In my previous article (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/understanding-saudi-arabia-qualification-framework-saqf-usmani/) , I introduced SAQF mentioning that it has standards for institutions and program and that the institutions in the Kingdom have to take accreditation with SAQF and later they have to get their Qualifications (programs) registered by following certain standards.
In this article, I am going to discuss how a qualification may be registered under Saudi Arabia Qualification Framework. There are seven standards to meet in order to register a qualification. I have discussed them in brief with some conclusion at the end.
Standard-1 Eligibility: As mentioned before that applicants for qualification registration are required to register the institute first to make sure that providers of qualification have adequate resources to offer the qualifications.
Standard-2 Stakeholders Involvement: It is a common observation that many programs are prepared by a small group of faculty members borrowing contents from various sources. SAQF requires program to provide evidence as to how stakeholders were taken on board for preparation and review of the program. This guarantees that a program is based on market needs.
Standard-3 Qualification Purpose: This standard requires program to provide evidence that the program is based on market needs and has specific objectives to contribute to society. This is where the programs would face challenges as objectives need to be focused and measurable in the long run.
Standard-4 Qualification Title: This standard requires program to keep the title of the program in line with specific level of SAQF. This standard makes sure that all the qualifications offered in the kingdom are in line with national policy guidelines.
Standard-5 Qualification Components: This standard is quite crucial and challenging as it requires program to set learning outcomes of courses and program in line with SAQF levels. That means program and course learning outcomes should clearly identify the knowledge, skills and competencies to be achieved.
Standard-6 Assessment of Learning Outcomes: This is the most significant standard as it makes it mandatory for the program to provide evidence of assessment of learning outcomes at the level of the program as well as at the level of courses in the program. This is quite challenging as the faculty in most cases is not trained enough to link assessment practices with learning outcomes. This standard would make it mandatory for each program to assess PLOs through direct and indirect assessment measures.
Standard-7: Entry Requirements, Progression and Transfer: This standard requires program to categorically mention the entry requirements and the policy of credit transfer in case a student moves from one institution to another for any reason.
Looking at these standards and looking at the standards for institutional registration it appears that these are the common yet not practiced standards. If implemented in letter and spirit, it would bring lasting impact on education sector in the Kingdom. Although SAQF is taking its roots though workshops at different institutions, they need to make an independent and interactive website with helpline for technical assistance and technical manuals for those seeking accreditation. This would give them wider visibility and it will attract more institutions to come into its folder for registration
Though I have provided a detailed introduction of the standards, feel free to get back to me for any assistance you may need for further understanding of SAQF standards.