EDUCATIONAL QUALITY ASSURANCE AND ACCREDITATION COUNCIL (EQAAC)
The Educational Quality Assurance and Accreditation Council (EQAAC) is a functionally autonomous agency of the UGC Nepal provisioned by the Educational Quality Assurance and Accreditation Regulations (EQAAR), 2074 of the Government of Nepal. The Council formulates necessary policies and strategies to implement the Quality Assurance and Accreditation System in the country. Preparation of necessary criteria and indicators, setting benchmarks for the quality of higher education, and defining the process of assessment as well as the implementation of the National Quality Framework (NQF) to ensure that all the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are operating as guided by the framework are the primary functions of the Council. The Chairman of the UGC also serves as the Chairperson of the Council. The Council comprises 11 members – eight being the ex-officio while other three prominent educationists/professors are the experts nominated by the UGC Board. The Member-Secretary of the UGC, three prominent educationists/professors, four Chairpersons of the related professional councils, and the Joint-Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (higher education) are the ex-officio members of the Council. The Director of QAA Division (QAAD), UGC plays the role of Member-Secretary of the Council. The tenure of the nominated members is of four years.
UGC has endorsed the Higher Education Quality Assurance and Accreditation Directives (HEQAAD) in 2018 for smooth and fair implementation of QAA System in Nepal. The Directives has not only determined the organizational structure of the QAA System but also spelled-out the roles and responsibilities of each mechanism, unit, and individual involved in the process. The Council is working for the assessment for Institutional Quality Assurance and Accreditation of HEIs including Universities and Academic Programs. The available policy and legal provisions made under statutory documents - UGC Act - 1993, EQAA Regulations - 2018, and HEQAAD - 2018, are primarily guiding the QAA System in Nepal. Further to these, EQAAC strategic plan 2021-2030 is the precise long-term plan of the Council.
The Council is assessing five types of HEIs – Central Departments of the University; Schools/Central Campuses of the Universities; Constituent Campuses; and the Affiliated Community and Private Campuses/Colleges. Universities and equivalent institutions such as Health Academies are also the part of assessment for accreditation. The assessment of the Universities and equivalent bodies for the institutional accreditation has recently been initiated (since 2022) be practiced in Nepal.
The members of Educational Quality Assurance and Accreditation Council (EQAAC) are as mentioned below:
Functions, Duties, and Responsibilities of the EQAAC
According to the EQAAR 2018, the major functions, duties, and responsibilities of the EQAAC are as mentioned below:
- Determine the criteria, benchmark, and indicators for QAA of higher education,
- Define the process and stages of assessment for QAA,
- Assure the system, process, and methods of QAA of higher education and act accordingly,
- Ensure the operation of the HEIs under the provisions made by National Quality Framework,
- Recommend the eligible HEIs and their Academic Programs to UGC for accreditation based on the assessment under pre-defined set of criteria, benchmarks, and indicators,
- Integrate the development of higher education with QAA system,
- Coordinate among the Universities, Professional Councils, and higher education institutions for quality assurance, quality assessment and accreditation as well as quality enhancement, and continuous quality improvement for credibility of higher education and
- Establish and develop networking with the international agencies related to QAA
Through the implementation of Quality Assurance and Accreditation (QAA) System, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) of Nepal will comply with defined quality standards, be able to address the national need of qualified human resources, and approach towards meeting international standard in higher education.
Assure the operation of Nepali HEIs capable of producing competitive knowledge and human resources to respond to changing national and global demands.
Promote and nurture an enabling environment for producing knowledge and human resources through a dynamic QAA system that is compatible to international practices of accreditation, and applicable to different types of HEIs and academic programs in the country.
Goal 1: To enable higher education institutions of Nepal to offer quality programmes defined in exhibiting knowledge, skills and abilities.
Goal 2: To develop core competencies of Nepali HEIs in demand-driven niche areas, and prepare for continuous changes in capabilities, faculties, engagement, and outputs.
- Design a framework-guideline to implement systematic and authentic system for quality assurance and accreditation (G-1).
- Develop and implement quality assurance and accreditation criteria benchmarks and indicators to be applicable in reference to the nature of governance, and program offered by HEIs (G-1).
- Internalize the global QAA practices and insure the quality of Nepali higher education expected by concerned stakeholders (G-1).
- Sensitize HEIs to QAA system to improve their academic environment integrating innovative teaching-learning process (G-1).
- Expand and strengthen international network and cooperation with QAA Agencies (G-1).
- HEIs sustain the quality standard defined by QAA system (G-1).
- Make HEIs ethically responsible for quality services and encourage them to be morally and professionally bound by their code of conducts (G-2).
- Facilitate Nepali HEIs identify their specific expertise/capability and encourage them to exhibit scale-specific leadership and engagement (local/provincial/national/ international) (G-2).
- Facilitate universities and HEIs to strengthen IQAC, Quality Audits and EMIS through innovations and improvement in existing system (G-2).
- Enhance the quality of faculties and their outputs (e.g., research and publications, consultancy, graduates, and outreach) through mobility of students and faculties, both nationally and internationally (G-2).