SEARCA and RUA successfully conduct 11th Workshop on the Development of the IQA System for the Royal University of Agriculture

  • By Nova A. Ramos and Rosario B. Bantayan
  • 4 November 2022, Friday

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), together with the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA), successfully conducted the 11th Workshop on the Development of the latter’s Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) System under the SEARCA-RUA IQA project funded by the Higher Education Improvement Project (HEIP) of Cambodia’s Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (MOEYS). Held on 24-28 October 2022 at RUA, the face-to-face workshop aimed to: 1) enhance quality management capacities of RUA personnel who will ensure improved program and research delivery; 2) present and refine the Internal Quality Assurance Manual of RUA; and 3) prepare strategic directions for program-level assessment (i.e., roadmap).

Workshop participants included Vice-Rectors, Deputy Director, and Vice Deans of the Faculty of Animal Science (FAS), Faculty of Forestry (FoF), Faculty of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development (FAERD), Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (FVM), and Faculty of Agro-Industry (FAI), along with the IQA unit staff of RUA. 

In her welcome remarks, Dr. Seng Mom, Vice-Rector for Planning and International Cooperation,  expressed her warm greetings and appreciation to the SEARCA Team composed of Dr. Rhea L. Gumasing, Associate Professor, Institute for Governance and Rural Development, College of Public Affairs and Development (CPAf), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and IQA expert of the project, and Dr. Nova A. Ramos and Ms. Rosario B. Bantayan, Head and Program Specialist, respectively, of the Education and Collective Learning Department-Training for Development Unit (ECLD-T4DU).  Dr. Seng Mom also highlighted the importance of IQA for any development activity.

Dr. Ngo Bunthan (center), RUA Rector, joins the SEARCA team and the workshop participants for a group photo.Dr. Ngo Bunthan (center), RUA Rector, joins the SEARCA team and the workshop participants for a group photo.

Dr. Rhea Gumasing (right most) further explains the ASEAN University Network (AUN) standards to the participants.Dr. Rhea Gumasing (right most) further explains the ASEAN University Network (AUN) standards to the participants.

Guided by important elements in drafting an IQA manual, Dr. Gumasing gave an overview of the workshop designed to generate inputs from the different faculty of RUA through peer-learning among the other participants, and feedbacking and mentoring approach. To set the tone of the workshop, Dr. Ramos presented the status of the SEARCA-RUA partnership implementation highlighting the major accomplishments and activities undertaken since the project began in September 2020.  On the other hand, Dr. Mom Seng discussed RUA’s IQA Policy, Structure, and Implementation at the University and at the Program Level.  Dr. Gumasing presented the ASEAN University Network Quality Assurance (AUN-QA) highlighting the ASEAN Quality Assurance Framework for Higher Education (AQAFHE) for the Southeast Asian region. According to Dr. Gumasing, the AQAFHE aims to “promote regional harmonization in higher education by developing a quality assurance framework in higher education with regional identities where the ASEAN countries could benchmark and align their quality assurance systems of higher education.” Thus, the workshop likewise deepened the participants’ appreciation of the quality assurance framework and its importance in relation to the overall University’s strategic intent and direction.

The workshop also included a guided tour of the teaching and laboratory facilities of the Faculty of Agro-Industry and Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and interviews with the students. After the tour, the participants gave their ratings and assessment of these facilities and services in terms of adequacy, improvements that need to be made, and best practices based on the AUN-QA Framework at the program level.  Apart from refining and improving the structure and contents of the draft IQA Manual based on the feedback, another major output of the workshop was the presentation of the Quality

The SEARCA Team and the participants take a short tour of RUA’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.The SEARCA Team and the participants take a short tour of RUA’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

In photo: Some of the students at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine who were interviewed by the SEARCA team about their internship experiences in Israel.In photo: Some of the students at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine who were interviewed by the SEARCA team about their internship experiences in Israel.

The SEARCA Team also visited the facilities of RUA’s Faculty of Agro-Industry. Left photo shows a student packing fermented mustard, which serves as one of their income-generating activities.The SEARCA Team also visited the facilities of RUA’s Faculty of Agro-Industry. Left photo shows a student packing fermented mustard, which serves as one of their income-generating activities.

Assurance (QA) roadmap for program-level assessment for the FVM, FAS, FAI, FoF, and FAERD. 

The closing program immediately followed the presentation of the QA roadmap. The workshop ended on a high note with Dr. Gumasing congratulating the RUA IQA Team for its unwavering commitment to improve and refine the RUA IQA Manual towards promoting the quality of its academic programs to meet national and international standards as well as level up its standards in its operations, services, and human resources. The next steps to be undertaken under this project are: 1) finalization of the RUA IQA Manual; 2) assessment of capacities for further development; 3) development of a program/assignment/activities  for mentoring based on the assessment; and 4) conduct online and face-to-face mentoring.

The SEARCA-RUA partnership agreement entails SEARCA’s assistance in establishing a broad-based technical cooperation for the development of an IQA mentoring program for RUA. Specifically, the partnership provides technical support for the following: a) design of IQA strategy and standards for RUA and development of IQA manual; b) development and dissemination of self-assessment report (SAR) findings; c) preparation of actual SAR reports for submission to the Accrediting Committee of Cambodia (ACC); and d) monitoring program.