCT’s local reputation and global positioning, and will facilitate further international collaborations,” Dr. Al Shamsi added.
Dr Al Shamsi said it was heartening that the QAA review team identified the following features of good practice at HCT:
- The comprehensive student support available throughout the student journey that aligns strongly with the HCT ethos (ESG Standard 1.6)
- The effectiveness of HCT’s engagement of employers, and other industry partners, in the creation and development of its academic programs (ESG Standard 1.9, ESG Standard 1.2)
- The extent to which HCT’s academic programs are externally accredited by international bodies is commendable and brings another significant layer of external quality review to bear (ESG Standard 1.10).
By securing global accreditation with QAA, institutions, such as the HCT, can clearly spotlight their quality standards internationally, and more readily open dialog with institutions outside their local market.
Douglas Blackstock, QAA Chief Executive, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for the Higher Colleges of Technology, demonstrating that they operate at the highest level of quality assurance.”
“Successful institutions rely on collaboration and benchmarking, and that’s exactly what IQR provides: allowing international institutions to measure their own quality assurance against European quality standards. It also allows international institutions to demonstrate and improve their effectiveness, improve public perception and promote themselves in partnerships with UK and European institutions,” he added.