In Malaysia, the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) was established since 2007 via the MQA Act 2007. One of the roles of the MQA is to accredit academic programmes offered by both public and private Malaysian Higher Education Institutions (HEI) based on quality assurance standards such as the Malaysian Qualification Framework (MQF), the Code of Practice for Programme Accreditation (COPPA), Programme Standard, etc. This ensures that students from the HEIs receive the highest level of quality for their higher education. However, it is not easy to get things right the first time, as inevitably there may be certain flaws or gaps in the quality of higher education offered by the institution to begin with that could negatively affect their accreditation by the MQA and thus disrupt academic operations.
As a mechanism to maintain the quality of higher education, it is a norm for universities in Malaysia to establish internal quality assurance divisions or departments to ensure that the operations are in line with the quality assurance standards established by the MQA. With these internal quality assurance divisions or departments, importance must be placed on the need for a wide-reaching QA network in which these divisions or departments can come together and discuss matters related to quality assurance within these educational institutions, and at the same time fostering a community of like-minded individuals of the same profession and passion.
In 2015, the Society for Malaysian Higher Institutions Quality Assurance Network (MyQAN) was established, with the office bearers consisting of a president, a deputy president, a treasurer, a secretary and eleven committee members, and was successfully registered under Registrar of Society (ROS) in 2017. We are currently a legitimate organisation that takes into consideration the issues on quality assurance for programme accreditation and institutional matters. The reference guides used are those being issued by MQA, Department of Higher Education and Professional Bodies under the MQA Act, Act 555 and Boards of related professional bodies. To realise the aforementioned goals, MyQAN has outlined several key “focuses” that the organisation has aspired to achieve.
Firstly, we aim to become the leading platform for discussing quality matters and sharing good practices among HEIs. This is achieved through series of QA activities organized and hosted by MyQAN, most importantly the Seminar on Internal-External Quality Assurance (SieQA), a seminar organised annually to create a platform to discuss and share good QA practices among both member and non-member HEIs. Next, we also aspire to strengthen internal quality assurance (IQA) systems of HEIs in Malaysia. With this in mind, MyQAN has also been organising other forms of QA trainings, seminars, workshops and online webinars directed towards our fellow IQA departments from HEIs in Malaysia, hoping to share good practices and strengthen quality assurance.
Thirdly, having engagement with regulators and other stakeholders regarding quality matters, both nationally and internationally, also represents one of MyQAN’s goals. In light of this aspiration, we have continuously established good relations with stakeholders through benchmarking sessions, both physical and virtual, with other HEIs and government agencies, as well as conducting engagement with international bodies such as ASEAN University Network – Quality Assurance (AUN-QA) and ASEAN-QA Association. Finally, we also aim to represent HEIs in building linkages and collaborations with international institutions that are strategic and mutually beneficial. To that end, we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AUN-QA, a prominent QA network in the ASEAN region to create a solid connection with well-recognised international bodies as well to establish a foothold in the global QA field.
We hope that by achieving these small yet significant steps, MyQAN could fulfil its goal of becoming a prominent quality assurance network in the region. For the future we also hope to build the foundation to a solid QA community and pave the way for HEIs in Malaysia to offer the highest quality of higher education to our students.
-Professor Dr. Irfan Naufal Umar, MyQAN President