It gives me great pleasure to represent APQN as its fourth President after being part of growth story of APQN for about 7 years. I am thankful to colleagues of this prestigious network for thinking me worthy of this position.
APQN is a young network nurtured by stalwarts in quality assurance such as Dr David Woodhouse, Mr. Peter Cheung and Prof VS Prasad who formed its founding team of office bearers. The legacy was carried forward by experts like Ms. Concepcion Pijano, Akihito Kawaguchi, Dorte Kristoffersen and Dr. Antony Stella till recently.
While sharing the joy of being APQN President, I must admit, this is the most difficult and challenging times for APQN. I am taking over in a month which is supposed to be the last month of financial support from GIQAC, UNESCO. From next month onwards APQN will have to survive on its own without any external funding.
APQN was the first network to receive the World Bank Development Grant Fund (DGF) from September 2004 to March 31, 2008. For the past 3 and half it has also been a beneficiary of the Global Initiative for Quality Assurance Capacity (GIQAC) grant administered by UNESCO.
Projects that have been successfully implemented with the GIQAC grant include online discussion forums, creation of a database of consultants, developing training material for trainers in quality assurance and the internship programs. There have been over 50 staff exchanges and internships that benefitted more than 20 countries across the region.
The review conducted in 2010 of the GIQAC projects of APQN acknowledged APQN's leadership role in initiating projects which are then adopted by the other networks.
All this was possible due to financial support of UNESCO and World Bank coupled with voluntary work done by board members and project leaders. The greatest challenge now is how to sustain this legacy and activities with increased expectations of member agencies with no external funding.
APQN beyond GIQAC – Agenda for survival and revival
While real strength of APQN is in-kind contribution of time and expertise shared by members of the network, the capacity building activities have largely been benefited by the support of World Bank in initial 3 years and GIQAC support till now.
So the real challenge in front of us is to direct our efforts to set an agenda for APQN's sustenance.
Our ingenuity would be to convert this challenge into an opportunity.
That is why I call it as an agenda for survival and revival.
- Collaborations with various international bodies for joint projects.
- Collaborative action research projects involving two or more agencies under APQN banner.
- APQN exchange program, scholarships and fellowships
- Creating APQN label of quality for QAAs and possibly for HEIs
- Planning AP QA Journal in collaboration with QAAs and reputed publishing houses
- Fund raising through website advertisement, journal advertisement and program sponsorship
- Introduction of value added services relating to quality assurance such as information clearing house and qualifications validation services.
Above points are at just conceptual level at present and I look forward to hearing from all colleagues to fine-tune these stray thoughts into concrete plan of action.
I look forward to your ideas, initiatives and good wishes to make APQN a vibrant and self-sustaining network that would become the first point of reference in Quality Assurance in Asia Pacific.
Let's pledge ourselves for survival and revival of APQN.
Dr Jagannath Patil
President, Asia Pacific Quality Network