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Quality Assurance Takes Center Stage in Iran's Higher Education

In a move to address the challenges facing Iran's higher education system, the country has been steadily implementing a comprehensive quality evaluation and accreditation framework over the past decade. This effort aims to improve the quality of educational programs, research activities, and overall institutional performance.

According to a recent study published in the RAHYAFT journal, Iran's higher education system has faced various hurdles in recent years, including growing social demand, technological advancements, resource constraints, and the need to remain competitive. To tackle these issues, the Iranian government has taken significant steps to establish robust quality assurance mechanisms.

"The quantitative expansion of higher education was necessary to meet social demands, but the focus has now shifted to ensuring quality," explained Reza Mohammadi, a senior researcher at the Iranian Education Measurement Organization. "We have learned from the experiences of other countries and are working to develop a tailored system that addresses the unique needs of Iran's higher education landscape."

The quality assurance framework consists of both internal and external evaluation processes. Internal evaluations allow institutions to assess their own strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement, while external evaluations by independent expert panels provide valuable feedback and recommendations.

"Accreditation is a crucial component of the system, as it recognizes and certifies the quality of educational programs and institutions," said Farahnaz Eshaghi, a senior evaluation expert at the Iranian Education Measurement Organization.

Despite the progress made, the researchers identified several challenges that still need to be addressed, including the lack of a comprehensive and integrated quality management system, insufficient resources and funding for quality improvement initiatives, and resistance to change from some higher education institutions.

To address these challenges, the study proposes a set of strategies, such as the establishment of a national agency for quality assurance and accreditation, enhanced awareness and commitment from institutional leaders, and better alignment between quality assurance and national development priorities.

"The Supreme Leader's emphasis on quality improvement in the fields of science and technology has been a driving force behind these efforts," Mohammadi added. "By strengthening the quality assurance and accreditation system, Iran aims to elevate the competitiveness of its higher education institutions and better serve the evolving needs of society and the labor market."

As Iran continues to navigate the complexities of its higher education landscape, the focus on quality assurance and accreditation stands as a crucial step towards ensuring the long-term success and global relevance of its academic institutions.

Reference:
Mohammadi, R., & Eshaghi, F. (2019). Emphasis on Quality Evaluation and Accreditation in the Iranian Higher Education System: Challenges and Strategies. RAHYAFT, 29(1), 14-27.