External Quality Assurance (EQA)

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Introduction
External Quality Assurance (EQA) refers to the actions of an external body which is independent from the institution, which assesses its operation or programmes to determine whether they meet the set standards.( It is about determining that quality guidelines and requirements are achieved by education providers. There are basic approaches of EQA these are audit, assessment and accreditation. Although these terms are used interchangeably, they play distinctive roles in determining smooth and fair processes by EQA agencies. EQA agencies have particular roles and responsibilities to ensure that quality is maintained at all times.

Three basic approaches to EQA
Quality Audit
According to this is the process of quality assessment
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• The level at which the assessment is conducted: system, institution, department and individual.
• The mechanism applied : rewards , policies and structures
• Certain values of quality such as subject focus, managerial values and classroom practice and employment values.
CORE FUNCTIONS OF EQA AGENCIES
With reference to BOCODOL E-LEAR1NING PORTAL each EQA agency is expected to:
• Work closely with institutions and also the involvement of stakeholders.
• Ensure that assessment by peers is transparent and valid.
• Make the institution aware of the outcome of the EQA process.
Therefore all this functions are demonstrated through a numerous roles and responsibilities and are discussed as follows:
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The following are roles and responsibilities of EQA agencies as stated by United Nations, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (2006)
Quality control
It relates to the fundamental role of ensuring that institutions are in line with minimum requirements of quality. In instances where institutions of higher learning were mostly government this role used to be silent. Due to the up- rise of private institutions it has been more important for national governments to check quality, to protect national consumers and also to ensure that higher education relates to national development
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a deliberative council are mandated to come up with decisions. Even though similar processess are applied internationally there is a slight variation on the adminitsration part.
Coordination
Basically these are all activities leading to development of EQA framework, that is maintaining working relations woith stakeholders, monitoring the major phases of QA and training peers to perform critical tasks.
Administration
Such functions include sensitising institutions about the EQA policies and procedures and also developing peers who will be involved in critical tasks throughout the EQA process.

Conclusion
Finally it is evident that quality control is important to the education system of a country. The need for transparency of the education system especially institutions of higher learning cannot be overlooked, through this stakeholders and other important role players are able to make consent choices. Applications of EQA processes have been able to curb the rise illegitimate institutions, as all education providers are bound to meet the minimum requirements as set in Quality Assurance
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