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Trends in the Quality Assurance of Maritime Education, A Case Study from the Australian Maritime College

Trends in the Quality Assurance of Maritime Education, A Case Study from the Australian Maritime College,Gareth T. COOPER,Neil J. OTWAY

Trends in the Quality Assurance of Maritime Education, A Case Study from the Australian Maritime College  
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Quality assurance of higher education in Australia, and particularly the conduct of quality audits, is presently undergoing a paradigm shift. Whilst the international maritime industry is largely entrenched in process or compliance-dominated quality audit systems such as ISO and ISM, the higher education sector in Australia and New Zealand is moving towards a less-prescriptive audit system based on quality outcomes as opposed to processes. Similar systems are presently in- place or being considered by Sweden, Hong Kong, Thailand and the USA. This change in Australia is largely driven by government reforms in the higher education sector and the recognition that prescriptive quality audits may not be consistent with the goals of a "learning organisation" such as a university. The emphasis of outcome-based quality audits is the linkage between the stated strategic objectives of an institution and the way in which the institution deploys resources to achieve these objectives. As a consequence, the need for rigid paper-based processes and workflows can be somewhat negated where the institution can demonstrate a coherent system that produces the desired outcomes in-line with the strategic plan. Critical to outcome-based quality systems is the use of both quantitative and qualitative data, particularly benchmarking, with regards to measuring progress towards targets and establishing best-practice improvement initiatives. AMC recognises the value of outcome-based quality audits in assuring higher education standards. However AMC also recognises the need to comply with both national and international maritime quality requirements such as ISM code implementation for training vessels. In this regard, AMC is re-designing its quality system to reflect the changing and varied needs of all stakeholders.
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