IQA hailed as a self-reflection opportunity for MUT

Dr Suri Moodley

The Council on Higher Education (CHE) Institutional Quality Audit (IQA) workshop hosted on Monday, 14 February 2022, left the MUT IQA team feeling more confident and better informed on the expectations of the upcoming institutional audit planned for end of June and beginning of July 2022.

The workshop, which was conducted by Dr Sanele Nene, Senior Manager: Institutional Audits and Dr Bongiwe Hobololo, Manager: Institutional Audits at the CHE, set the tone for an audit that seeks to highlight institutional strengths, an opportunity for development, and intended to direct the Institution towards a mature quality management system.

Dr Suri Moodley, the University’s Quality Management Directorate (QMD) Director, hailed the audit as an opportunity for management, the audit panel, and the entire MUT community to understand “our Institution”.

The CHE officials provided the MUT team with a clear background on the audit process.  What gave MUT staff more confidence was hearing that at no stage of the audit will the institutions being audited be measured against each other, but will be measured mostly on the credibility and reliability of the evidence and information provided to the audit panel.

“The quality audit is a peer and evidence-driven process allowing the Institution to bring its own evidence. However, the panel may request additional evidence where necessary. The panel will be more satisfied to observe a fully inclusive quality management system that is representative of all University’s internal stakeholders. The importance of the student’s voice in curriculum transformation and renewal gives feedback on how the University runs its business through the lens of students,” said Dr Hobololo.

Dr Nene assured MUT that quality audits were by no means fault finding missions but were intended to enable continuous improvement of universities and the sector for the betterment of students and society.

“For some institutions, quality audits are a nerve-wracking process. Please rest assured this process is not punitive. The purpose is firstly ensuring accountability for public funds, and secondly ensuring accountability and delivery of quality academic programmes. Word of advice, do not be shy of highlighting your strengths, be confident in your processes because the panel looks at your unique areas of strengths and makes recommendations,” forewarned Dr Nene.

Four focus areas and 12 standards for the audit were developed. The team was informed that institutions were required to respond to all four focus areas, and select standards they prefer for the quality audit. These are the audit focus areas:

Focus area 1: Governance, strategic planning, management, and leadership support to the core academic functions.

Focus area 2: The design and implementation of the institutional quality management system supports the core academic functions.

Focus area 3: The coherence and integration of the institutional quality management system supports the core academic functions.

Focus area 4: Curriculum development, learning and teaching support the likelihood of student success.

Workshop facilitator, Dr Lazarus Sentsho, MUT’s Quality Officer, opened the discussion and allowed MUT colleagues to field as many questions as they needed.  This was a welcome opportunity for the MUT IQA team who took turns asking questions to ensure that come day of the audit the institution is well-prepared for positive audit recommendations.