The Perceived Role of the International University Partners in Assuring the Quality of Teaching in Offshore Programmes: A Study of Omani Private Higher Education Institutions

Al-Shikaili, J
(2019) The Perceived Role of the International University Partners in Assuring the Quality of Teaching in Offshore Programmes: A Study of Omani Private Higher Education Institutions. Doctor of Education thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Provision of offshore programmes in the private higher education institutions (PHEIs) through affiliation agreements with international university partners (IUPs) is an important strategy deployed by the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) in Sultanate of Oman. The main motive for deploying this strategy is to improve higher education standards in the country and to foster institutional maturity in different quality aspects. This study aimed to explore the role of (IUPs) in assuring the quality of offshore programmes offered by the PHEIs in the Omani context. The study focused on exploring this role and its effectiveness from the perspective of four local stakeholders’ groups: MoHE officials, PHEI faculty members, postgraduate students enrolled in PHEIs and senior management of PHEIs. Data was collected from the concerned stakeholders using different methods such as interviews, focus group discussions; and a questionnaire. Findings were analysed using thematic analysis approach to explore the main patterns extracted from data. Gap Analysis method was used to enable the identification of variations between expectations and perceptions of different stakeholders. The identified gaps, along with Social Inclusion theory enabled the study to identify potential options to improve the quality of offshore programmes to meet the broader needs of the society. The interpretivism approach was adopted, as variables influencing the provision of offshore programmes are socially constructed and subject to the influence of the stakeholders’ personal views. The findings of the study indicated that offshore programmes are effective in improving the quality of higher education in Oman. Overall, the stakeholders are satisfied with the current role played by IUPs in assuring the quality of these programmes. However, the study also indicated potentials for improvement in localising offshore programmes and improving local students and faculty engagement in different quality aspects pertaining to offshore programmes. Moreover, the study brought out the need for refining the current policy framework pertaining to the delivery of offshore programmes and suggestions to improve the monitoring scheme conducted by MoHE. It is hoped that the findings of this study will contribute towards a better understanding of offshore programmes role in the region and the challenges faced to ensure better implementation of these programmes. The study proposes a framework for evaluating whether the quality of offshore programmes is meeting the needs of all stakeholders. The study concludes by addressing the limitations, scope for further research, and implications for professional practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Education)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Offshore programmes, Transnational education, Academic Affiliation, Quality Assurance, International University Partner (IUP), Internationalisation, Private Higher Education Institution (PHEI), Social Inclusion.
Divisions: Fac of Humanities & Social Sci > School of Education
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2019 14:41
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2021 03:17
DOI: 10.17638/03052725
  • Cheng, Ming
  • Willis, Ian