AU - Badran, Adnan AU - Muwalla, Marwan AB - Quality assurance is becoming a yardstick to measure the delivery of higher education institutions (HEIs) across the Arab world. Assessing the quality of higher education is currently the challenge of every university in the region. Arab universities have expanded in quantity of more traditional institutions due to increase in youth population but not in the same pace of quality. Arab demography of the 20–29-age cohort is 56%, compared with 25% in the OECD. Quality education is crucial to change the landscape of populous demography into rich human resources, particularly in the knowledge economy. Quality assurance in the European context has evolved in parallel with the Bologna process, and has brought a shift of the use of new pedagogical means of more student-centered and implemented competence-based learning for intended learning outcome. It demonstrates a paradigm shift from a teacher-centered to a student-centered learning environment. The outcome of teaching/learning is well defined and the inputs and processes are aligned accordingly. With some success, the Arab region has established 14 national commissions for quality assurance (QA) in higher education (HE) and 4 regional networks. Some universities created units of accreditation and QA on their campuses for self-assessment. Gulf States modernized their HE institutions by adopting the British and American system and establishing partnerships with universities abroad. Social influences, economics, and politics played a major role in reforming HE institutions and many have achieved international QA and accreditation. At the regional level, the Association of Arab universities (AArU) ( established norms and standards for QA and accreditation. The Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) ( created an Arab establishment for QA in programs setting Arab standards for quality and excellence. The Arab Network of Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ANQAHE) ( was launched in 2007, as independent non-profit, and non-governmental, in association with the International Network, as Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE) ( It provides a platform to enhance collaboration in exchange of information on quality assurance. UNESCO and the World Bank have launched the Global Initiative for QA Capacity building (GIQAC) ( to support QA policy. UNDP focusing on subject assessment funded regional initiatives in 14 Arab countries, 73 programs in computer science, business administration, education, and engineering with peer reviews ( The British Council ( and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) ( contributed training in self-evaluation for capacity building in QA evaluation. QA at Arab universities suffers where the majority is oriented toward accreditation as quality control rather than QA of graduates. Private universities, which were supposed to become flexible and quick in catching up with successful models of other parts of the world, have become bureaucratic structures as the public universities, forced on them by the Ministry of HE of an outdated centralized system of governance and curricula, and they were punished if they failed to adhere to these regulations. Teaching is becoming a form of rote learning with no emphasis on promoting independent learners and critical thinkers. Centralized educational systems designed to facilitate quantitative expansion failed in providing performance-oriented systems for quality, competition, and excellence. Ministries have imposed a rigid control policy and hindered both decentralization and greater efficiency. Tangible achievements of QA have not been realized in most universities. There is an urgent need for pro-active mechanisms for academic development through continuous staff training in skills, pedagogy, and assessment. Benchmarks of QA need to be established at every university to judge institutional performance. Certainly, QA and enhancement of critical analysis of skills have to be institutionalized. The use of media and technology in the learning process would enhance student participation and leadership development. QAA standard used in the UK have been adopted in Jordan ( 2015.pdf?sfvrsn=d309f781_6). Six criteria were used in the methodology of subject assessment by peer-review. 1) Curriculum design, content, and organization; 2) teaching, learning and assessment; 3) student progression and achievement; 4) student support and guidance; 5) learning resources; and 6) effectiveness of quality management and enhancement. In Jordan, the HE accreditation commission (HEAC) (Accreditation and Quality Assurance Commission for Higher Education Institutions (HEAC). Jordanian ranking for universities criteria and procedures. Amman., 2017) set eight indicators for institutional quality assurance: 1) strategy; 2) governance; 3) academic programs; 4) research, scholarship, and innovation; 5) financial and human resources; 6) students services; 7) community service and international relations; and 8) quality assurance. Also, HEAC has put in place a guide for every academic program in universities to ensure QA of intended learning. Competition for quality of human capital in the global economy has triggered most countries in the world to take serious steps to develop internal quality management system to enhance QA of the student learning. The knowledge economy is dependent on how Arab universities can develop and deliver quality and relevant human capital to innovate the marketplace. (Author’s abstract) OP - pp. 257-276 T1 - Quality assurance and relevance for competitive higher education : context of Jordan [Chapter]