I. Executive Summary
Today, the global village witnesses the growing international activities within higher education (HE): greater mobility of students across borders, expanding international faculty exchanges, cooperating international researches, increasing numbers of cross-border partnerships among higher education institutions (HEIs) and programs. Globally, the internationalization of higher education (IHE)has assumed a key position on international and national policy agendas, not only for educational and scientific reasons, but also increasingly due to socio-economic considerations.
Internationalization (defined as the increasing flow of technology, finance, trade, knowledge, people, values, and ideas across borders) isone of the causes of the increased attention to quality assurance.IHEis indeed a “hot topic” in higher education worldwide. A number of international organizations, including UNESCO, OECD and the World Bank are active in the field of quality assurance. The first sentence of Higher Education Quality Assurance Principles for the Asia Pacific Region (Chiba Principle) issued by the APQN clearly states: “the internationalization of higher education creates the need for countries and regions to demonstrate and assure the quality and standards of their higher education systems and programs.”“The Global Alliance for Transnational Education” elaborated some principles in 1995; UNESCO and the Council of Europe adopted a “Code of Good Practice” in 2001; UNESCO and OECD have produced “Guidelines for Quality Provision in Cross Border Higher Education”. All of those specifically focus on IHE, which strengthen the process of IHE in the globe. At the same time, the existence of an internationally respected national quality assurance (QA), with some sort of authority over national institutions, has become the easiest way of a nation indicating its credibility in a world of mobile students and mobile graduates.
“APQN Constitution” stresses IHE by stipulating “to permit better-informed international recognition of qualifications throughout theregion (4.6)”. Over the past 15 years, APQN with 204 members from 40 countries and territories, has earned credibility with wider recognition and acceptability in the crosscutting areas of quality of education across the Asia-Pacific Region. The network has earned reputation and recognition as one of the most effective and efficient QA network related bodies not only within the region but with other regions like Arab, African and European regions as well.
The project of “APQN Quality Label as regional/international accreditation of internationalization” was launched in January, 2014. After a 28-month exploration, it has been finalized and is well under way in the implementation.
The overall objective of the APQN Quality Label initiative is to support, develop, improve and enhance international excellence in HEIs and programs in this region. It aims to achieve this by designing and testing an APQN Quality Label accompanied by a methodology to assess the internationalization of higher education in the Asia-Pacific Region. The internationalization of APQN Quality Label is based on the foundation of HE quality. The followings are the primary purposes:
a. To establish the criteria of internationalization of higher education, and determine the best way to sustainably deploy internationalization of higher education in the Asia-Pacific region
b. To establish the standardization of the Quality Assurance system of internationalization, and facilitate the communications of different international experiences within the region
c. To promote the international mobility of students, faculty, programs，researches, projects, exchanges of HEIs in the Asia-Pacific Region, and even the whole globe.