In search of a programme review framework for a polytechnic in Bahrain: the experience of a Bahraini quality coordinator

Doctorate other than PhD


Hasan, Jameel. 2015. In search of a programme review framework for a polytechnic in Bahrain: the experience of a Bahraini quality coordinator. Doctorate other than PhD Doctor of Education. University of Southern Queensland.
Title

In search of a programme review framework for a polytechnic in Bahrain: the experience of a Bahraini quality coordinator

TypeDoctorate other than PhD
Authors
AuthorHasan, Jameel
SupervisorAndrews, Dorothy
McIlveen, Peter
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Education
Number of Pages229
Year2015
Abstract

Across the Middle East and North Africa region the quality of education has been highlighted as an issue of concern by the World Bank, in particular the less than positive impact on economic development. Also, it has been found that improvement initiatives often fail if they are transferred from the Western world without the consideration of local and cultural aspects. This research reports on a process used to address the non-contextualised improvement models that so often fail to enhance quality outcomes for students.
The focus of this study is on a polytechnic that commenced its operation in Bahrain in 2008. The purpose of this research is to provide a coherent, meaningful and contextually appropriate programme review framework to replace a generalised one that was inherited from overseas at the institution’s inception. This study’s value lies in its ability to identify principles, standards and a process that have the potential to stimulate change in both the attitudes and behaviour of the people who have an involvement, or should have an involvement, in framework-associated aspects of quality management, assurance and improvement.

A qualitative interpretivist case study method was adopted. The qualitative data included documents, observations, formal interviews, discussion groups, and dialogue with both internal and external quality experts. Analysis and synthesis of the data has been informed by a comprehensive review of relevant literature, thematic coding, and ongoing reflections of the researcher during the developmental process. The dual positions of the writer as researcher and employee of the organisation is acknowledged in the development of the contextualised framework.
A key finding of the research is that the appropriateness of the process of implementation is crucial in bringing about change. The reliance on a hierarchically imposed quality system, with the expectation that commitment will cascade naturally and predictably from the top to the bottom, is problematic and inappropriate to the context of the polytechnic. Rather, there are needs for ongoing dialogue among internal and external stakeholders and to find pockets of enthusiasm within the organisation that are exemplars of quality accountability and improvement and to use this expertise to support the widening and deepening of such pockets. The intention is to have organisational units and individuals own a quality review framework, and a quality system overall, instead of seeing it as something that is imposed, and treated as no more than a matter of begrudging compliance.
The implications are particularly significant in the context of higher education in the Middle East, where most improvement initiatives have been focused on transferring ready-made frameworks from the ‘West’ rather than a contextually relevant framework to sustain improvement.

Keywordspolytechnics; Bahrain; programme review framework; qualitative interpretivist case study method
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390303. Higher education
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education
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