Overview of Higher Education and Quality Assurance Development in Macao

In this article, we would like to give you a brief introduction to the higher education in Macao, and also look into the development of Quality Assurance in the higher education sector.

Macao is a special administrative region of China and has a population of around 600,000 people. The Tertiary Education Services Office (GAES) is the Government Department that oversees higher education related matters is Macao. Macao has seen rapid development in higher education development in recent decades. The first university was established in 1991. At present, there are 10 HEIs, amongst which 4 are public, 6 are private. The media of instruction are Chinese, Portuguese and English.

About 16% of the Macao population has a higher education degree. The 10 higher education institutions combined enroll about 30,000 students. Students are from Macao and Mainland China and abroad. At present, there are around 275 programs in operation. The top 5 programmes in terms of student enrollment are Business and Management, Tourism and Entertainment, Law, Journalism and Communication, Languages and Literature.

The Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region and the HEIs recognized the importance of quality assurance. Since 2012, we have been working together to develop a Quality Assurance Framework. In this framework, evaluations are conducted at the institutional level, and program level. At the Institutional Level, there are the Institutional Accreditation, and Institutional Quality Audit. At the Program Level, there are the Program Accreditation, and Program Review.

The Macao Government has no plan to set up its own Accrediting Body in the near future, and instead the Government will let HEIs approach External Quality Assurance Agencies. Before the appointment of EQAA, the HEI has to receive prior approval from the Government. The results of the evaluations will have to be confirmed by the Macao Government.

To cater for the needs and characteristics of the Macao, the Government has developed four sets of QA guidelines that stipulate the standards and procedures of each of the evaluation exercise, they are the “Guidelines on Institutional Accreditation”, “Guidelines on Institutional Quality Audit”, “Guidelines on New Program Accreditation”, and “Guidelines for External Quality Assurance Agencies”. The “Guidelines on Program Review” is under development at this point. The first pilot study on Program Accreditation will be concluded before the end of 2016.

Since 2012, the Macao Government has signed up to be members of The International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE), Institutional Management in Higher Education (IMHE), Asia-Pacific Quality Network (APQN) and CHEA International Quality Group (CIQG).

If you would like to know more about the QA development in Macau, you are welcome to contact the Tertiary Education Services Office (GAES) at qa@gaes.gov.mo for assistance.

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