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Quality assurance in Thai private universities : the possible roles of human resource development practices


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Thongpan, S 2005 , 'Quality assurance in Thai private universities : the possible roles of human resource development practices', EdD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Quality Assurance (QA) in higher education is a central issue affecting universities throughout the world. Currently, universities world-wide can be seen as focusing attention on the implementation of QA systems in order to ensure that they enhance academic quality and standards. Thai private universities (TPUs) as part of this trend have been required by government regulations to adopt QA programmes to improve their teaching, research and community services, so that they can produce graduates who satisfy the needs of stakeholders. In the implementation of QA programmes, it is crucial for TPUs to have highly competent and motivated staff to provide high quality performance. Accordingly, university staff need to develop the appropriate skills, knowledge and abilities to ensure the highest possible quality and standards in all activities. Thus, TPUs need comprehensive and appropriate human resource development (HRD) practices to facilitate organisational development and individual career development to ensure the effectiveness of individuals, groups and organisations.
This research is a pioneering study in the field of QA in TPUs, as it is the first to investigate the implementation of QA programmes with a focus on HRD practices in support of QA. The study was conducted to generate new knowledge and theory in the field of QA and to examine the importance of the HRD practices implemented for promoting QA systems. To provide a theoretical framework for the research, an understanding of the extant research in the field of QA and the relevant HRD was sought by reviewing previous studies which have been published in English. This literature has highlighted some common themes, as well as substantial differences between Thai and Western approaches, to provide an understanding of 'how' QA programmes are implemented in TPUs and 'what' HRD practices may be used to promote QA systems in the Thai cultural context. Therefore, the study provides in-depth information about the relationship between QA implementation and the relevant HRD practices, based on previous studies as indicated in the literature.
Three TPUs were selected for detailed examination in the study. Data gathering comprised a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches and two main research instruments were formulated for data collection. Firstly, a mailed questionnaire survey was administered to provide data from academic administrators who were involved in QA implementation. A response rate of 58.8 per cent (n = 158) was achieved. Secondly, a semi-structured in-depth interview was conducted and a total of 20 administrative staff from the three selected TPUs were interviewed. In the light of the respondents' responsibilities the researcher assumed that they had been involved in the policies and the processes of QA implementation and HRD practices in their institution and thus this gave significant credibility to their responses.
The data indicated a fairly direct relationship between the external factors and policy frameworks, and the institutional responses; it also indicated that these factors and frameworks influenced QA implementation and HRD practices in TPUs. TPUs have responded to the need for change in higher education which involves the development of QA in the following ways: QA policy development and implementation, introduction of QA performance mechanisms, improving governance and management, staff empowerment and leadership. The implementation of QA systems in TPUs requires the integration of HRD practices with institutional strategic policy and administrators' responsibilities to promote successful change and achieve quality performance. To promote the effectiveness of QA initiatives attention needs to be given to systematic staff development planning, involving broad institutional support, academic administrators' commitment, and staff empowerment. The 'best practices' for HRD should focus on developing administrative skills for administrators, professional career development for academic staff and the provision of sufficient resources to support these activities. To ensure long-term improvement of QA practices in higher education, HRD strategies such as institution-based staff development, systematic performance evaluation, a knowledge-sharing approach, and a collegial collaborative approach should be developed. Importantly, these approaches must be articulated and married with institutional activities and routines of individuals and groups within TPUs.
The findings of this study will be of use to educational administrators and academic staff in promoting substantial QA improvement. Furthermore, this study explored the content of QA implementation and HRD practices and allows comparisons to be made between the theory and practice in these areas providing some useful guidelines for other Thai higher education institutions. Finally, the study provides confirmation that for QA and relevant HRD to be implemented successfully in TPUs, it is essential that they 'fit with' Thai cultural norms and values.

Item Type: Thesis - EdD
Authors/Creators:Thongpan, S
Keywords: Universities and colleges, Quality assurance, Education, Higher
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2005 the author

Additional Information:

Thesis (EdD)--University of Tasmania, 2005. Includes bibliographical references

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