"Quality Assurance in the Asia-Pacific Region: Insight into the Future"

Hon. Rauf Hakeem

Minister of City Planning, Water Supply and Higher Education

Felicitation Message from the Hon. Minister of City Planning , Water Supply and Higher Education

It is indeed an honour that Sri Lanka is hosting the Asia Pacific Quality Network (APQN) 15th Annual Academic Conference 2019, in March this year. I congratulate the University Grants Commission for paving the right path in that direction. Sri Lanka’s higher education will soon experience a transformation with the arrival of a new legislation for an Independent Quality Assurance and Accreditation System for Higher Education. The Bill has already been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. Hence, this global conference on quality assurance in higher education is a timely event for Sri Lanka.

The strategies and processes for quality assurance in higher education for our countries in the Asia Pacific region will be deliberated upon during the conference with experts in the region, providing the direction and stimulation to enhance the standards and quality of Sri Lankan higher education. This, I deem, will be mutually educative and help cross fertilization of knowledge with all participating countries in general, especially for those in similar structural and economic settings.

I believe, encouraging quality higher education systems is pivotal role for interfacing with the socio economic development of the country, and the global advancements in information, for which yet another crucial platform unfolds today.

I wish you all a mutually rewarding and productive conference.

Hon. Rauf Hakeem MP, LLM
Attorney-at-Law
Minister of City Planning, Water Supply and Higher Education, Sri Lanka

Prof. Jianxin Zhang

APQN 5th President

Message from APQN President

For 15 years,APQN has been committed to the mission of “enhancing the quality of higher education in the Asia-Pacific region through strengthening the work of quality assurance organizations and extending the cooperation between them”. Two hundred and twenty- two (222) APQN members have taken up this mission and will contribute in full strength to accomplish this historical mission.

APQN’s historic connection to the external quality assurance agencies (EQAAs) and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in this region, position it to further dissemination of QA information through APQN Academic Conference (AAC) , Annual General Meeting (AGM), seminars, workshops, staff capacity building, APQNews, documents, books, etc. We are passionate about the great cause of quality assurance and are confident in our ability to dramatically influence quality awareness, quality development and quality culture impact of those that we engage with.

I am glad that the main annual event for discussing and advancing QA in higher education throughout the Asia-Pacific Region - 2019 AAC and AGM - will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on March 28-31, 2019.Our theme focuses on “Quality Assurance in the Asia-Pacific Region: Insight into the Future”. In keeping with this theme, I enthusiastically encourage you to take some time to think about what you want to change and achieve in your EQAAs and HEIs, to transform challenges into opportunities.

As we all know, the rapidly changing landscape of higher education in both traditional and new providers is challenging the EQAAs’ fundamental role, the HEIs’ structure and scope, the students learning outcomes (SLOs), and the traditional, evaluation-based approaches to judging quality. The Insight into future requires us to offer innovative approaches, new technologies, new ways of defining and measuring quality, quality assurance and quality culture, providing public accountability and transparency, addressing alternative providers of higher education, and identifying a mix-match in expectations of the roles and re¬sponsibilities of the EQAAs and the HEIs.Ultimately, by this way we can realize the final goal of “Dissolving Boundaries for a Quality Region”.

Dear APQN members and colleagues, we are eagerly awaiting to welcome you at the 2019 AAC in Colombo, to explore the Insight into Quality Assurance for Higher Education 4.0 in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Prof. Jianxin Zhang
APQN 5th President

Mohan de Silva

Chairman, UGC, Sri Lanka

Message from the Chairman, University Grants Commission, Sri Lanka

Investment in quality higher education is one of the most valued investments for a country aiming for global excellence. Little island nation Sri Lanka stands out for introducing a policy of universal free school and university education to all her children 7 decades ago, a policy that has seen excellent outcomes. In her pursuit to achieve a sustainable quality culture and accreditation system in higher education, Sri Lanka is privileged and honored to be elected to host the main conference for 2019 of the globally acclaimed International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE).

In the context of higher education in Sri Lanka, the University Grants Commission (UGC), established in 1978, functions as the apex body of the state university system. Maintenance of the quality and standards of the academic programmes in state universities is one of the key responsibilities of UGC which is managed through the Quality Assurance Council of the Commission.

Sri Lanka, one of the major tourist attractions in the world, eagerly awaits, ready to host you all, the respected delegates for an academic feast in quality settings and to make your visit together with your family to our green and pleasant land a most memorable one.

Welcome to the Pearl of the Indian Ocean.

Prof. Mohan de Silva
Chairman, UGC, Sri Lanka

Deepthi C. Bandara

Director -QAC,UGC

Message from the Director, Quality Assurance Council, University Grants Commission, Sri Lanka

As Asian economies have grown and millions of people have been lifted out of poverty over the last few decades, the demand for higher education has grown exponentially. Opportunities have increased in tandem, but ensuring the quality of such programmes is a challenge to all those engaged in the delivery of higher education.

In Sri Lanka, quality assurance activities have gained an ever-increasing momentum since the turn of this century. It is now firmly established within the state university system, under the guidance of the Quality Assurance Council of the University Grants Commission. The Council seeks to gain the confidence of all stakeholders in our university system, in quality assurance activities and processes that are in accordance with internationally recognized evaluation mechanisms, and to thereby enable continuous development and efficient performance of Sri Lankan universities.

By hosting the 15th APQN Annual Conference in Colombo in March 2019, under the theme “Quality Assurance in the Asia-Pacific Region: Insight into the Future” we hope to provide our international delegates with the opportunity to conduct their deliberations in a warm, congenial setting in a country with a rich heritage and tremendous natural beauty. At the same time, we hope it will provide our local colleagues with an unparalleled opportunity to learn more about how quality assurance activities can foster trust in higher education in a globalized world.

I am delighted to welcome you to the 15th APQN Annual Conference to be held at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall, Colombo Sri Lanka on 29th and 30th March 2019. I assure you it will be a most memorable event.

Prof Nilanthi de Silva
Director -QAC, UGC

APQN Conference 2019 Secretariat

University Grants Commission

20, Ward Place, Colombo 07,

Sri Lanka

+ 94 113 056 886