SEARCA and Cambodia’s Royal University of Agriculture continue partnership on internal quality assurance

An inter-government treaty organization in graduate study and research in agriculture continues to collaborate with a Cambodia-based university in the development of an internal quality assurance (IQA) system conducted in 10 online workshops.

Between the Philippine government-hosted Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) in Cambodia, the partnership agreement is to establish broad-based technical cooperation for the development of an IQA mentoring program for RUA.

This SEARCA-RUA IQA project which was funded by the Higher Education Improvement Project of Cambodia’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports was spearheaded by the Center’s Education and Collective Learning Department with the Management Information Systems Unit assisting in the conduct of the online workshops.

SEARCA tapped the services of associate professor Dr. Rhea Gumasing of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Institute for Governance and Rural Development, College of Public Affairs and Development as the IQA expert for the project.

According to SEARCA, the partnership agreement began in September 2020 which entails its assistance to provide technical support for RUA’s IQA system.

These include the design of IQA strategy and standards for RUA and development of IQA manual; development and dissemination of self-assessment report (SAR) findings; preparation of actual SAR reports for submission to the Accrediting Committee of Cambodia (ACC); and monitoring program.

SEARCA said the project activities had to be redesigned – from face-to-face to online modality – due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr. Nova Ramos, SEARCA Training for Development Unit or T4DU head, said the first to the third online workshops on the development of SARs of RUA’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Faculty of Agro-Industry focused on providing an overall understanding of IQA, both internal and external to the university; framework for QA assessment, QA model at the program level, the Asean University Network (AUN)-QA model and scoring system; and preparation of SAR.

Ramos said the outputs of the first three workshops included a better understanding and appreciation of the participatory process and the IQA adding that the draft SARs of the two faculties were submitted by RUA to their board.

The fourth to the sixth workshops built an understanding and appreciation of quality culture among the participants, as well as appreciation of undergoing the process for developing and refining the SAR – which reflected the efforts of both faculties to address the need to link the outputs with the industry with the QA supporting what the programs plan to do in the coming years – and its use.

The seventh to the ninth workshops focused on the presentation of standards and indicators (program level) of the two faculties; identification and finalization of list of evidence and supporting documents for the indicators agreed upon under the nine National Program Standards for accreditation of HEIs in Cambodia at the program level; and presentation and critiquing of matrix of evidence per indicator, per standard.

In the 10th online workshop on July 19, the RUA participants presented their SAR findings to their stakeholders, she said.