SEARCA trains Cambodian HEI leaders, officers on QA system

THE Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), an inter-government treaty organization hosted by the Philippine government, conducted a training workshop on internal quality assurance (IQA) for higher education institution (HEI) leaders and officers of the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) in Cambodia.

SEARCA Director Dr. Glenn Gregorio said the training held at Kampot City from May 22 to 25, 2023 was participated by vice-rectors, deans and officers of various faculties and the IQA office of RUA.

Gregorio said the activity aimed to build the capacities of focal points and internal assessors on the IQA process and implementation, finalize the IQA manual of RUA, and assess the milestones and partnership experience of the SEARCA-RUA project.

Dr. Nova Ramos, head of SEARCA Training for Development Unit (T4DU), served as the training facilitator with Sonny Pasiona, T4DU program specialist, and Dr. Rhea Gumasing, associate professor from the University of the Philippines Los Baños and IQA project consultant.

"[RUA] officials and staff showed strong commitment to improving the quality of their processes, programs, and service delivery to their stakeholders," Ramos said.

SEARCA said there were 12 online workshops held for the last three years of project implementation, covering various topics on quality assurance.

It said this activity in Cambodia was the second face-to-face workshop after the said online workshops.

During the workshop, Gumasing tackled on the participants' roles and responsibilities in the QA process and presented the results of an internal survey on their current QA skills and capacities.

She said the activity included a role-playing exercise that enabled the participants to practice the QA process from the perspectives of an assessor, program holder and observer.

According to Ramos, the participants crafted the RUA's IQA manual – the training workshop's major output – with rationale, structures, frameworks, tools and other significant document sections with inputs and guidance from the SEARCA training management group.

RUA Vice-Rector Dr. Seng Mom thanked SEARCA for the support and technical assistance to the project.

Seng said the IQA manual is for them to strengthen the quality of academic, scientific, and technological education within RUA's faculty program through academic quality assurance and research.

"This is for us to meet our economic and social development needs," she added.

According to SEARCA, the capacity-building initiative was part of the broader partnership of RUA and the World Bank under the Higher Education Institutions Capacity Improvement Project.

Gregorio said the initiative also aligns with the center's institutional development assistance (IDA) efforts with Southeast Asian universities, including RUA, a long-time partner of SEARCA in its IDA activities.