Keeping Malaysian Higher Education Quality at its Best
By Wan Asmanizan Wan Ahmad Najib
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- Malaysia is increasingly seen as an education hub and the preferred choice for foreign students in seeking tertiary education from certificate up to doctorate level.
Up until January 2017, the Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA) has awarded full or provisional accreditation for 11,464 academic programmes all over the country.
MQA's accreditation ensures students are not shortchanged in getting an education of quality.
Based on data obtained from Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), as at November 2016, there are 496 private colleges and universities all over Malaysia offering a number of academic programmes.
Many of those programmes offered are lawfully pre-approved to be taught here and the institutions are certified prior to running the offered programmes.
Established on Nov 1, 2007, under MQA Act 2007, MQA was once known as National Accreditation Board or best recognised as Lembaga Akreditasi Negara, its acronym LAN in Malay.
It is the only qualification enforcement body for all higher education programmes in Malaysia. MQA keeps in check the quality of the programmes offered by both public and private higher education institutions as well as to produce excellence graduates to meet the needs for a skilled workforce. The change of name from LAN to MQA further enforced its responsibility as the benchmark setter of education in the country. As the agency developed, MQA introduced the Malaysian Qualifications Framework (MQF) as a basis for quality assurance of higher education that acts as the point of reference for adhering to standards of national qualifications. Previously before changing its name to MQA from LAN, the eight-level MQF qualifications was not implemented. The agency implemented MQF as a systematic mechanism that categorised qualifications based on learning outcomes, credit hours and student learning time. Generically, this framework was developed to standardise all Malaysian academic qualifications and to facilitate the recognition of qualifications while help to maintain the Malaysian Qualifications Register (MQR). MQR acts as a registrar for all accredited qualifications and programmes.
MQA & ITS SIGNIFICANCE TO EDUCATION STATUS
For Malaysia, the establishment of MQA signify a stronger growth development in the academic and professional tertiary programmes.
By adhering and implementing quality control measures in academic and professional programmes offered by higher education institutions (HEI) in Malaysia, it establishes the benchmark for Malaysian higher education quality and system. MQA, as the only national higher education quality assurance authority, has been one of the pillars in making Malaysia as the education hub in Asia.
It pledges to stand by its mission and vision to be a credible agency and internationally recognised HEI quality assurance body that will instil stakeholders' confidence through its best practices.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MQA ACCREDITATION
With the so many programmes being offered throughout the year, there have been education providers offering programmes that has no accreditation from MQA.
In some cases, there are also programmes offered prior to getting the compulsory accreditation from the ministry. It is important to make sure the programmes one opts for are accredited because is it the formal assurance that the programme provider has gone through a series of quality check processes. This is to ensure at the end of the programme, students hold certificates, diplomas or degrees that meet the desired quality standards and criteria set by MQA and is in compliance with the MQF. Another important aspect of accreditation the public should be aware of is that job application into government agencies requires an applicant to hold MQA-accredited qualifications. MQA invites interested public such as parents, students, or adult looking to take up further study to get accurate information and consultancy from its officers on duty on every Thursday at its office situated in Menara PKNS-PJ, Jalan Yong Shook Lin, Petaling Jaya or visit its website