In a CGHE working paper published today, Professor Futao Huang from Hiroshima University discusses the growth of quality assurance in higher education in Japan and China.
The paper looks particularly at the shift, beginning in the 1990s, from government control of higher education to greater sector transparency.
Professor Huang points out that university ranking systems have been key to this shift. Yet he shows that in both countries the government still has a strong influence. Direct supervision and control have been replaced with indirect guidance and monitoring through policy-oriented projects and budgetary means.
Professor Huang argues that improvements are needed. There is still insufficient public information about teaching and learning activities, about administrative and managerial activities, and about the engagement of universities with society. In addition, transparency tools in Japan and China are focused on serving domestic users, with little attention given to quality assurance at a regional and global level.
Professor Huang calls for more research into the effectiveness and efficiency of existing quality assurance tools. He warns of the growing influence of the market, and concludes that when developing tools to measure quality in higher education, governments and universities should be more actively focused on the public or common good.